Some time since I was fortunate enough to taste a wine from Ernie Els Wine Estate in the Stellenbosch Wine Appellation. This is an eye opener of a wine and from one of the finest areas in the Stellenbosch Wine Appellation. From a vintage at the heart of the worst drought in living memory, here is a great concentration of a wine packed with fruit and ready for drinking right now.
The grapes for this blend were sourced mainly from the Helderberg slopes and the Cinsault comes from an especially chosen 26 year old dryland vineyard in the Perdeberg. The breakdown of the blend is Shiraz 60%; Cabernet Sauvignon 20%; Grenache 5%; Mourvèdre 5%; Cinsault 5% and Viognier 5%. These grapes were hand-harvesting in the cool of the early morning. Whole berries were fermented in open top tanks and barrels with intermittent pump-overs and punch-downs to ensure a balance between flavour, colour and tannin extraction from the skins. All ferments were meticulously monitored to ensure that all the natural aromas and flavours were preserved. After primary fermentation, some tanks underwent extended maceration. Each variety was separately vinified and then matured in both previous fill French and America Oak Barrels for 14 months before careful and final blending. An evenhandedly priced wine, offering an excellent quality/price ratio.
From a Bordeaux shaped bottle, closed with natural cork. The label is expressive and elegant. In the glass the wine is bloodplum in colour at the heart which pales out to ruby at the edges. The aromas are fulsome and reflect black berries and cherries, roadside fennel seed and sweet brown spices. The warm palate is led by the Shiraz component with great fruit, Agen prune plums, Bing cherries, snappy Belgian chocolate with the oak being present in its spice and vanilla. I really liked the grippiness of the tannins, making it not only a great food wine, but also a wine, though eminently drinkable now, which will reward you after a couple of years of cool cellaring.
The Restaurant on the Estate is up and running and there are items on the menu which will make great matches with the Ernie Els Wines Big Easy Red Blend 2017. Any number of red meat or lusty vegetarian meals will happily partner the wine. I suggest, for a weeknight supper, that when you want a bottle of fine wine after a busy day Dianne Bibby’s Barbecue Meatballs in Bacon Gravy would hit the spot. Click HERE for her recipe.
Dianne Bibby, one of my favourite Food People – CLICK HERE
Read more about Ernie Els Wines and its offerings & buy wine online – CLICK HERE