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Spice Route Wines moving forward

It was good to catch up with wine maker Charl du Plessis of Spice Route Wines at the London Wine Trade Fair.

20130521_144851From the sound of things, the Spice Route brand has been going from strength to strength, in South Africa as well as in the UK and Europe. This is on the back of some strong scores from international commentators, as well as the attention and brand personality that Charles Back’s new Spice Route destination in Paarl has created. Spice Route has stepped out of the shadow of Back’s more widely known Fairview brand and by creating a destination to interact with the range, more locals are discovering the wines at the Paarl cellar door – even though they are made in the Swartland.

Spice Route was one of the first top quality producers in the Swartland, with Eben Sadie its first wine maker. But it has not been strongly associated with the groundswell of interest in the region over the past few years. The Swartland is trendy and anti-cool all at the same time. This has been driven by some excellent quality wines but also by wine makers such as Sadie and Adi Badenhorst. The Spice Route brand and the personalities behind it are not as outspoken nor the wines perceived to be as innovative. But the quality is high and consistent and with the launch of the Chakalaka a few years ago they have a calling card wine at a excellent price.

Charl was chatting about some upcoming streamlining and focus within the range of wines, which are made using grapes from the Spice Route vineyards in the Swartland as well as in Darling. He’s got some interesting stuff to work with including Tannat and Petite Sirah. He is going to be putting together a few more bespoke bottlings and more experimental styles too.

Of course there was also time for a taste and the 2012 Chenin Blanc was awesome. Great balance, not too much wood. Delicious and excellent value at around £10 retail.

He also poured the 2010 Chakalaka red blend, which has now sold out. There is a limited volume of the 2011 which is going to be released in the next few months, so if you can get hold of a few bottles, do so! It is ridiculous value at under £12 and packed with character. The wine has a nice clean feel to it on the finish, to go with the bolder fruit flavours. Delicious on its own but I would drink it with food every time.

Spice Route wines are available to consumers through SA Wines Online or to the trade through Seckford Agencies.

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