Arabella Shiraz

March 8, 2007

Yet another post about a South African wine that I enjoy. Big surprise, eh?

But this is different. Really, it is. You don’t need to buy a vowel or three to pronounce the name. And there isn’t any of that earthy South African funkiness that turns so many people off (although I do love it). It’s delicious, with lots of mocha and black cherry jam on the nose. And the mouth too (repeatedly). The finish is long, glorious, packed with licorice and almost sinfully ripe. My long-repressed Catholicism emerged and made me feel like I had done something naughty after I downed my glass.

I loved it, so I poured myself another and raised my glass to toast the winemaking genius of the De Wet family.

The Arabella Shiraz ($11ish in private wine stores) sums up the potential of South African reds in a way that I haven’t experienced in years (not since a certain family friend returned from her stint at the High Commission there). It is the perfect blend of the Old World and the New World.

It shows more restraint than your typical Australian Shiraz, but has more zest for life and more personality that the average French Syrah. It doesn’t need food to bring it to perfection, but chances are good that it is a perfect match for whatever you might have on your plate. I swilled it back with some leftover saag paneer from A Taste of India and it was beyond perfect.

In short, this is the liquid equivalent of the last two and a half minutes of “Pale And Precious” by the Dukes of Stratosphear. It’s the world’s most perfect pop song captured in a bottle of wine. Rush out to your nearest private wine store for this one. You won’t find a better way to spend $11 legally.

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