Six of the best

Friday, 30 January, 2004
Jay Heale
An exploration into economy class drinking.

An exploration into economy class drinking. The Best in terms of value for money - not scaling the eights of vintage rubiness. I went to a discount warehouse and bought six bottles of their cheapest red wines. They ranged from R12.99 to R16.99. The object: to look for an cheap yet drinkable wine.

The choice was (in economic order): Willow Tree Dry Red R12.99 Perroquet Rouge 2001 (Pinotage & Ruby Cabernet) R13.99 Red Peaks 2000 (Coastal Region - Bovlei, Wellington) R14 Inkosi Pinotage (Overhex, Worcester) R15 Wandsbeck Ruby Cabernet 2003 (Robertson) R16.99 Windfall Pinotage 2001 (Retreat, Robertson) R16.99 Apparently the oldest, the Red Peaks 2000 seemed already past its sell-by date.

It was sour and unpleasant. The Inkosi and Windfall were both single cultivar Pinotage, with the Perroquet as a Pinotage blend. All these three were most welcome. Inkosi is strong flavoured, without subtlety but boldly drinkable. Windfall had an attractive nose, plenty of smooth taste and depth. The blending with Ruby Cabernet gave the Perroquet a lighter texture, without removing the pleasing Pinotage flavour.

Wandsbeck was all Ruby Cabernet: full and smooth with hints of tannin. Willow Tree got left behind a bit. It's tasty easy drinking and not particularly dry. My tasting panel agreed enthusiastically that the Windfall Pinotage was excellent vale for money. Why had I provided only one bottle? For lighter quaffability at an even more reasonable price, the Perroquet is hard to beat. Certainly four out of the six bottles were worth revisiting. At that price, why not?