A Thanksgiving Match Made in South Africa

Greig Santos-Buch is the founder of Winederlusting, an online community and wine blog created to help travelers and oenophiles share thoughts, tasting notes, tips and tales. Greig is also a proud member of Wine Awesomeness!

Before we get started here, I want you to know that I’m writing this entire article with a South “Efrican” accent.  You should read it that way as well.

I love young wine. Especially when it’s a blend of Shiraz and Petit Verdot… from South Africa of all places. South Africa is a “new world” growing region that is really starting to gain significant notoriety. Having never sampled South African vinho tinto previously, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. But that’s part of the fun in trying new wine.  Right, brew?  Especially when you know it was curated by Wineawesomeness, what do you really have to lose?

I’d heard from a few friends who had visited recently that there is a surprising amount of complexity in SA wine, as winemakers are experimenting with ever fluctuating concentrations of old world varietals. I’m going to be looking at Eikendal Stellenbosch’s 2012 Shiraz, (51%) Petit Verdot (49%) red blend.

Traditionally these two grape varieties emit powerful, rich fruit flavor. However, Eikendal seems to have found a way to brighten and lighten their blend for a near perfect marriage that will work along side any number of thanksgiving dinner mash-ups.  es, that includes vegetarian and vegan dishes as well!

Eikendal’s blend starts with a bright, citrus-fresh and acidic opening palate followed by a velvety viscosity.  It’s predominately medium-bodied, but that’s likely the acid and tannin structure fooling my palate — further evidence that this is a gorgeously complex wine.  Ripe raspberry, grapefruit, cedar and spice all hit simultaneously around the mid-palate as tannins die down a bit.  Towards the finish, the wine stays bright, ripe and filled with blackberry and black pepper spice notes.

For those of us who try to avoid excessively fatty meats, serving a ripe, bright fruit forward red wine alongside poultry is one of the best ways you can go. Eikendal’s blend is complex enough that it will work well with both light and dark meat turkey. This wine will go equally as well with any number of vegetarian dishes because it stays so bright on the palate.  Kale-Quinoa stuffed falafel anyone? Pasta is a safe bet too and I will likely be serving both pesto-basked gnocci and penne in vodka sauce alongside this sexy blend.

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