Well Happy National Wine Day to you! In this space, we like to celebrate that holiday every day, but it’s always nice to have an extra special day to celebrate, don’t you think?
I celebrated wine big time last week at an absolutely beautiful South African wine tasting and Braai with Cape Classics.
What’s a Braai, you ask? It just means a meal cooked over an open fire outdoors or a casual get-together where food is prepared over an open fire outdoors. The Boston Harbor Yacht Club on a breezy but blue-sky day was the perfect location for the Braai, and the wine was definitely flowing.
I drank a lot of South African wine in Tanzania, and South Africa has long been at the top of my wine travel list. In fact, long ago a colleague offered up his vineyard property for our wedding. We decided that logistically it would be impossible for our families to all fly there, but wow was that tempting. . .
This event was a pour-your-own-wine setup with many, many wines to taste. It got crowded fairly quickly, so I focused on just a few, getting to know new favorite wines while taking breaks to enjoy the grilled feast happening outside.
Excelsior Chardonnay – Reminded me a little of a lighter, more refreshing Viognier, with peach notes as well as some tart plum and mouthwatering citrusy acidity.
I tried several Indaba wines, including this Sauvignon Blanc and a Chenin Blanc, and I really enjoyed them and their very easy drinking nature. Once I found out the philosophy behind them, I loved them even more:
Indaba wines are crafted in the Cape Floral Kingdom, the smallest, yet most diverse of the six plant kingdoms. The look and spirit of Indaba reflects both South Africa’s position as a leader in sustainable production and the handcrafted approach found in the country’s art world. A commitment to social responsibility has always been a key part of the Indaba philosophy. A portion of the brand’s global sales is allocated to the Indaba Education Fund, a fully accredited 501c3, which supports early childhood development by providing infrastructure, learning materials and teacher training at schools established for wineland workers’ children.
Indaba wines offer great flavor and value, are bright and fruit-forward, and perfect for festive occasions and with food. Yum.
DMZ Cabernet Rosé 2015 – Like many of the wines at the tasting, this rosé had some beautiful mineral notes, along with flavors of juicy strawberries, perfect for celebrating summer, of course. These wines, also like many of the others, are a great value.
A Kanonkop vertical tasting of five vintages of Pinotage, along with their exclusive, amazing Black Label was one of the highlights of the tasting. Pinotage is definitely not a grape I am super familiar with, but I want to get to know it more! It’s a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsault, and Kanonkop is a pioneer of making incredible wines with it. Think dark berries, cedar, cocoa. . . perfect for a cool day, though I bet really nice slightly chilled on a warm day as well.
I wish I had taken better notes as I tasted through! Wine tastings are always a juggling act of tasting, note taking, photos, mingling, and in this case, pouring. I need more hands for these events!
Outside of the yacht club, the Braai was ablaze with plenty of meat being cooked for wine tasting attendees. If this is how South African’s do a BBQ, I want to visit even more. The smoky grilled meat paired well with every single wine I tasted. With the whites, the mineral notes played along nicely with the spices and flavors, and wines like the Pinotage had that nice bit of smoke, perfect as a BBQ wine. I also tried a Cabernet Franc that I absolutely fell in love with; so much spice, but I didn’t get a photo or mark it down. Hopefully I will be able to retrace my steps somehow. . .
The yacht club was a beautiful spot for a wine tasting, combining two of my favorite things in one. The variety of wines was an education for sure, and a yummy one at that. I know I will be seeking out South African wines for summer boating and BBQing.
Thank you to Cape Classics for inviting me to this event and sharing their beautiful portfolio with all of us!