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Tasting Note: South Africa Cabernet

In a broad generalization that doesn't always work, wine lovers these days often draw a distinction between "Old World" wines, a European style that favors "terroir," the impact of earth and the land on wine, versus "New World" wines, typical of the U.S., Australia and New Zealand and South America, in which the wine maker's hand shows in a finished product focused on fruit and oak.

But where does South Africa fit in? It's arguably a New World nation, but its wines, in my opinion, tend to show the earthy, subtle complexities that I associate with the wines of Europe. Whichever style you prefer (or if, like me, you enjoy wine both ways), I think you'll like this tasty South African red that seems to balance on the line between Old and New.

Neil Ellis 1998 Stellenbosch Cabernet Sauvignon ($14.99)
Very dark garnet in color, this wine shows ripe cherry-berry aromas with a whiff of spicy oak. Full and fresh, tart and forward black fruit is displayed on a firm framework of lemony acidity that provides a cleansing, food-friendly finish. U.S. importer: American Wine Distributors Inc., NYC. (May 16, 2001)

FOOD MATCH: As you would expect with a good Cabernet, it made a fine companion with pan-grilled lamb chops.

Express Notes:
Two Quick Links

Want to read more about South African wine? Try these links:

  • South African Wine, http://wine.co.za: Deep content and wine sales online.
  • Grape Magazine, http://www.grape.dhs.org/: Non-commercial South African wine magazine.

    Express Notes:
    Administrivia

    This is Wine Advisor Express, the new, quick daily edition of The 30 Second Wine Advisor, distributed Tuesdays through Fridays. To change your E-mail address, switch from daily to the weekly (Mondays only) distribution, or for any other administrative matters, E-mail wine@wineloverspage.com.

    Thursday, May 17, 2001
    Copyright 2001 by Robin Garr. All rights reserved.

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