When you think about the Big Easy, your first thought is... South African golfers. No, seriously. The Big Easy is the nickname of Johannesburg-born golfer Ernie Els due to his tall stature and smooth swing.
I will be honest and state that I know more about South African history from 1880-1920 than I do about golf in general. I have nothing against the game, but appreciate the effort that goes into maintaining a proper course and the fact that it's one of the few sports that includes a handicap system that allows players of differing skill levels to compete against each other and have a good time. A boxing match between Mike Tyson and a 125 lb. featherweight is not going to be enjoyable for the participants or audience. Plus, there's also that element of playing against the course. Man versus highly sculpted nature, one of the lesser known forms of literary conflict. (An hour after writing that, I noticed this on his website: Ernie is quoted as saying that "wine is like golf - in both endeavours nature has the last ruling".)
In addition to promoting South Africa around the world and running the Els for Autism charity dedicated to his son Ben, Els founded his winery in 1999 in Stellenbosch and produces a line of traditional Bordeaux-style wines as well as the below red blend and a classic South African Chenin Blanc.
2010 Ernie Els Big Easy
Stellenbosch & Piekenierskloof, South Africa
60% Shiraz, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Mourvèdre, 6%Grenache, 5% Cinsault, 3% Viognier
$20, 14.5% abv.
Luscious aroma of black cherries, leather, coffee, violets, and chocolate with an earthy, dark fruit flavor. Yet the body feel is mild and smooth despite its youth. It reminds me of a lot of the fun Rhone blends coming out of California, but the Cabernet Sauvignon throws an interesting twist. A great bargain and highly recommended for any grilled meats with a good bit of seasoning, like roast lamb with lavender or a BBQ-rubbed goat leg. (I'm sure a steak or burger will work fine as well.)
This came as part of a pack of Father's Day-themed wines from Terlato Wines, and others will soon follow... Stay tuned!
Note: This wine was received as a sample.