Date night = best night of the week. You’re already smart if you’re planning a solid Netflix cue and wine date at home. There’s nothing sexier than sharing a bottle of wine together, plus this is also a fabulous opportunity to buy something new that you’ve wanted to try. Regardless of your other half’s level of wine smarts, these date-worthy wines are sure to impress.
Constantia Glen FIVE 2016
There’s something so compelling about a glass of this luscious flagship red. A blend of the five archetypal Bordeaux varieties, it starts with that very dark, almost opaque magenta colour (we all know what that means). Every sip is bursting with concentrated dark fruit flavours that will make your mouth water – think ripe blackcurrant, juicy plums and fragrant dried herbs. It’s complex enough to keep you interested, but unintimidating and really easy to drink at the same time. Pair it with asparagus and mushroom risotto with fresh pecorino, pulled slow-roasted shoulder of lamb served with soy-glazed wild mushrooms and potato gratin or beef rib eye grilled to medium-rare.
R465 from www.constantiaglen.com and select wine merchants
TOKARA Director’s Reserve Red 2017
One of my all-time favourite super-sexy wines, this red blend is so moreish and easy drinking. The nose showcases complex aromas of ripe red and black fruits with hints of dried cranberry, baking spice and graphite. It enters the palate with incredible purity and focus: Flavours are those of dark cherries, blackberries and ripe plum skin. Sumptuous and full, there’s a hint of spice on the mid-palate, which leads to fine, firm tannins on the finish. A general rule when pairing this wine with food is to match the intensity of the dish with the wine. Grilled ribeye steak served with béarnaise sauce and potato Dauphinoise will do nicely!
R400 from www.tokara.com and select wine merchants
Van Wyk Family Wines Syrah 2018
With its elegant spice and black pepper aromatics, there’s a lot more to this wine than the usual fruit bomb of other reds. This is a great way of signalling to your date that you enjoy the more complex things in life. Once the wine opens up, it’s all about an enticing black fruit bouquet that develops some floral nuances as well as rosemary and fynbos. Its rich, vegetal aromas and flavours make for a terrific conversation starter, while the mouth-filling texture and medium-bodied palate provides good balance and drinkability. Dark meats and exotic spices bring out the fruit notes of this wine. Try it with lamb shawarma, gyros, Asian five-spice pork and Indian tandoori meats.
R250 from www.vanwykfamilywines.co.za and select wine merchants
Steenberg 1682 Pinot Noir MCC
If you thought sparkling wine was a good idea, you’d be right! This delightful brut MCC strikes an elegant pose with its pale pink hue and beguiling scents of raspberry jelly, wild strawberry sorbet, red apple skin and toasted brioche. Its ultra-fine mousse lifts the raspberry-like aromas and the creamy texture, in perfect balance with a bright acidity, lingers long after the last sip. It’s refreshing, classy and engaging, without distracting you from your date. And what date isn’t impressed by the pop of a sparkler’s cork? Serve it with shrimp and shellfish, smoked salmon, oysters, caviar, fried calamari, salami, veggies, stuffed mushrooms, egg dishes and foie gras.
R245 from www.steenbergfarm.com and select wine merchants
Glenelly Estate Reserve Red 2014
Want something red and complex, but don’t want your date to see your tannin face? This vintage that’s all about the combination of power and elegance combines the rich, powerful aromatics of fresh blackberries and blackcurrant with softer tannins that make it easy to enjoy. The palate entry is bold with fine tannins supported by the ripe, fresh fruit and hints of spice. It has very good oak integration with a fresh, long finish. This red blend is the perfect wine for a relaxed evening at home, potentially in front of the TV. I also recommend enjoying it with dishes such as pan-fried pork fillet, Karoo lamb loin and grilled springbok rump.
R245 from www.glenelly.co.za and select wine merchants
Welgegund Heritage Wines Chenin Blanc 2017
This bright and minerally white kills it for the price! Give me a giant tower of oysters with this and I’m a happy girl. Expect layered flavours, great depth, a textured mouthfeel, creamy oak and vibrant summer fruit – citrus, stone fruits, pineapple and lime notes – complemented by a hint of white blossoms. I love this wine because it’s a friendly and very refreshing chenin blanc that quenches your thirst and can be gulped down easily, but it also has all the qualities of a very classic chenin blanc. It’s extremely food-friendly and is a great companion to line fish, calamari, lobster, mussels and lemon butter prawns, as well as roast duck and game birds.
