2018 Kottabos, Grenache/Syrah, Boschkloof, South Africa – £22.50, Great Western Wine, 01225-322810, greatwesternwine.co.uk
I have not come across the wines from Kottabos before and, at a massive tasting with hundreds of wines on the go, it was the striking labels that drew me to them. Was this red, along with its white sibling, 2018 Kottabos Chenin Blanc (£22.50), yet another suite of wines that favour design over substance? Not a bit of it. In a way, the red and the white are mirror images of each other. The red is earthy, savoury, balanced and crunchy. It is not a typical Cape red in that it is leaner, more fragrant and kindlier on the palate. It is a baby, but it is already drinking well. Shaped like a Beaujolais or a Loire cabernet franc, this is the sort of wine that you can glug down with sophisticated street food – farmers’ market kebabs, wraps, tacos, burgers, hotdogs and the like.
The white wine from Kottabos does exactly the same job and this time it is the lack of fat, oily fruit that makes it so alluring. South African chenin blanc can often seem exotically charged and rather hefty on the palate, which puts the brakes on your enjoyment of the wine. Kottabos is restrained, floral, edgy and it has a degree of traction on the palate. It would slice through cheesy dishes, spice and also heat. It is the perfect partner wine to the wonderful red. Modern, relevant, cutting edge and also delicious – all boxes ticked.
Matthew Jukes is a winner of the International Wine & Spirit Competition’s Communicator of the Year (matthewjukes.com)