A Taste of South Africa Wine in San Francisco
Lunch at the Four Seasons in San Francisco turned into a global fête as we sampled South African wine and sipped French champagne while having a lively discussion about wine, food, and travel. The panoramic city views were mesmerizing.
Sometime during lunch the discussion focused entirely on wine—South African wine in particular. South Africa has developed into a renown wine region. We sampled Protea, a new South African wine introduced to the United States courtesy of Terlato Wines and Anthonij Rupert Wines, that is named for Africa’s spectacular national flower, the King Protea. My hosts included Anthonij Rupert winemaker Dawie Botha and Pete Danko with Terlato.
Listening to the hosts describe South African geography and climate made me eager to hop on a plane to explore the region for myself. For today, I was content to assimilate all of the information they shared. Anthonij Rubert Winery is located in a valley tucked below a towering mountain. It makes a range of single varietal red wines, as well as blends. Protea is a grand experiment in introducing high quality, affordably priced wine in an iconic bottle.
The distinctive bottles were designed with intent for consumers to re-use them for decorative purposes long after the wine has been consumed. The bottles incorporate a paisley design highlighting the integral role South Africa played in global trade routes, namely with the East, all in a white, screen-printed design. In addition to their beauty, the Protea bottles are the ultimate in “green”; the inks are heavy-metal free, and the bottle is made to be re-used for floral displays, to keep olive oil, as a candle stick, or as a beverage container.
The white wine is an approachable yet dry 100-percent Chenin blanc perfect for upcoming warm weather as an alternative to Chardonnay or Sauvignon blanc. It perfectly complemented the seafood chowder containing crab and shrimp in a rich creamy base as well as halibut with capers and broccolini.
The red blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Shiraz is in a similarly distinctive bottle with a Cape Dutch architectural motif. It stood up well to the zesty tomato sauce and pasta entrée. Future vintages will vary slightly in their varietal ratios, making it slightly different each year.
For dessert the freshly baked Granny Smith apple pie and vanilla bean ice cream was delicious with the Chenin blanc. It was a lovely afternoon of wine, food, and interesting conversation. My next stop is Whole Foods to purchase Protea wine, perfect for summer barbeques and dinners and a bargain at $18.99 per bottle.