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Are you a wine prisoner?

“The goal in tasting wine is not to find the same aromas and flavours some other taster is describing. If you have your own perceptual abilities and develop the vocabulary to articulate them, you’ll not only derive more pleasure from the wine itself, but also stimulate better communication between you and your friends who are sharing the bottle.” —Marvin R Shanken.

By Lebbie Musavaya

Nederburg Noble Late Harvest 2012 and (top) South African wine. Pics:
Nederburg Noble Late Harvest 2012 and (top) South African wine. Pics:

Nature captivates me. I feel like that woman who has her soul ingrained in the intricacies of nature. As I sit, sipping a glass of house wine, I am proud to say I didn’t bother to ask the barrage of questions that are a part of me when ordering a glass of wine. I allow myself to sit on a balcony, legs hanging over the edge, and watch the sunset. I am enjoying this marvel so much, I don’t even realise I am on my second glass, and still watching the sun turn to a dark orange and finally darkness, which is automatically beautified by a field of light to give the evening a pseudo-daylight feel.

The most distinct thought that runs through my head is how we, as wine lovers, allow ourselves to become a prisoner to a particular wine. I have met a varied number of people who “swear” by a particular wine. And I am talking across the board here…men, women, young, old, me included. I used to be a prisoner to red wine. That’s all I drank.
White wine just didn’t seem “wine” enough for me, until I broke the bondage to red wine. There are people who will not allow themselves to experience the taste options of wine B, simply because they drink wine A. this type of wine imprisonment moves from absolute brand loyalty to grape variety and I could go on and on.

Wine lovers, this is not an attempt to make you change your tastes or change your thoughts on your preferred wine. All I want to highlight is that the world of wines is full of surprises. Unless you venture into the arena, those surprises will evade being a part of you. Give your palate the benefit of enjoying the numerous wines around you and I assure you, you will not regret that decision.

I am not totally innocent when it comes to not giving all wines a chance. I have been wining away for the past week in Johannesburg and I have been reminded of how easy it is for a wine lover to imprison himself or herself with a one wine mind. It took a particular tasting of sweet and fortified wines to jolt me back into reality of wine lovers closing their minds to particular wines.

It was the first of a series of flights and it was a flight of three wines, of which one particular wine pleasantly surprised me.

Boschendal La Bouquet

This familiar semi-sweet wine, showing no lack of fruit with a tease of litchi, brought back memories. Lush and easy are synonymous with a glass of this wine.

St Anna – Natural Sweet (NV)

It was a well-chilled surprise in a bottle. This sweet white wine blend of Chenin Blanc and Gerwurztraminer oozed with a mix of ripe summer peaches. A gentle and persuasive hint of floral endowed this fruity and delightful sweet wine. It’s welcome balance and low alcohol (8%) will add to the surprise.

This wine has graced our wine shelves in most wine and liquor outlets and I’d never given it a second thought. Everyone present for this tasting was really surprised. Perhaps, for a moment, I had displayed traits of wine imprisonment. Like the Cape Wine Master conducting the tasting said, “…are you all turning into wine snobs?”

Nederburg Noble Late Harvest 2014

There it was, my reminder of breakfast, marmalade on toast. This Chenin Blanc and Muscat à Petits Grains botrytised wine is delish, plush, and just begging you to have dessert.

Wine lovers, you may not realise how much of a prisoner you have become to certain wines, the good news is, it’s never too late to make a U-turn. There’s a world of wines just waiting for you to discover. Take the moment and unshackle your wine chains. A St Anna bailed me out and I’m not looking back. Until next week wine lovers, pour yourself a glass of St Anna, look forward to the week ahead and allow it to bail you out. As I wait to catch another beautiful sunset, it’s a sweet cheer.

St Anna is available in all leading retail outlets at about $6 a bottle.

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