Stellenbosch is probably the most famous wine-producing region in South Africa. There are many fantastic grapes grown here, like delicious Sauvignon and Chenin Blancs, structured red Bordeaux varietals, and the indigenous Pinotage. Stellenbosch is also home to David Finlayson, and his winery David Finlayson Wines.
Today’s featured wine, “The Pepper Pot,” was born from David’s love of the wines from the Rhone Valley. David’s goal was to create his own version of a Cotes du Rhone, the popular southern Rhone blend. This South African styled Cotes du Rhone has become a customer favorite in our stores.
The Finlayson family is synonymous with modern era winemaking in the Western Cape region of South Africa. Three generations of Finlayson’s have played a shaping role in steering the Cape wine industry in the direction of the international wine world. Current leading Cape winemaker, David Finlayson was born into a winemaking family with his grandfather Dr. Maurice Finlayson, a well-known pathologist originally from Inverness in Scotland, having started the family wine business at Hartenberg farm in Koelenhof, Stellenbosch. It was here that his two sons learned to make wine. First, Walter who was trained as a stockman in Scotland and then Peter took turns at running the farm. Due to the large family occupying the farm, Walter decided to head off and create his own future. He worked at Blaauwklippen wines for 15 years where he twice won the coveted “Diners Club Winemaker of the Year” awards amongst many other prestigious prizes. While at Blaauwklippen, he purchased the farm Glen Carlou in Paarl. He set about developing the farm and was joined by son David in 1993.
While working on Glen Carlou, David built a tremendous resume by making wine at many prominent estates including Peter Lehmann in Australia, Te Mata in New Zealand and Chateau Margaux in Bordeaux. In 2003, Walter and David sold their shares in Glen Carlou but David stayed on as Managing Director. Meanwhile, David and his brother started acquiring small farms around Stellenbosch. They both believed that Stellenbosch is South Africa's finest winemaking region, and they needed to be there to make the best wines.
Today’s wine, "The Pepper Pot," pays homage to the cuisine of Africa by displaying an image on the label of a traditional ethnic cast iron cooking pot that is commonly found in many African households. A large part of the African population cooks over an open flame and all parts of the meal are cooked in the same pot. The food is typically spicy hence the name "Pepper Pot." The wine itself is a typical blend of Rhone Varietals like Syrah, Grenache, Carignan and Mourvèdre with some Tannat blended in. The wine tends to be deep in color with savory and spicy dark fruit flavors and very light tannins.
This is a great option for an inexpensive wine to enjoy with richer foods like stews, but it is bright and versatile enough to serve with grilled vegetables or chicken thighs. It is a fun red that is a pleasure to drink. Finlayson is on a roll making wines winning numerous awards around the globe, this is his entry level offering, and it is a tremendous value. If you have not tasted it in the past, this week is a good time to do so, especially while on sale!
90 Points - Tim Atkin
“Great value from David Finlayson, this is (almost) the South African equivalent of a Côtes du Rhône blend, marrying Syrah with 43% Mourvèdre, Tannat, Cinsault, Grenache and Carignan. Light, floral and spicy, with a hint of wood, red berry fruit and subtle reduction. Drink 2020-2023”
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