There are so many varieties of red wine in South Africa that one can be spoiled for choice. I find I go through stages of preferring one type to another – much depends on the weather, whether or not I am enjoying it with food, or if I am sipping it on my own whilst enjoying the last light of the day. Shiraz has been a recent favourite.

The name Shiraz is interchangeable with Syrah – much has been written about the similarities and differences between these names. According to Winemag [link below], these particular red grapes express themselves differently depending on the climate, soil and regional style, although certain characteristics remain the same. Those characteristics include their boldness and full-bodied flavour, with aromatic notes of smoke, black fruit and pepper spice. I cannot vouch for the aromatic notes, but do enjoy a full-bodied wine when the occasion calls for one.

Given how warm it gets here in the summer, it is common practice to chill red wine for at least fifteen minutes before opening. This ensures that the wine won’t taste warm and a little dull. The good thing about Shiraz too is that, if capped or corked after opening and kept in the ‘fridge, the taste remains for a couple of days – so there is no need to quaff it all at once.

A particularly delicious choice recently was Groote Post Darling Hills Shiraz 2019 – a delightful and unexpected gift. Apart from the robust flavour, I like its dark ruby-red to purple hue.

Wine labels have always intrigued me and so I looked up the name of this winery – there is a fascinating history behind it in the link below, which is well worth reading. Wine-making has a long history in this country and Groote Post is no exception, being an historic 18th century farm on the West Coast of the Cape Province – an area famous too for its annual display of spring flowers.  An intriguing quote In 1808 this was Groene Kloof (now known as Mamre) where many of the vegetables required to supply the fleets of the Dutch East India Company were grown. Here, too, grazing was necessary to support the great herds of cattle and flocks of sheep owned by the Honourable Company provides an interesting link with the VOC [Vereenigde Oost Indische Compagnie – Dutch East India Company] on the label. This is engraved on an historic slave bell with the date 1706 – a nod to the past.

Groote Post (biggest post) was a large guard station on the property overlooking grazing areas to prevent cattle-raiding, which was prevalent at the time. A homestead was later built with the same name.

Interesting further reading: