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Rare grapes

You can imagine my disappointment when I realised that we presently have nothing to offer you for International Prokupac Day.

The good news is that if you find yourself in Serbia on October 14, I am sure that there will be many opportunities to celebrate with their grape.

Out of the approximately 10,000 grape varieties that are able to produce wine, only a few dozen are generally used. Here are a few that do not make the top ten:

National Pinotage Day is on October 9, which you may remember as the day that John Lennon was born as well as his son Sean. I think of Black Sabbath and Ozzy Osbourne’s wife Sharon, as someone that was born on the exact same day happens to be married to me.

Pinotage is to South Africa what shiraz is to Australia or zinfandel to the USA. It is a cross between pinot noir and cinsault. It was back in 1925 when Abraham Perold, noticing how pinot noir struggled in the South African climate, decided to cross it with the cinsault grape that thrived there. Today it is the most widely planted grape in what is the twenty-fifth largest country in the world.

Our 2015 Simonsig Wine Estate Pinotage is from Stellenbosch, and it showcases vibrant sweet cherry and strawberry compote on the nose. The palate displays depth of fruit with layers of cherry and plum followed by a light dusting of cinnamon. This winery suggests pairing it with ostrich steak, springbok or kudo casserole but as these may be a tad difficult to find here, the message really is hearty, flavourful dishes. This was the very first wine released by the winery and at seven years of ageing this is a peak time to enjoy it. $36.65 (Stock #6150)

Calling it rare may be pushing my luck, but while in South Africa let me mention their most widely planted white wine grape, and that happens to be chenin blanc. This versatile grape that is grown worldwide is most associated with the Loire Valley in France. In South Africa, newly adopted winemaking technologies have helped a dedicated group of producers to bring the country's dry chenin blanc to new levels of quality.

The 2019 Fairvalley Chenin Blanc is an unoaked wine offering charming tropical fruit notes with a hint of pear flavour. Pleasantly rounded with pineapple/melon hints on the finish makes this a cheerful, easy drink for $19.90 a bottle and there certainly have been a few bottles in our recycle bags this summer. (Stock #7197)

Our 2018 Cederberg Chenin Blanc offers beautiful layers of melon, grapefruit and fleshy white pear. Four months lees contact ensures a mouth coating creaminess on the palate with a lively crisp acidity to finish off. High altitude vineyards make this chenin blanc truly unique; well-known critic Tim Atkin gave this vintage a score of 90/100. $23.65 (Stock #7180)

If you have been hankering for malvasia and moscatel galego grapes, then I suggest you try Graham’s #5 White Port. The bottle is quite stunning in design, and this style of port is growing in popularity as it is delicious as an aperitif chilled on its own or mixed with tonic water. It also pairs well with light desserts. $37 (Stock #3039)

You may consider it a little naughty to call it port as you might expect it to come from Portugal, but if you were to taste 2017 Bogle Petite Sirah Port the smooth and inviting lush layers of boysenberry jam and black raspberries along with French vanilla and chocolate mocha would captivate your nose. This is so good just to sip on its own and I would suggest placing the half-litre bottle in the fridge for half an hour before opening. Bogle, in Clarksburg California is known for this delicious, American port-styled fortified wine. $27.95 (Stock #8044)

Some of the oldest firms in the world are ones founded by the Brits in Portugal to produce port and many grape varieties are used, as their various attributes add to the whole. For instance, touriga nacional adds structure, touriga francesa rich tannins; tinta roriz raspberry and tinta barroca chocolate.

Graham’s, founded by a Scotsman in 1890, is one of the leaders and I would like to tell you about Graham’s 10 Year Old Tawny Port. Their suggested serving temperature of 55F to 58F makes it a fine way to finish dinner during these still warm evenings. It has a deep tawny and polished copper colour and complex aromas combined with hints of honey and figs. On the palate it offers rich mature fruit flavours, beautifully mellowed with a luscious and long finish.

It pairs perfectly with creamy or fruity desserts that it complements, such as apple pie or almond cake. Serve chilled in a reasonably sized port glass or white wine glass. It will stay fresh for four to six weeks once opened. $45.50 (Stock #3034)

Taylor’s 20-Year-Old Tawny Port is the most asked for of this age in the United States. This firm was founded in 1692 and they own the even older Croft, that has been in existence since 1588. Twenty years is an ideal time for development, and it is an intense amber tawny colour. The opulent and voluptuous nose exhibits complex spicy, jammy and nutty aromas, hints of orange flower and a fine oakiness coming from the long period of ageing in cask. The palate is full of very rich and concentrated flavour and it has a long mellow finish. This is also ideal at about 55F. $79.05 (Stock #3179)

This column is an advertorial for Burrows Lightbourn Ltd. Contact Michael Robinson at mrobinson@bll.bm. Burrows Lightbourn have stores in Hamilton (Front Street East, 295-1554) and Paget (Harbour Road, 236-0355). Visit www.wineonline.bm

Wine lovers will celebrate National Pinotage Day on October 14 (Photograph supplied)

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Published October 01, 2021 at 8:00 am (Updated October 01, 2021 at 8:00 am)

Rare grapes

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