The Four Cousins success story continues

The Four Cousins, from left, viticulturist Hennie, winemaker Bussell, viticulturist Neil and CEO Phillip
RETIEF BRAINWAVE: The Four Cousins, from left, viticulturist Hennie, winemaker Bussell, viticulturist Neil and CEO Phillip

In the current times, there’s a lot to be said for any product that produces a pleasant experience at a pocket-friendly price.

The four Retief cousins, whose grandparents established the Van Loveren farm in Robertson and the family business of winemaking in 1937, are now the brains behind several wine ranges and brands, as well as craft beers, liqueurs and spirits, all aimed at different types and levels of consumers, and they’re also the faces on the labels of the popular Four Cousins wines.

Familiar as family (some fans refer to themselves as “the 5th Cousin”), reliable and priced for value, Four Cousins wines aren’t intended to be exciting to wine geeks — the guiding principle of the country’s biggest selling bottled wine brand is simply to make “SA’s favourite vino in a bottle”.

The Four Cousins familiar party-friendly magnums feature a sweet rosé and red and white blends in dry and natural sweet styles, and now the clever cousins have rebranded their single varietal wines as a slightly upper-tier “Four Cousins Collection” in 750ml bottles.

These offer great value at R59.99, easy everyday drinking in an “all-rounder” style that makes them a good call for gatherings where the wine doesn’t need to be centre stage and guests have different tastes — book clubs and family braais come to mind.

The Four Cousins Collection Chardonnay has silky texture, a basket of citrus and butteriness, vanilla and oak — typical chardonnay characteristics.

Not hugely complex, but really enjoyable and a cut above entry-level.

The Merlot is also a cut above what you might expect for the price — none of the over-sweetness of inexpensive red wine, it’s soft and smooth, juicy mulberries, raspberries and black cherries, a dusting of cocoa powder and vanilla toastiness.

Like the chardonnay, it’s what you expect from a Merlot, nicely done at the price, and really enjoyable.

The Cabernet Sauvignon is similarly fairly typical — toasty oak nose, blackcurrants on the palate, some astringent tannin on the finish — but, for me, not quite as well realised as the Merlot.

The wine has a bit of a generic “dry red by the glass” feel; not unpleasant, but just a bit ordinary.

The range also includes a Sauvignon Blanc and a Pinotage, and the wines are widely available in stores (at the time of writing, hoping that might be next week!).

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