South Africa has been among the hardest hit by Covid. Wine producers around the globe are reeling from the effects of the pandemic, but few countries have suffered as immensely as South Africa. It's the only country to have imposed a ban on sales of alcohol during lockdown - the ban was only lifted at the end of August - and for five weeks, exports of South African wine were banned as well. Allied to border closures (the South African wine industry has historically relied heavily on tourism), industry estimates suggest 21,000 jobs in the industry, many of them from people who need employment most, have already been lost. The IMF predicts South Africa's economy will shrink 8% this year, its steepest contraction since the end of apartheid.
Some 290,000 people are directly employed in the country's wine industry. They, and their colleagues in the hospitality industry, have taken to social media: the #JobsSaveLives and the #SaveSAWine campaign appeals to wine drinkers outside South Africa to support the industry by buying and drinking South African wine.
You can play your part! We have two excellent wines from the Western Cape; branded Percheron in celebration of the re-introduction of the Percheron shire horse to work the vineyards. Percheron is a breed of French heavy horse traditionally used when many of these prized old plots were first established - they are now enjoying a resurgence in South Africa as their hooves are gentler to the soil and surrounding vines.
The red (a Shiraz/Mourvèdre blend with a drop of Viognier) suggests summer pudding, Chinese 5 spice and crushed raspberries with a latent creaminess. There is red fruit on the palate which is at once vibrant and dark. It's a great match for rich and savoury red meat dishes such as salt-marsh lamb, or a gutsy bean casserole.
The white (Chenin Blanc/Viognier) is vibrant and aromatic with delicious subtle perfumed aromas with white peach and hints of jasmine on the nose. On the palate it has tight, white, fleshy stone fruit and fresh apricot flavours. Bright acidity and minerality helps to deliver a delicious flavoursome and characteristic wine. Drink with grilled prawns with plenty of garlic and chilli, or whole lemon sole fried in butter!