Woodman Wines & Spirits presents a couple of South African offerings to look for at Vintages…

Though it has a winemaking history dating back to 1659, South Africa still remains something of a “best kept secret” among wine aficionados in Canada. This is unfortunate as the country is home not only to some truly exceptional wines, but also to some of the best bang-for-buck wine values to be found anywhere.

What sets South Africa’s wines apart from pretty much all others is their unique ability to combine the fruit-forward attractiveness of New World wines, with the sort of earthy complexity more common in wines of the Old World. Though the South Africa wine industry relies primarily on French noble varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, Shiraz, and Pinot Noir, its winemakers often follow some interesting directions. Such is the case with the following pair from Rustenberg Wines – one of the country’s most respected producers.


Available at Vintages

Rustenberg Petit Verdot Rosé 2020


While it often is used as part of the classic red five-grape “Bordeaux blend,” Petit Verdot is not generally bottled on its own. However, with the Rustenberg Petit Verdot Rosé 2020 (Vintages No. 451773; $14.95), not only is the variety used exclusively, but it is also used to craft a deliciously fresh rosé as opposed to a red wine. The winery notes that the thick, highly-pigmented skins of the Petit Verdot variety make it particularly well-suited for rosé production. You’ll find lots of bright red berry fruit on the nose – think strawberry, cranberry, and red cherry – the flavours of which carry over onto the mid- to full-bodied palate. A terrific summer sipper, this rosé is also a great match for picnic fare as well as fish and seafood off the grill.


$14.95; Vintages # 451773; 13.5% alc./vol.





Rustenberg Buzzard Kloof Syrah 2018



If what’s coming off the grill is a bit heftier, the Rustenberg Buzzard Kloof Syrah 2018 (Vintages No. 414151; $24.95) presents the perfect foil.

Buzzard Kloof is a unique (and climactically cool) vineyard site that is planted with French clones of Syrah imported before the turn of the century. The name itself references the Jackal and Steppe Buzzards that ride the thermals above the ravine (kloof) where the vineyard is situated. Rather than opting to call the wine Shiraz (perhaps the more market-friendly term for Syrah), Rustenberg retained the French name…and something of a Northern Rhône Valley style. Expect to find aromas suggesting dark plum, violet, baking spice, cigar box, and mocha. Quite powerful and concentrated in the mouth, with dense, chewy dark fruit flavours, and a dash of white pepper. It should age gracefully over the next decade. If enjoying now, the winery recommends decanting the wine for an hour prior to serving.


$24.95; Vintages  # 414151; 14.5% alc./vol.




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