A Wine for Tonight: 2007 Spice Route Chakalaka

By Kori ~ March 18th, 2010.

Would you like a quick suggestion for a good wine to drink tonight (or this weekend) that won’t break your budget and is widely available? Many of our readers have said this is something they would like, so here is this week’s selection, the 2007 Spice Route Chakalaka from the Swartland region of South Africa.

Our selection criteria include:

  • A very good Quality rating of >=3.5 stars (out of 5)
  • A price tag of <=$15
  • Must be widely available

Spice Route Winery was founded in 1997 by Charles Back, owner/vintner of Fairview Winery in South Africa. That year, Back bought a farm called Klein Amoskuil near Malmesbury in the Swartland region northwest of Paarl. His goal was to expand his vineyard sources beyond those he already had at Fairview. He immediately went to work transforming the site by removing underperforming grape varieties and planting new varieties that he thought would flourish given the site’s composition and climate. The winery’s name pays homage to those who braved the “Cape of Storms” to bring exotic Eastern spices to Western Europe along the so-called Spice Route.

“This is a new wine in our range and I am very excited about the style and character that it is showing already. The vineyards that we used are providing expressive fruit and this wine is laden with spice and deep fruit, with a medium bodied appeal. It is very approachable now, but should be drinking at its best around 2012.” –Winemaker Charl du Plessis

Mom (LaGayle) and Dad (John) had the pleasure to meet Charles Back on their trip to South Africa last year. If you haven’t already, be sure to check out the video interview in which Charles answers their questions on a wide variety of topics and explains why he believes that South African wine is not truly New World nor Old World but somewhere in-between because of the unique geology of South Africa’s winemaking regions.

2007 Spice Route Chakalaka (Swartland, South Africa): 57% Shiraz, 20% Grenache, 17% Mourvedre, 6% Carignan. Ruby red with aromas of smoke, cedar, and vanilla. Plums come through on the palate. Medium-bodied, medium tannins, and a long, crisp finish. Slightly bitter but softens with food.
Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Wine Exchange (California), $14.99; Available elsewhere, $17 to $22

Filed under: A Wine for Tonight, Five-Bangs For Your Buck Wines, Red Wine, South African Wine, Wines Under $15, Wines Under $20, Wines Under $25

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