The Beautiful South

Salta, Aconcagua and Robertson are just a small part of the big, Beautiful South

Salta, Aconcagua and Robertson are just a small part of the big, Beautiful South

Next month in London, they’ll pull the wraps off “The Beautiful South”, a two day tasting extravaganza (September 11, 12) that brings together South Africa, Chile and Argentina in a major collaboration.

Even though the countries have co-operated before, this marks the first time that a joint event will be held (at London’s refurbished Olympia) on such a grand scale. It promises to be an intriguing couple of days; and busy too, with over 300 wineries pouring some 3000 plus wines.

The partnership makes sense on many levels. Worth noting is that the regions share pretty well the same latitude (32 to 33 degrees).  But I’m also intrigued as much by the contrasts as the similarities.  My guess is that there’ll be plenty to discover, especially at the themed tables, which will make comparisons even easier. There’ll be a chance to taste Cabernet Sauvignon side by side from all three, as well as “Champions of the South”, which will highlight top winners from a number of leading competitions. Plus, I suspect, more Pinotage, Carmenere and Malbec together under one roof than ever seen before!

More to come on The Beautiful South in a couple of weeks …


Coincidentally, South Africa is in the spotlight at BC Liquor Stores until the end of August. And, as always, the range of wines on offer underscores the quality and excellent value that is the Cape hallmark.

(You can also win a weekend at the delightful Osoyoos Watermark Beach Resort. Details:

Here’s a small sampling of what you can find:

• Bellingham Bernard Series Old Vine Chenin Blanc 2010. Nothing wimpy about this wine, which redefines Chenin Blanc in a (good) Chardonnay kind of way. It’s a blockbuster, made from 40 year old bush vines, but layered, complex and elegant: orchard fruits with a cautious touch of oak, viscosity and great length. BCLS Specialty $24.99 / 91 pts.

• Spier Chenin Blanc 2012.  Here’s a great value, ’go-to’ patio wine to help draw out those last warm days of summer. Quite fruit forward, fresh and lively with apple, pear and citrus notes wrapped in decent acidity. BCLS $14.25 / 89 pts. Think Waldorf salad.

• Six Hats Shiraz 2010. Definite ‘meaty-gamey’ Syrah notes on the nose with some pepper, before a fruity, juicy, plummy and chocolate-y palate. Value driven certified Fairtrade wine from a consortium led by Charles Back of Fairview Cellars. Easy drinking and a deal at BCLS $13.99 / 88 pts.

• Graham Beck The Game Reserve 2010 (Robertson, Stellenbosch). This is one of those wines that typifies the kind of value the Cape does so well: a medium bodied Cab with lifted red and black berry notes on top, followed by a juicy, fruit forward entry with assertive spice and (typical Cab), herbal notes; good acidity with a dry tannin end. Very food friendly. Try it with a good roast of beef on the barbecue, or some fall game. Pretend it’s more fancy than it is: Put it in a big glass and let it breathe. BCLS Specialty $19.99 / 90 pts.