Elegance and sophistication mean being comfortable with luxury and appreciate the finer things in life, including fine wine.
That said, the foundation of any fine wine collection is good quality storage and ageing. This can only be achieved with a wine cooler or in a wine cellar. Fine wines have a substantially shorter lifespan if not stored correctly at the right temperature.
Keeping premium and investment wines in a side-by-side French door fridge is simply not an option.
What to stock the wine fridge with:
We spoke to Distell business manager, Sarah Marinelli, for advice on premium wine. We also asked her about the direction she sees high-end wines moving to this 2020/2021 season.
Marinelli highlights that there is a difference between fleeting trends and classic investment wines.
The Covid-19 pandemic and hard lockdown gave rise to more health conscious consumers. These consumers now search for low calorie, low alcohol and alcohol-free wines.
Many supermarkets now stock a collection of zero percent alcohol wines and sparkling wines. If this interests you, look out for Inah Merlot, Inah Shiraz and Rooiberg White Sparkling non-alcoholic.
Marinelli says as a result of the liquor ban, more South Africans are committing to support local wineries and private estates. The move to “buy South African” is felt by the industry. This turned into a boon to wine farms and their workers.
Same Wine, New Formats
A need to cut back on packaging costs as well as increased environmental awareness triggered a boom in alternative packaging.
Love it or hate it, wine farms are increasingly making their wine available in cans. Some premium wines, on the other hand, moved to bag-in-box packaging.
Much to the “delight” of discerning wine lovers, selected liquor stores now stock premium bag-in-box wines. These include Diemersdal Sauvignon Blanc, Beyerskloof Reserve Collection Pinotage and Pierre Jordaan Tranquille Blush.
Rose and lighter-style Red Wines
Rosé and lighter-style reds that can be chilled will gain more attention this season. Think Cinsault and Pinot Noir.
“The Rosé category has been on the rise for a number of years. Styles are evolving towards drier, more refined and elegant wines with the potential for some ageing. Allesverloren Tinta Rosé, from the Swartland area, is a perfect example of a high-end Rosé.”
If you’re considering a premium dry Rosé to spruce up a summer meal or pair with friends, try Delaire Graff Rosé Cabernet Franc. Longridge The Emily Chardonnay Pinot Noir or Groot Constantia Rosé 2019 are also great options. The latter was even awarded “Best in Category” at the 2020 National Wine Challenge.
Sparkling Wines / Mèthode Cap Classique
The quality of South African premium sparkling wines or MCC (Mèthode Cap Classique) gains ground on the rest of the world. Thanks to this, the category has seen significant growth in variety and popularity.
“The blend of most MCC’s is Chardonnay/Pinot Noir grapes with the Chardonnay being the stronger of the two. This is the same as Champagne. South Africa’s top MCC’s are 100% Chardonnay or Blanc de Blancs.”
Blanc de Blancs are Champagnes or sparkling wines made exclusively from white grapes. Pongrácz Blanc de Blancs is a quintessential example.
Another MCC that leaves a lasting impression of elegance and enduring indulgence is Graham Beck Blanc de Blancs.
Fine wine trends:
More winemakers at the top end are using less wood. Many are also using older, larger barrels in the winemaking process. The restrained use of oak allows for more purity and fruit aromas coming to the fore.
Consumers feel the need to connect with the hands that made the product. As a result, winemakers are quenching consumers’ thirst for the stories behind them. They do this by sharing accounts of stories connected to the wine and the estate they were from.
To serious wine collectors, wines are living, breathing entities. As such, provenance is paramount.
“Great work is being done by regions to promote the advantages of specific varietals from their unique terrior. For example, Stellenbosch Cabernet Sauvignon, Durbanville Sauvignon Blanc and Paarl Chenin Blanc.
First class food and wine pairings
Pongrácz Blanc de Blancs
Marinelli says Pongrácz winemaker, Elunda Basson, suggests pairing this fine MCC with double-baked goat’s cheese soufflés. You can also opt for MCC poached oysters or sustainable white fish with a beurre blanc sauce.
“Young Blanc de Blancs are quite restrained but develop to having a brioche richness that overlays an intense expression of fruitiness. The aromas are complimented by an alluring creaminess, creating a linear and focused mineral-driven finish.”
Allesverloren Tinta Rosé 2019
Marinelli describes this blush coloured wine as having an attractive nose of strawberries and raspberries. This leaves fresh raspberries and cherries and a hint of vanilla on the palate.
“Exhibiting a perfect sugar/acid balance and delicious lingering aftertaste, Allesverloren Tinta Rosé is excellent enjoyed on its own or with salmon, trout or Asian cuisine.
Nederburg Heritage Heroes The Anchorman 2018
This lively and rich-layered wooded Chenin Blanc is made 100% from Chenin Blanc grapes and is brilliant with a bright golden hue.
“The Anchorman 2018 has a bouquet reminiscent of ripe fruits, especially apricots and white peaches. It emits floral notes and hints of spice with layers of fruit on the palate.
This white wine with its crisp acidity and creamy texture pairs deliciously with fish, poultry, mild Cape Malay dishes, veal, pasta and salads.”
Nederburg Two Centuries Cabernet Sauvignon 2015
A ruby red with signature notes of dark plums and berries and hints of dark chocolates on the nose.
Marinelli says a generous concentration of rich, ripe and sweet berried fruits dominate on the palate and harmonise with oak to produce generous mouth. This fills a profusion of flavours that are tempered by firm tannins.
“Nederburg Two Centuries Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 is delicious with carpaccio, coq au vin, roast lamb, beef and venison.”
Looking to add to your investment wine collection? Don’t miss the Strauss & Co online auction for some truly spectacular private estate wines and art.