Virtual taste of dreamy reds to enjoy in the future

Old wine bottles in a wooden crate.
Old wine bottles in a wooden crate.
Image: Valentyn Volkov

Just because we can’t buy wine right now doesn’t mean we can’t still dream a little, plan a little for things to enjoy in the future.

So, here’s a virtual taste of a dreamed-up case of red wines to make an occasion with when wine shopping and gathering around food and wine are allowed again (all available in the wineries’ online shops to order now for delivery when the ban is lifted).

First, something brand new from Blaauwklippen: a wine to share and contemplate with some appreciative wine-lovers — you could add a hearty venison casserole, but really the wine is the talking point here.

De Blaauwe Klip (2017) adds an impressive Bordeaux-style blend to their premium range, worthy of becoming the flagship.

Drinking it is rather like taking a walk in the vineyard — gnarled vines emerging from the hard rocky gravel crunching underfoot, inky berries ready to harvest from under their bright leaves — translate that into the glass where ripe, rich dark fruit wells up with cedar wood and velvety texture, tempered by austere stony minerality, a fantastic balance of contrasts.

Seriously, you have to try this.

Next up, for relaxing after a long day of Zoom meetings: Van Loveren Retief Reserve 2018 (on special at R83, free delivery) is a Cape blend of pinotage, cabernet sauvignon and shiraz that work seamlessly well together.

First impression is dark chocolate overtones, a slight bitter-sweetness that lingers and balances all the juicy, plummy fruit. Soft tannins, silky texture, some vanilla oak — robust, really enjoyable, and excellent value.

The delicious savouriness of Elgin Vintners Syrah 2017 (R180) calls for a long, meandering chat with an old friend or a gathering over a potjie (there’s a great recipe on their website).

The wine has that cool-climate elegance and fruit purity that Elgin is known for, medium body with subtle tannin backbone and chewy juiciness, all-round warm spiciness playing with fruit that balances dark intensity and vibrant freshness — rather special.

Pinotage was the first red wine bottled by Stellenbosch Hills, 75 years ago when it was called Vlottenburg Cellar, and they’re celebrating that with the release of the 2017 Bushvine Pinotage (on special at R92, delivery included) — this one our selection for a wintry afternoon braai.

Juicy and smoky, velvety smooth and lingering, there’s an intricate weave of ripe fruit, prunes, vanilla and chocolate, savoury notes of smoked meats and tomato, a touch of cigar box.

Great value and one to drink soon.

A lively catch-up with friends over a flavourful lasagne would be a good call for Vondeling’s maiden Barrel Select Merlot 2017 (R150), a full-bodied, rounded, pure expression of Merlot.

Flavourful and aromatic, fresh and vibrant with sultry dark fruit to the fore, some liquorice and lavender, fine tannins, the wine is expressive and abundant — delicious and calls for more.

Constantia Glen FIVE 2016 (R465) is your special occasion, impress-someone-special wine, a bold and powerful five-way Bordeaux blend, a wine of drama.

Loads of blackberry and blackcurrant, firm tannins, this is serious stuff — give it time to breathe and it rewards with unfolding layers of complexity, those classic pencil shavings emerge along with violets and fynbos, memorable long after the last sip.

Invest in a nice thick Wagyu rib-eye steak to serve medium-rare and you won’t be sorry.

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