The Wine List #3

Cabernet Sauvignon

Zebra View Fairtrade 2014. South Africa. 13.5% alc vol. Marks & Spencer.

IMGP4974THIS is the grape that got me drinking wine. Until the 1980s I was strictly a beer man. Then I discovered Bulgarian cabernet sauvignon. I was not alone. Bulgarian cab sauv at £2 a bottle was the wine everybody brought to a bottle party then.

Ok, so there wasn’t as much choice around in the 80s, and at least I never succumbed to the mysterious appeal of Mateus Rose or Blue Nun.

This cab sauv is from the Swartland region of South Africa. So what does it have to say for itself on the label? “..brightly flavoured” (tick)..“deliciously easy-drinking” (tick)..“full bodied” (tick). “Notes of blackberry, cherry and dark chocolate”: ah, those ‘notes’; every wine has them, apparently, and most of them elude this retired bloke’s unsophisticated palate.

You know the sort of thing: “fruit notes lingering on the air like the scent of a hummingbird that has drunk from the nectar of orange blossom.” Ok, I just made that up. But you get the point.

Zebra View was made by winemakers Sam Snyman and Willie Malan. It must be great to be able to put your name on something you have crafted like this. How many brewers get their names captured for posterity on a flagon of bitter?

M&S recommend drinking this spicily flavoured red with “everyday food like spaghetti Bolognese” (presumably, that’s every day in Bologna; maybe not so much in Swansea) or “richer dishes like Chinese crispy duck.” Quite unusual to have a red wine paired with Asian food like this; we put it to the test and drank it with our Friday night Chinese takeaway. It passed.

One for the wine rack? Definitely.

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