Boutinot has found a welcome niche seeking out pockets of authentic and affordable wines from South Africa, pairing them with credible winemakers, marketing them smartly, and getting them to the Canadian market — none of which is an easy feat. This duo (there is also a white wine in the range) is named for the abundant sunshine and marine-freshened air of WO Coastal Region. This is a youthful and juicy Cinsault from a majority of 65-year-old dry farmed bush vines across the Cape (with a great chunk from Paarl). Raspberry, rhubarb, brambly blackberry, dried tobacco are streaked with smoke and brightened with a crunchy acidity and a peppery finish. Tannins are tucked away, allowing the fruit to poke through to the flush of warmth on the finish. This shows best with a slight chill and when poured beside a grilled burger or ribs. Great price.
I never expected to find Sicily’s premiere red grape growing in South Africa, but there you go. Deep purple-ruby in colour, this gorgeous red has a spicy nose of black plums and new leather with a lavender note. Medium-bodied and dry, it’s fleshy but elegant and well-balanced with a caressing mouth-feel. Amazing value here.
Capturing the warm sun of South Africa and the cool coastal breezes, Sun & Air is a new line from Boutinot in their ever-expanding reach of affordable, well-made, excellently packaged wines from around the globe. They do particularly well with South Africa, finding interesting pockets of grapes and working with local vintners to make well priced, tasty wines. Like this, sourced from the foothills of Paarl Mountain, the second largest granite outcrop in the world (after Oz's Ayers Rock). Decomposed granite is hinted through the stony minerality woven in this wine. Bright and sunny with a steely backbone, streaming lemony acidity and heaps of green: apple, peas, asparagus, grass atop a fine layer of lees. The finish snaps to attention with zesty spice. This is a youthful, sunny wine for drinking now.
Boekenhoutskloof is better known in our market for its Porcupine Ridge Syrah but this Chardonnay is also a great buy. Light straw in colour, the wine has a woodsy, apple nose with a floral grace note; it’s medium-bodied, dry, faintly smoky with pear and lemon flavours.
B Vintners is a collab of cousins Gavin Bruwer and Bruwer Raats, both respected winemakers with their own labels. With B, they aim to tell the story of the some of the most interesting vineyards in the Cape, focusing on Stellenbosch. This is low-intervention Chenin and Semillon, with a splash of Muscat of Alexandria, whole bunch pressed, fermented and aged in older oak and with 10 months' time on the lees (the Muscat was done in stainless) before all was assembled, cold stabilised and bottled. The wood is evident, bolstering and batting around spicy citrus, lemongrass, white peach, and orange blossom, with Chenin's scratchy herbal wooliness lining the mouth amply. Dried apricot sticks to the medium/full palate, and wood spice lingers on the finish. The bracketing wood requires food to meet; herbal stuffed poultry on the fire would work beautifully.
Clear, pale green-tinted yellow. Fairly robust nose of lime, gooseberry and cut grass. Light-bodied, tastes of lime, melon and elderflower. Will stay fresh for another year.
Clear medium-deep ruby red. Fairly intense smoky, sweaty nose of raspberry jam, plums and oak. Medium-bodied with simple, jammy cranberry and strawberry flavours. The finish is short and the tannins almost gone. Will last another year but won’t get better, drink now.