27 March 2013

African Passion Wines

There are many more posts to come from the Snooth PVA weekend, but in the meantime I encourage you to check out some of the bloggers that I spent time with in New York. In no particular order... The Wine Hub, Wine Julia, Jameson Fink, Wine Harlots, RJ on Wine, Wine Folly, Reverse Wine Snob, Maker's Table, Brunello Bob, Vineyard Adventures, Vine Sleuth, Serious Eats' Seema Gunda, Vindulge, Wannabe Wino, My Vine Spot, and Avvinare. Additionally, all of these blogs have been added to the National & Global blogroll on the right. I'll have some more on all of these fine folks in the future, but for now I hope you enjoy their sites.

To give a sneak preview, I'll be posting about Scarpa Barolo and Barbera d'Asti, Oregon Wines, Wines of Brazil, Ribera del Duero, White Wines of Italy, Assorted Wines from the People's Voice Awards, Wines of Austria, Wines of South Africa, and finally, Rioja. Plus tons of food coverage for several of those tastings.

And now, for three wines tasted a couple of weeks ago...

African Passion Wines appear to be a rebranding of the Golden Kaan wines for the American market. Regardless, both are part of the powerful Koöperatieve Wijnbouwers Vereniging van Zuid-Afrika Bpkt (KWV) co-operative that has been a major player in South African wine since 1918. This brand is being launched with the help of Danny Glover, who had some harsh words for the Apartheid regime of 1980s South Africa in the great movie Lethal Weapon 2, but part of the proceeds from this brand go to charities in South Africa. What a difference a generation makes.

While I could have roasted up a ring of boerewors or a haunch of springbok, a lack of both in the local greengrocers meant that I instead tried these wines alongside a rich pepperoni-jalapeño calzone from Mellow Mushroom in Germantown.

2012 African Passion Chenin Blanc
Western Cape, South Africa
100% Chenin Blanc
$10, 12.5% abv.

This Steen is grassy with a citrus tone, but more round than tart in the body. Low acidity and a clean finish. Would be perfect with a grilled chicken salad topped with a few pomegranate pips.

2011 African Passion Cabernet Sauvignon
Western Cape, South Africa
100% Cabernet Sauvignon
$10, 13.5% abv.

Lots of red fruit, plenty of cherry and a hint of plum. Very low tannins. Perfect match with the calzone, and one that I think would go great with a wide range of Italian dishes.

2011 Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot
Western Cape, South Africa
54% Cabernet Sauvignon, 46% Merlot
$10, 13.5% abv.

Also quite mellow, and my favorite of the three. Black cherry and the barest hint of coffee with a little tannic edge before melting into a soft finish. The stronger flavors and firmer finish from the grape skins mean that this one is much better suited for the barbecue grill. Let the charred flesh of pork or goat play against those stronger flavors, and your palate will be rewarded.

Note: These wines were received as samples.

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