South Africa is definitely a major wine producing country, ranking seventh in volume. It has been in the wine business for centuries. Most South African wine is produced within a few hours of the city of Cape Town that is blessed with a mostly Mediterranean climate. This particular wine comes from the relatively cool Elgin Valley in the western Cape.
South Africa's signature grape is Pinotage, which is a cross between Cinsault and Pinot Noir, both of which originated in France. This red grape has lost popularity in South Africa over the years and never became popular anywhere else in the world. I know I haven't tried drinking many Pinotage wines. Let's give it a chance.
OUR WINE REVIEW POLICY All wines that we taste and review are purchased at the full retail price.
Wine Reviewed Slowine Rose, 2008 13.0% alcohol about $10.00
Let's start with the marketing materials. Description: We agree with Wine Enthusiast, this is a 'very pretty' rose. Read the note below -- this is a great buy. Tasting Note: [58% Pinotage, 28% Pinot Noir and 14% Shiraz] This classic, restrained rose offers a wave of lemon, cherry and strawberry on the nose and refreshing, crisp berry flavors on the palate. Acids and fruit are very well balanced and the wine finishes clean with a slight spin of sugar. Very pretty and a great everyday sipper. Score - 86. (Susan Kostrzewa, Wine Enthusiast, March 1, 2009) And now for my review.
At first tasting the wine had mouth-puckering acidity, and yet was light. It lingered in my mouth with a definite berry taste. The initial meal consisted of bagels, cream cheese, and Atlantic smoked salmon (lox). The wine was quite refreshing, tasting of raspberries. By the way, with the salmon its acidity was bang on.
The second meal consisted of stewed okra in tomato, garlic, and onion sauce over rice and eggplant grilled with its skin and covered in lots of oil, garlic and lemon. Accompanying the okra this rose tasted of raspberry and some lemon. It had light acidity with just a touch of sweetness and was quite refreshing. With the eggplant the wine was palate cleansing and once again raspberries predominated. On the other hand when it faced a raspberry and rhubarb pie the wine was initially disappointing. I hoped that the raspberry taste of the wine would meld with the pie. This was not the case initially but as I continued the combined raspberry taste intensified. The second dessert (sometimes we indulge) was a homemade peach, pear, and strawberry cobbler garnished with chocolate chips. The rose had fine acidity with a touch of sweetness.
The final meal consisted of a commercial boxed vegetarian eggplant rolatini that included eggs, ricotta cheese, and tomatoes. I added a lot of grated Parmesan cheese. The wine had bright acidity with a lot of lemony taste. It was not the slightest bit unpleasant and had a nice length. I ended this meal with a high-quality chocolate-coated vanilla ice cream bar. The wine and the dessert simply didn't mesh.
I finished the tasting with two cheeses. The first cheese tasted was a sheep's milk feta. The rose was fruity but short. Then I tried a brick cheese. The wine was somewhat longer and fruitier, but all in all the wine and cheese pairings weren't up to the rest.
Final verdict. I really liked this wine. I made sure to finish every drop and would be happy to buy it again.
Levi Reiss authored or co-authored ten books on computers and the Internet, but really prefers drink fine German, Italian, or other wine. He teaches various computer classes at an Ontario French-language community college. His global wine website www.theworldwidewine.com features a weekly review of $10 wines and new sections writing about and tasting organic and kosher wines. Visit his wine, nutrition, and health website www.wineinyourdiet.com .