A pair of “big names” are featured today illustrating just why their names are “big”.
Building on 300 years of wine production, Stellenbosch used the immediate post-apartheid era to win even more international recognition for high-quality wines.
The involvement locally of wine academia undoubtedly helped boost that quality.
However, the region’s ideal climate and varied soils are probably the key factors.
And, even as other areas begin catching up, Stellenbosch remains the first name on the list for any wine tour of South Africa.
Today’s white wine selection uses modestly priced fare to help show why.
Its partner wine is from an operation whose founder, Don Maximiano Errázuriz, started making wine in Chile a century and a half ago.
Now into its fifth generation, the business is currently run by his descendant Eduardo Chadwick – a mild but deceptively shrewd man.
That shrewdness allowed the business to recognise the important part sound entry point wines play in putting drinkers on a “quality up-scaling escalator”.
So, the pinot noir on display today is strong evidence that they still devote much attention to wines selling at £7 or £8.
Adopting my traditional format, images and, where possible, hyperlinks accompany the assessments of the wines.
Let’s look at that pinot noir first.
2022 Errazuriz Estate Pinot Noir (£7.49 – instead of £9.99 until 28 November at Waitrose and 13.5% abv):
Lots of fruit in this impressive Chilean red which punches well above its current £7.50 price point.
Flavours of strawberry, redcurrant and pomegranate all vie for attention and are attractively turbo-charged by bright acidity.
Subtly used oak, smoky earthiness and vaguely floral influences combine to provide well-judged contrast.
A slightly different sauvignon.
2023 Welmoed Sauvignon Blanc (£7.65 at the Co-op and 13%):
As I suggested earlier, even while other South African wine regions gain wider recognition, Stellenbosch can still produce great options like this slightly crisper sauvignon.
With welcoming aromas and a herbal edge, it provides clean melon, passion fruit and red apple flavours.
These are supported by good lime acidity, touches of green pepper and a modicum of contrasting sweetness.
NB:- The price in physical stores may vary from the one shown on the Co-op website.
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