Another bottle of South African wine I picked up in the last few weeks. This is from Eilandia vineyard in Robertson region, which is limestone basin northeast of Capetown that has similar geology to the Bluegrass country of Kentucky and Tennessee. I’m drinking this with a spicy chicken masala from the slow-cooker.
The Ruins (2010) Robertson, South Africa – $12
Color: a dark cherry-red.
Aroma: this has that characteristic South African stinky nose – what some call barnyard, or brettanomyces, or sulfurous. Underneath there are nice notes of sweet plum and cherry.
Taste: more acidity than I was expecting, with berry fruit in the midpalate, and significant minerality on the finish. This definitely needs food.
Unfortunately, this fades out quickly, and even with the food is thin and tart. Not recommended.
Monastrell (aka Mourvedre aka Mataro) is a fun grape that you normally see in a blend, but the Spaniards bottle it varietally. I’m opening this with sweet-and-sour chicken over fried onions and potatoes.
Albero Monastrell (2012) Jumilla, Spain – $6
Color: purple-red, but not as dark or opaque as a Petite Sirah.
Aroma: dark cherry fruit with some spicy notes; quite inviting.
Taste: round and smooth, with cherry and other berry fruit and a nice spicy, tannic finish. Good acidity throughout, too, so it’s an excellent food wine. A nice bottle to have on hand with something a little spicy, or with a pork roast. Recommended.
This is a Rhone-style organic wine from France. There’s no appellation, which probably means it was blended from two or more of the large Vin de Pays wine regions. I had this with a bowl of chili.
A quick word on organic grape-growing. If it weren’t for anti-fungal agents, most grapes would be classified as organic. Fertilizers are not appropriate, since you want the vines to struggle and produce only a few bunches of concentrated grapes. And insecticides and herbicides are rarely used, as well. But when the weather is humid, mold, mildew, rust, and blight can strike without warning, and turn an entire field of grapes into gray mush in just a few days.
La Bicarelle (2011) France – $11
Color: on the lighter side for a Rhone style wine, but the hue is straight ruby.
Aroma: some hard-candy aroma, like the Black Mountain Pinot Noir from yesterday, with cherry and plum notes.
Taste: soft and fruity for a Rhone style; I’m guessing this is mostly Syrah, which tends to be softer than Grenache. No oak, but a pleasing layer of tannin and spice on the finish to balance with the food. A nice wine, but probably not worth the money.