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South African Cabernet Sauvignon Excelsior warms up winter nights

Bold Cab from South Africa
Bold Cab from South Africa
Diane Letulle

With winter still very much with us, we look for hearty red wines to warm us body and soul. Excelsior Cabernet Sauvignon is a satisfying, full bodied wine from South Africa. In a world of taste-alike Cabs, this one has a unique flavor profile in which the bold dark fruit flavors are wrapped around herbaceous elements for a more complex flavor profile. The wine is actually a blend of Cabernet with 10% Petit Vedot, for a more Bordeaux-like style.

The Excelsior vineyards, located in the Robertson appellation, have limestone-rich soils (as many of France’s greatest vineyards do), providing good drainage. The vines range in age from 4 to 23 years old. The 2012 vintage was a noteworthy one, with a long stretch of warm dry weather that allowed good ripening.

The Excelsior is a great wine for chilly winter nights with hearty fare like steak or stew. It is available from Warehouse Wine and Spirits for under $10, demonstrating why Wine Enthusiast denoted the 2011 vintage as a Best Buy.