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Rhinos and wines

In a year when the “Burnley Express” and Stuart Broad were but two of cricket’s success stories, it is easy to forget that good English fast bowlers were something of a rarity just a few years back.

In those days (the newly created MBE) Darren Gough stood almost alone.

Big of heart, his immense strength and determination earned him the nickname “Rhino” – and, with it, the admiration of thousands of cricket lovers. 

In retirement, he applies the same enthusiasm and energy to other causes including a South African animal charity with a particular focus on – you guessed it – orphan rhinos.

Do have a look at the charity’s website for details of what they do.

Teaming up with Robin Copestick (the driving force behind the hugely successful “iheart” brand), Darren has helped create a range South African wines that promotes Care for Wild and donates some of its sales’ proceeds to the charity’s work.

The range is sold by the excellent “Next Day Delivery” Slurp wine merchant – for whom this has been the most successful product launch ever.

Notwithstanding that success, Slurp have agreed to offer MidWeekers a 10% reductionwhen buying Care for Wild wines and the mixed case but, obviously, it will not apply to other Slurp products.

The discount can be activated by inserting “CFW10%OFF” in the ‘Apply discount code' box at the check out.

It will remain active until Sunday 18/10/2020 and, if you encounter any problems, you can reach the  Slurp team on 01295672290 or email info@slurp.co.uk.

OK some prices are above the usual MidWeek Wines range but, as our Sunday Best features indicate, subscribers do like to buy special occasion wine every so often.

First up though is an inexpensive sauvignon

As this Western Cape example neatly illustrates, South African sauvignon often sits at the cross-roads between New Zealand’s assertively acidic versions and the Loire Valley’s more subtle and restrained options.

Soft and vaguely herbal, Care for Wild Sauvignon Blanc (£8.95 and 12.5% abv) combines a green apple backbone with lime and pithy grapefruit acidity given a little boost by just a hint of peach.

Moving up a step

In both sweet and dry white wines, Bordeaux is adroit at blending semillon with sauvignon blanc so that the former adds the richness the latter often lacks while the acidity and verve of sauvignon returns the compliment. 

See how synergistically the process works with this example from Walker Bay – on the cooler southern tip of South Africa.

Fuller than the straight sauvignon and with greater depth, 2020 Care for Wild Sauvignon Blanc Semillon (£12.95 and 12.5%) has pear and lemon flavours with a modicum of orange influences, good grapefruit acidity built into a savoury texture that also has citrus peel texture to add complexity.

Now to the top of the range

After years of chenin blanc being (mis)treated as merely a source of simple but unexciting white wine, South African superstars like Ken Forrester have led the way in showing the sublime quality levels the variety can attain.

Here, one of the country’s other gifted winemakers has done much the same using two of the important signals that you are sampling something well beyond the mundane – fruit from wild bush vines and wine made using barrel fermentation.

With a bold yellow colour, Swartland’s 2019 Care for Wild Bushvine Chenin Blanc (£19.95 and 13%) has that typical barrel induced depth and richness to underpin its principal red apple and melon flavours that – in turn – are nicely supported by zesty but balanced acidity, oak aromas and suggestions of honey, marzipan and lemon curd.

Over to the reds next

Despite being a flagship red grape for South Africa, pinotage is a difficult customer (wayward in the vineyard and hard to control in winemaking) but this example – that blends it with syrah – provides an attractive, if uncomplicated, red.

Medium bodied with pronounced acidity Care for Wild Red Blend (£8.95 and 13.5%) provides herbal raspberry and red plum fruit with firm acidity and touches of chocolate and cinnamon.

Adding aromatics to syrah

Using a technique developed in France’s Rhone Valley (and later adopted in Australia) this red uses a dash of the white grape viognier to give its syrah foundation additional – alluring – aromas.

Dark, textured and with a long finish, 2019 Care for Wild Syrah Viognier (£12.99 and 14%) delivers smooth plum and blackberry flavours with good acidity, firm tannin and background influences of aniseed, peppercorn and mint.

And for the top red

To signal up its  excellent quality (and, perhaps, price label) this red is labelled “super premium” and is also from one of those cooler parts of South Africa (Elgin this time) which seems to give it added balance and restraint.

Lighter in colour than expected but still with real depth 2018 Care for Wild Protected Collection Shiraz (£19.95 and 14%) embodies a clove and eucalyptus  (yet quite savoury)  texture that provides an attractive contrast to the wine’s ripe, aromatic mulberry, blackberry and black cherry flavours  and the good acidity but balanced tannin that accompany them.  

Join us again on Monday for our regular look at promotions that have just started – or are about to do so – and our eagerly anticipated Top Tips.


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Comments

2 Comments

Bob Johnson

Thanks for the interesting info. about Darren Gough and I agree with your assessment of his cricketing prowess. He always gave his all often against the odds. I didn’t know that he was nicknamed the ‘Rhino’ as I knew him as the ‘Dazzler’. The Care for Wild brand looks interesting and I have become partial to South African wines since I toured the three principal wine regions there a few years ago. I particularly like Chenin Blanc, but the £19.99 price tag for Care for Wild Bushvine Chenin is beyond my £10-£12 price limit. I always enjoy your blogs. Keep them coming!
Regards, Bob Johnson.

Brian Elliott

Good to hear from you Bob and thanks for your kind words. I acknowledge that the two super premium’s are well up the price ladder but they are especially good. At last night’s MidWeek Wines and Edinburgh Uncorked joint Zoom session, we tasted the Tesco Finest Chenin Blanc and the audience gave it a thumbs up. That might fit your budget better if you have not tried it yet. Do join in one of the future Zoom events if you fancy it. Keep safe my friend in these bizarre times ……. Best …… Brian


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