Saturday, April 07, 2007

Lindemans South African wine

Today while browsing throught the wine selection at our local big-box grocery store, I stumbled upon three wines from Lindemans that I'd not seen before. The kicker: these were South African wines, not Australian!

There were three varietals in the store: Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz and Chardonnay. I bought a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon to taste - I'll let you know how it is... (Judging by this review, they're uncomplicated, drink-now wines).

Lindemans has always been a solid bet - their Bin series wines are some of the first Aussie wines I tried (and liked). Lindemans is now part of the monolithic Foster's Group (which seems to own all the big Aussie wine brands) - so I'm not sure how I feel about them extending their reach to South Africa. (See this article about objections from Australian grape producers )

I guess it's good that the name recognition of Lindemans will help get more people to try South African wine, but there are some sad things...

Their South African wine labels are cute (featuring a springbok), but there is almost no information about the wine. For a $9 bottle, some info about the winery, region the grapes come from, winemaker, etc. would be nice. All the bottle indicates is that the wine comes from South Africa (they have a helpful map of Africa on the back of the bottle with South Africa highlighted). How hard would it be to say where in SA the wine comes from?

Another peeve is that there's also no "Wine & Spirits board" seal on the wine (which can indicate wine quality, similarly to the AoC and DOCG/IGT system in France and Italy). My initial suspicion was that wine from several wineries is bought and imported to Europe or the USA, where it is blended and bottled. However, this article has more details, and it turns out the wines come from Roodezandt Winery in Robertson (the name means Red Sand). To quote the article:

For South Africa he went to the Robertson region of the Western Cape and formed a partnership with Roodezandt Wines. He says South African wines mix a climate similar to Australia's with a bit of European winemaking influence. He bought three reds (merlot, shiraz, cabernet) from the 2005 vintage as finished wines and the '06 chardonnay straight from the tank after vintage.

Roodezandt winemaker Abe Rossouw is now referred to in Lindemans' advertising material as "our man in Africa".

All in all, I'm pleased to see more marketing muscle behind South African wine (which is still hard to find on the West Coast of the US), and wish Roodezandt good luck!

1 comment:

Mark said...

I drank this wine last week, and sadly it is very forgettable. Luckily it is not overtly offensive, but if you closed your eyes you would be hard-pressed to identify it as Cabernet.

It's soft, very ripe and almost sweet, and devoid of any tannins or staying power. Definitely not worth the price...