Old spice hints at African relish

Spice Route, chenin blanc 2013, Swartland
Spice Route, chenin blanc 2013, Swartland
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I’ve just returned from a trip to the Cape’s wine lands and the region causing the biggest stir is Swartland.

North of Cape Town, it’s an area with a wonderful array of old vine vineyards and is making more-than-interesting wines with chenin blanc and red Rhône varieties in particular.

The winery sparking this excitement is Spice Route and I spent a morning there tasting some of its fabulous offerings.

Spice Route Chakalaka 2011 (sawinesonline.co.uk £13.79/Hermitage Cellars £12.35) is named after an African spicy relish. This is a Rhône blend of six varieties based on syrah, with dark fruits, spices, and smokey notes. It’s as interesting as it sounds. Try with hearty autumn food.

Spice Route Grenache 2012 (winedirect.co.uk £11.50) is more elegant than expected. There are red fruits, savoury notes and a lively fresh finish.

Spice Route, Chenin Blanc 2013, Swartland (sawinesonline.co.uk £10.99 or winedirect.co.uk £10.95) is made from a single old vine vineyard, picked at different times for freshness and riper fruit and is a delicious chenin blanc.

With tropical fruits, citrus and honey notes followed by a little spicy oak, a creamy palate and fresh apple acidity, try with scallops or fish cakes.