(Stellenbosch, South Africa)
One of South Africa’s oldest wineries, Spier has roots dating back to 1692. This Pinotage from the country’s Western Cape region seems designed for outdoor summer gatherings. Bright red and medium-bodied in the glass, it opens with a rich cherry bouquet, then proceeds in a smoothly spicy fashion. Lovers of cinnamon, take note.
(But please, let it warm up and breathe. Between first opening our too-chilled bottle, and then tasting again a little over half an hour later, everything changed for the better with this wine.) Enjoy it with strong herb flavours, like goat cheese with thyme.
While it has enough character to work well with pistachio lamb-burgers or a Yotam Ottolenghi recipe with fennel, we tried it with chicken cacciatore and found it smooth enough not to overwhelm this milder-flavoured dish. A really enjoyable and versatile red for the deck parties of 2021. About $16/bottle.