R230 from select wine merchants
In a world where bigger is better, this limited-edition wine is the ideal choice. The deep ruby-coloured concentrated red blend shows prominent aromas of dark cherry, blackcurrant and vanilla. On the palate, cinnamon, sweet spice and ripe, juicy dark fruit together with a firm tannin structure ensures good length and an enduring finish. Added bonus: Its complex nose is perfect for sitting, sniffing and contemplating with your date. This wine can be enjoyed on its own or with a variety of flavourful meat dishes, such as roast chicken, pepper steak, brisket and duck as well as roasted winter veggies, mashed potatoes and lentils. Oh, and cigars!
R230 from www.kwvemporium.co.za and Makro
Reyneke Biodynamic Cornerstone 2016
Because this classical Bordeaux style blend includes more familiar grapes like cabernet franc and cabernet sauvignon, it has mass appeal that even wine amateurs can appreciate, with the added benefit of complex characteristics. It combines freshness with a real intense concentration, and presents spicy cherries, cassis and mulberry nuances. There are also undertones of tobacco leaf and blackcurrant, which adds to a defined graphite minerality. This wine has a wonderful balance with fruity complexity and fine tannins that are linear and focused. I usually end up drinking wines like this, after a long day, with my partner on our balcony. It’s even better in a thunderstorm!
R223 from select wine merchants
Muratie Martin Melck Cabernet Sauvignon 2015
Loved for its high concentration and age worthiness, this wine has a potent, bright and hypnotising palate. Classically styled and restrained, concentrated dark fruit – black cherries, berries and plums – are underscored by fresh acidity and framed by cedarwood and spice notes from 20 months in French oak (10% new). This is a full-bodied and complex wine: A wine of integration, balance and great length true to its terroir. This authoritative wine will reward cellaring for at least another six years. The rich flavour and high tannin content make it a perfect partner to rich grilled meats, peppery sauces and dishes with high flavour.
R200 from www.muratie.co.za and select wine merchants
Survivor Wild Ferment Syrah 2018
Best described as big, brooding and boozy, this wine has intense fruit flavours of spice, violets and blackberries, and a massive full-bodied taste. When you taste it, you’ll be greeted by a punch of flavour that tappers off and then has a spicy peppery note in the aftertaste. The wine finishes off with soft, round tannins and oak. It’s not for the faint of heart or palate, but it’ll warm you up in a hurry! You can pair Syrah with anything from barbecue chicken and griddled vegetables to spicy stir-fry pork with cabbage. The trick is to bring out the subtle nuances in the wine. Also try it with roasted leg of lamb with olives and peppers, barbecue spareribs or a blue cheese burger.
R200 from www.survivorwines.com and select wine merchants
Groote Post Seasalter Sauvignon Blanc 2019
This partially wooded sauvignon blanc with a Semillon component will douse you with an explosion of flavours. On the nose, expect pungent, in-your-face aromas ranging from captivating citrus, stone fruit and green apple, to fynbos, kelp, sea breeze and a touch of oak. On the palate, this wine tastes light-bodied with racy acidity and moderate alcohol. It’s beautifully composed with zesty acidity and vibrancy perfectly balanced by the richer notes and fuller mouth feel added by the Semillon component. I love to drink this with fresh shellfish outside on a patio on a sunny day. It’s an excellent food wine, best enjoyed with West Coast seafood.
R145 from www.grootepost.co.za and select wine merchants
Leeuwenkuil Reserve Red 2018
With its deep red colour, romance is built into the heart of this red blend. It has a distinctive perfume on the nose backed by the aroma of caramelised plums, and the abundance of pure red fruit on the palate can lead to meaningful conversations – and perhaps even future plans. The palate offers cherries, cranberries and plums with a peppery and savoury finish. This is a fresh wine with great depth of flavour and complexity, finishing long and begging another sip! For a delightful tasting experience, try it with venison carpaccio or a spicy curry. Also try it with red wine lamb shank stew and oven-roasted vegetables.
R120 from select wine merchants