Zesty sips – Saluting the end of summer

With South Africa’s wine industry so it’s no surprise that a cheery patio sipper is no challenge to these savvy vintners.

South Africa’s wine industry dates back to the late 1600s, so it’s no surprise that a cheery patio sipper is no challenge to these savvy vintners. Why not salute the end of summer with a zesty slurp of Sauvignon Blanc courtesy of Beachhouse?

Aromas of peaches and honey lead into flavours of grapefruit, tangerine and lemon on the palate. There is even some minerality here, offering a hint of complexity at the eminently affordable price of $12.50. And if that’s lamb I smell on the barbecue, better open a bottle from Stellar Organics, which offers an unusual blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinotage (the signature grape of South Africa, a hybrid of Pinot Noir and Cinsaut, created there almost a century ago).

Dry and elegant, with exotic aromas on the nose and richly flavoured with notes of dark cherry, coffee and smoky spices, this robust bottling has round tannins and an impressive finish. Call it $16.50 well spent.

Blithely switching continents and hemispheres, let’s drop in at the Okanagan’s justly famed Quails’ Gate Winery for a glass of their delicious white blend, the Chasselas-Pinot Blanc-Pinot Gris 2015.

This is the top-selling VQA white wine in B.C. and it’s easy to see why: underpinned with a crisp acidity, the blend of apricot, peach and pink grapefruit flavours is like having an entire orchard in your glass. Deeply aromatic and elegant, it’s well worth $20.

Ready for a splurge? California’s iconic Zinfandel producer Ridge has a real beauty with its 2013 Geyserville. Lushly hedonistic and more than full bodied, this well-balanced and deeply concentrated wine has aromas and flavours of black cherry, plum, blackberry and spice that swagger out of the glass. It’s drinking gorgeously now, but would be even more delightful in five years. If you love big reds, ignore the $67 price tag and dive in! (All prices include tax.)


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