- Published on Thursday, 05 July 2012 14:40
- Written by Richard Siddle
Security was tighter than normal for a London wine tasting, but as it was held at Lancaster House - a stone's throw from Buckingham Palace- and showcased the official selection of wines for the London Olympics I came prepared with ID.
I was there to taste the three wines specially created for the Olympics - a first in Olympic history. A Bibendum spokeswoman explained that it was crucial the wines all came from the same vintage as the Olympics, thus they had to go south where the Southern Hemisphere regions harvest earlier in the year (February-April).
I was surprised that out of the Southern Hemisphere, two wines were from Stellenbosch, South Africa and one from Brazil. Where was New Zealand, Australia, etc.?
While the Brazil red symbolized a nod to Rio 2016 Olympics, the choice to work with South Africa was a matter of logistics. Given their tight deadline, the spokeswoman explained South Africa made sense as it would take much less time to ship the wines and they went directly to the producers they know best - including Stellenrust Estate - to ensure the quality would be high.
Overall the wines are fresh, fruit-forward, and easy-drinking. The white is a dry, zesty South African 100% Chenin Blanc with an emphasis on white grapefruit flavours. The rose, a blend of 50% Pinotage, 35% Shiraz, 15% Merlot, is crisp with hints of strawberry, some green notes (maybe grapes picked a little too early?) and has just a slight hint of sweetness.
The red comes from Campanha, Brazil (close to the Uruguay border) and produced by Seival Estate which belongs to the famous Miolo family. In my opinion it's the most interesting out of the three. It is an unusual blend of Shiraz, Tempranillo and Gamay Nouveau that has a smooth, velvety feel, lots of red fruit with a touch of spice.
While they are quite basic wines, they are perfect for the task at hand: keeping the half a million Olympic venue visitors refreshed each day.
* Victoria Daskal heads up Slurp Vision at http://www.youtube.com/slurpvision