Tuesday, March 23, 2010

World Cup Wine

by Rob Bralow, Wine Post Editor

Most wineries wish they could say that their wine was world cup material. Nederburg can claim this honor as being the official wine for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. This is not actually a very interesting claim because it usually means that Nederburg paid for the honor. What makes this more interesting is the focus on South Africa that the 2010 World Cup brings.

Tariro Masayati, is a black Zimbabwean. Tariro grew up extremely poor in Zimbabwe, a country torn by war and political conflict, but he went on to study viticulture and oenology first at the University of Zimbabwe and then at the University of Stellenbosch - a career path not at all common amongst black Zimbabweans. Tariro, the Shona word for hope, is responsible for making white wine for Nederburg in South Africa, the viticultural capital of the African continent. He has succeeded in the face of adversity throughout his entire life and in many ways represents hope that a new South Africa is not only possible but probable.

And the wines are solid! Not amazing, but quite drinkable. Nederburg created three Limited Edition "twenty 10" wines for the 2010 World Cup:

2009 Sauvignon Blanc - Fresh gooseberry, grapefruit, kiwi, with a slightly herbal but pleasant background on the nose. The taste started with lemon rind, a little creamy in the midpalate, but some ripping acid.

2009 Dry Rosé - This rosé is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. There were lots of light raspberries and rose petals on the nose. The taste was a little harsh, with some extreme acid but mellowed into raspberry and cherry fruits.

2008 Cabernet Sauvignon - Best of the bunch, with rich and fleshy blueberry on the nose. There was none of the "burnt tire" smell that I have found in other South African wines. The taste was fleshy and fruity, with enough tannin and acid to make me want some food to go with it.

Stories like this are fantastic. It is even better when they are true and happen at a time when the rest of the world is looking at the country with a microscope.

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