This red wine blend from South Africa is the result of a partnership between winemakers Michel Rolland and Murray Boustred. From the $39 sticker price, $20 goes to building clean water wells in Ethiopia through the Wine to Water charitable organization. They're also working with a line of budget California wines from Lodi that are available through the website, again, with a big part of the sticker price going to the charity, which operates clean water efforts in many developing countries around the world.
Memphis has some of the cleanest tap water in the country, and thus it can be rough to deal with that foggy soft water of Fayetteville, Arkansas or the sulfurous springs of Tuscon, Arizona. But it's nothing like dealing with rural well water, full of squiggly nematodes and vulnerable to fouling. Or backpacking in the deep mountains and straining the mosquito eggs out of pond water before dosing it with iodine. If you've ever had to collect rainwater or melt snow for the sake of survival, you have a profound and personal appreciation for the pristine, healthy water we take for granted, use to water our lawns, and spray all over our cars.
2003 Remhoogte Bonne Nouvelle
46% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, 19% Pinotage
Stellenbosch, South Africa
2,200 Cases Made
$39, 14.5% abv.
It starts off with a nose of rich plum and stewed fruit, and those bold fruit flavors continue on the palate. Dusky undertones of earth and old cedar closets appear later, with a touch of tobacco. Even at the age of ten, this wine remains bold with firm tannins, though decanting helps tremendously. Ultimately a wine that has a great deal of character and rewards slow, methodical appreciation over time.
I found myself hit with a powerful craving for these Oklahoma onion burgers written about by one of my colleagues at SeriousEats.com. I normally leave white onions off my burgers due to a little heartburn issue, but cooked ones cause no problems, and something about the steaming of the meat with onion juice and seasoning the buns as well caused my mouth to water.
The recipe isn't lying--you use nearly half an onion per burger. And while the result can get a little messy, it's well worth it in the flavor department. I'd suggest going heavy on the yellow mustard and sliced pickles. I served it simply with some good organic kettle chips, and washed it down with a cool glass of the South African wine.
Not a bad way to spend a hot summer day, and to pause for a moment and be thankful for having access to clean clear water from the artesian wells of Memphis.
Note: This wine was provided as a sample.