With A Touch Of South Africa

Posted on: 25 March 2008 by Gareth Hargreaves

There's the turkey of course, and the Christmas pudding, the mince pies and the nibbles for drinks. All relatively straight forward but what about the wine? There is such a choice now, it is hard to know where to begin - and it is certainly worth giving it a little thought in advance.

With warm summer sunshine a distant memory, why not warm up Christmas with a taste from sunshine-soaked South Africa - Arniston Bay.

Inspired by rugged, unspoilt coastline with its glorious sunsets, soft, white-sand beaches and sun-drenched earth, the Arniston Bay range embodies the warmth and hospitality of South Africa's southernmost province - the Cape.

Versatile, easy to drink yet offering complex flavours, the three Arniston Bay wines are something a little special. Providing something for everyone for Christmas, each is the creation of Anton du Toit, one of South Africa's most talented wine makers.

Anton knows the vineyards of the Cape, South Africa's wine region, intimately. He is constantly on the look out for new areas and new varieties to plant. His love of the soil and his pleasure in wine, coupled with this innovative approach to winemaking has lead to some of the most exciting developments in the Cape's wine industry. The Arniston Bay range is just one example.

Arniston Bay Chenin Blanc Chardonnay really took the UK wine industry by storm when it was launched in 1997. It is an innovative, well-balanced blend of two lively but traditional grape varieties to create a wine with outstanding characteristics. "Very much a millennium style wine - versatile and pleasurable, served chilled with or without food" comments Anton.

Ideal for parties, with nibbles, poultry or seafood. for those who want a lighter, longer drink, just add a splash of soda (to make a longer drink). The success of the white Arniston Bay Chardonnay was quickly followed by Arniston Bay Ruby Cabernet Merlot.

"Another blend, this smooth warm wine has a taste reminiscent of crushed, dark berries with a hint of tannin, mellowed by the plumminess of Merlot grapes to produce an infinitely drinkable wine" continues Anton. He adds "it is a delicious partner for a traditional Christmas meal, steak or a warming winter casserole."

Finally, capturing the warmth and soft colours of the setting sun is Arniston Bay Rosé. Another versatile wine, this rosé yields primary aromas of strawberry and violet which burst onto the palette giving a long, well-integrated finish. Anton du Toit explains: "This rose is an excellent wine to serve chilled on its own, as an aperitif or with seafood dishes, salads and cocktail snacks - to offer an alternative to heavy Christmas fayre."

Arnsiton Bay wines have been introduced to the UK by Vinfruco, one of South Africa's foremost wine exporters. Breaking with many traditional wine conventions, the wines come in attractively modern bottles and are available from branches of Tesco (and other leading supermarkets) priced at £4.49 (RSP) each.

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