Vriesenhof wine ‘a must-buy’ like milk in your basket

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As much as wineries do all kinds of clever things with labels, packaging, shelf “talkers”, competitions and the like to make their bottles stand out on the store shelf, so too do they also deliver all kinds of weird and wonderful goodies to wine writers to persuade them to write about the wine.
There was the piping hot pizza delivered one lunchtime, with a bottle of red to go with it; a dozen roses that survived a trip by courier from Cape Town, to highlight the romance of a bubbly; and prettily packaged ingredients to make the dish recommended for serving with the wine.
But a bottle of wine arriving packaged in a milk carton? That was a first.
Cheekily labelled “This is not milk . . . ”, the message from Vriesenhof Vineyards in Stellenbosch is that their new release 2018 Unwooded Chardonnay belongs in your shopping basket as regularly as a bottle of the dairy stuff.
It may be a tad more expensive than 2l of milk but it’s certainly worth keeping a bottle or two in stock for easy, everyday drinking.
Although it doesn’t have the rich creaminess of a wooded chardonnay, it’s rich in style and elegance, bursting with clean, fresh fruit – citrusy-gooseberry nose leading into ripe pears and white peaches, with a lingering touch of flintiness and fresh lemon.
This one is likely to be enjoyed by both the chardonnay-haters, who don’t enjoy the characteristic butteriness of a wooded version, as well as those who like a fresh and zingy chardonnay without heaviness.
A glass on its own is a super sundowner, or pair it with fish, sushi or salads.
Currently R90 at Ultra Liquors in Newton Park, it’s good value for an enjoyable wine from a highly-rated Stellenbosch estate.On the topic of value, Top Wine SA (www.topwinesa.com), run by journalist, wine author and passionate wine fundi Mike Froud, is a really useful website for their comprehensive info on wine events, wine touring, producers and so on.It’s particularly useful for the ratings and classifications of each varietal produced in SA, pooling the results of blind tastings from various expert panels and competitions around the world to give a “consensus” list of the best of the best.Following annual price increases in April, they’ve recently updated their “Uber Value SA Wine Guide”, listing wines that have won gold medals or scored 90 points and above, costing less than R100 at cellar door, many of them well under that mark.Definitely a list worth checking out before going shopping.

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