‘Friendly’ Reds: A welcoming embrace in a glass!

If you have to choose between wearing a three-piece suite, lounge shirt, tie and Italian shoes and a T-shirt, denims and sneakers, what would be your first choice? Every now and again I like dressing up, but most of the time I prefer the comfort of casual clothing.

That’s also how I feel about big, bold, full-bodied and complex wines and fine dining versus light to medium-bodied wines for pure enjoyment and wholesome, hearty food, well-made from fresh ingredients. For me, the latter is la dolce vita (the good life in Italian)!

La dolce vita reminds me of the Italian concept of bevebilitaBevebilita is the Italian word for “drinkability”, but let’s face it, it just sounds so much better in Italian! Simply put, milk is more drinkable than vodka, much more, and that’s bevebilita for you! But this is subjective as palates differ and what’s good for the goose may not be good for the gander, in a manner of speaking.

My bevelita score for wine is an average of two qualities important to drinkability, namely the drinkability itself, which boils down to balance, freshness and well, ease of drinking, and the ease with which the wine can be paired with food. This is far from a perfect system, but I think to most people it will be an improvement over the status quo.

My Bevebilita Factor (BF) will be a score that ranges from 0 to 10 and will be arrived at by adding up a wine’s drinkability and food friendliness. Wines that score less than 7½ points (because they fall outside the bevebilita range of “friendliness”!) won’t be included in this article, mainly because they are getting too serious, in a manner of speaking!

The wines for this article are from Diemersfontein, Nuy and Allée Bleue.

  • DIEMERSFONTEIN

For three generations the Sonnenberg family has been creating Diemersfontein moments on this iconic estate on the outskirts of Wellington. What started as a family retreat is today the home of the outstanding Diemersfontein range of wines and countryside hospitality backed by a story of upliftment and empowerment.

Diemersfontein The Prodigy Pinotage 2018 – BF 8,5

Unlike his older “siblings”, the Diemersfontein Carpe Diem Reserve Pinotage and the coffee/chocolate style Pinotage, The Prodigy exudes the unique, youthful and vibrant characteristics of this truly South African variety.

The wine was aged for 10 months on French oak staves and displays rich aromas of dark red fruit like mulberry and black berry in the nose, with strawberry, cherry and plum on the palate, and it’s all wrapped in a subtle hint of well-integrated oak.

FOOD PAIRING

Enjoy on its own with friends or family, or with South African staples like bobotie and braaivleis, or roast duck, lamb casserole and even chocolate soufflé.

Price: R80

  • ALLÉE BLEUE

Allée Bleue was bought in 1999 by Friedrich-Wilhelm and the late Elke Dauphin, who were determined to breathe new life into the estate.

Surrounded by two rivers, the estate is graced with an abundance of old trees which create a natural conservancy where local wildlife shelter and flourish. The birdlife is especially abundant. Most spectacular are the owls, one of which nests in an old barn.

Blue Owl Merlot 2017 – BF 8,5

More proof that merlot is the unsung hero of Bordeaux! This is an elegant fruit-driven wine full of ripe cherries, blackcurrant fruit and a spicy undertone. The palate is rounded with supple tannins, good balance and finesse. It is made up of 86% merlot, 9% shiraz and 5% viognier.

FOOD PAIRING

Pair with fresh pasta topped with basil, roasted cherry tomatoes, slithers of parmesan and drizzled with olive oil. Or open a bottle with friends while sitting around the braai.

Price: R76

  • NUY WINERY

Nuy Winery is situated in the Nuy Valley at the foot of the Langeberg Mountains between Worcester and Robertson. Founded in 1963, Nuy Winery was built on only one cornerstone, quality. Nuy purposely runs a limited operation in order to ensure that every part of the winemaking process is done under a watchful, experienced eye.

Nuy’s cellar masters have gleaned experience from wine regions in France, Germany, Australia and America.  Each individual shows true commitment to producing only the finest wines.  Years of winemaking experience, untapped natural resources, time and patience bring out the best in every bottle of Nuy wine.

Nuy Koffiepit Pinotage 2019 – BF 7,5

Made in a popular South African style, this Pinotage shows off typical coffee and mocha aromas in the nose which carry through to the palate with smoky notes and rich berry flavours.

FOOD PAIRING

Enjoy on its own, chilled, or with beef, game and poultry dishes.

Price: R68

If you have any comments on the wines we featured in the three articles on light to medium-styled red wines, please let us know. And if you have any suggestions for reds in a similar style not featured, we’d like to hear.

Cheers, and enjoy the wonderful journey of discovery wine is!

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