Ed had the pleasure today of attending the local launch of Lindemans South Africa line of wines, put on at the Willow on Wascana restaurant by Lindemans Canadian representative, Fosters Wine Group Canada.
Lindemans's stated goal in expanding into South Africa is to bring South Africa wines to the attention of a broader swath of the wine-buying public, who are already familiar with Lindeman wines as being well-made, affordable and approachable.
All three terms certainly apply to the wines on tap (well, they weren't literally on tap, being in bottles, not kegs, but you know what we mean) at the Willow this afternoon.
Lindemans South Africa Chardonnay, Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon were on display, and Ed liked all three of them. They were also well-matched with appetizers from the Willow.
The Chardonnay is friendly and fruit-forward, not oaky at all, with the usual tropical fruits (Ed particularly picked up on banana) and a nice mouth feel--a bit of that Chardonnay butteriness, but not the almost cloying oiliness of some Chardonnays. The wine was refreshing by itself and just as good with the appetizer, lemon-drop chicken, the lemon taste of the chicken somehow bringing out the matching tartness in the wine.
The Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon were both what Ed would typify as "drink-now wines"--fruity, friendly, un-intimidating, but well-made and well-balanced. The Cab had lots of berry flavours (strawberry in particular) and a good varietal nature to it: there was no doubt it was a Cab. It was good to drink on its own and also went well with coffee-roasted boar rib, should you happen to have some lying around.
The Shiraz featured chocolate and licorice flavours, and, again, lots of up-front fruit. It seemed a bit dead on the nose, but Ed still rated it as probably his favorite of the three wines, with the Chardonnay second and the Cabernet third. However, he liked them all and wouldn't hesitate to buy a bottle next time something food-friendly and ready-to-drink is called for, or to order a bottle in a restaurant.
Also on display today were the Pink and Yellow sparkling wines from Yellowglen, which are supposed to be the best-selling sparkling wines in Australia. They're both pleasant and perfectly reasonable $14.97 alternatives to more expensive bubbly, although our favorite sparkler from Australia continues to be the E & E Black Pepper Sparkling Shiraz. We previously tasted them at the opening of the Assiniboia Gallery's new home, and enjoyed them there. Ed thinks he likes the Pink a bit more than the Yellow, possibly, suggested the pourer, because of a hint of pinot noirishness about it.
Not a dud among the lot, today, and all worthy of future purchase.