In South African Wine
on 10 Jan 14

My fandom for Dombeya Wines is no secret; the combination of restraint and power, balance and genuine Stellenbosch character, seduced me in 2010 and has held my interest ever since. When I found two Dombeya wines on the shelves at my old employer, Premium Wine and Spirits in Buffalo, New York, on a recent trip home (courtesy of Fat Barrel importing), I grabbed this bottle immediately and stashed it away.

Boulder Road Shiraz 2008

It did not disappoint. At first showing gunpowder and cinnamon, a richly purple sensuality emerged, soaring well past the wine's restrained 13.5% alcohol; rose petal and violet came next, mixed with ash, for an almost Gothic sensation. Fierce acidity follows, with only delicate tannin to hush it. This wine demands richness and fat, and a block of 2-year Wisconsin cheddar was a welcome respite.

This is the sort of wine I want to make. The depth is in the midpalate––you can't predict it from the nose, and the finish doesn't leave you overwhelmed. Instead, you want another bite of food, another sip, and some good conversation. I heard Kanonkop winemaker Abrie Beeslaar say in a GrapeRadio interview that wine should do two things: make you hungry, and make you thirsty, and this wine reminds me of that. There's plenty there to enjoy in rapturous contemplation, but at some point in a love affair you have to leave the apartment and go get some food and enjoy the scenery, and you'll need a companion who can join your reverie without demanding all of your attention.

Julia Burke reviews South African wine and writes about social justice, the South African wine industry, and her own adventures in winemaking.