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South African Cabernet Sauvignon Excelsior warms up winter nights

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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.

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