Orange River Wines and Guilt

Look, I’m really sorry I ran over that meerkat outside Keimoes. I saw the critter in the road, and he must have seen me for he did that cute meerkat thing of standing on its hind legs, checking out to see what this white, four-wheeled thing was heading in its direction. Upon registering that said object was a motor car travelling at 120km/h one would have thought the little bliksem would get back on all fours and head for safety.

But he did not ?+¦-+???+¦-ú?-¦?+¦-ú?+¦+¦ this must have been kamikaze meerkat, influenced by all the Oriental culture emanating from the Kakamas Sushi Bar. There he stood, not getting out of the way. I wanted to stop, honest. But couldn’t.

He died a sudden, surprised death.

Suffice to say that this put a bit of a damper on my visit to Upington, the Northern Cape’s wine-producing town where I sometimes go for business as well as to cleanse the dusty, guilt-ridden palate with refreshing wine.

Orange River Wine Cellars is the largest wine producer in the Southern Hemisphere, harvesting around 150,000 tonnes of grapes per annum. With yields running well into the 50 tonnes per hectare, the practise of flood irrigation and the fact that not one winemaker has a double barrel surname, Orange River Cellars is seldom taken seriously as a quality wine producer.

During the recent visit I made an effort of checking up on the 2010 vintages and can report, however, that the quality has taken tremendous strides over the past few years. Hell, if the meerkat had taken strides like these he’d still be alive.

In any event, Orange River Cellars’ two stalwart varieties are Colombard and Chenin Blanc. With six full-time viticulturalists, yields are managed to provide the wineries with top fruit, and it really is showing in the wine.

The 2010 Colombard has a crisp, mineral and maritime aura. On the nose it is oyster shell and herbs, while the sip is fresh and bracing with beautiful acid balance and a fruity, aromatic length. Ice cold, bone-dry it is gorgeous wine ?+¦-+???+¦-ú?-¦?+¦-ú?+¦+¦ the purity and cleanliness hits you like spray from the Augrabies Waterfall.

The 2010 Chenin has a bit more fruit to it. Also dry and crisp, hints of grapefruit and melon give it a fuller mouth-feel and surprising complexity. Delicious with seafood or some of that springbok carpaccio that goes down so well in Upington.

Now available throughout the country in trendy new packaging, Orange River Cellars is making a serious play for the wine market. And when it comes to over-delivering, these guys really know how.

,Even a teetotalling ?+¦-+???+¦-ú?-¦?+¦-ú?+¦+¦ and living – meerkat can see that.

-,,,,,,,,, Emile Joubert

Vineyards in the Orange River region.

2 thoughts on “Orange River Wines and Guilt

  1. Nice article… I recently discovered the Orange River valley wine growing region and was rather impressed with both Orange River Cellars and Bezalel Wine & Brandy Estate’s white and sweet wines… I would really love to hear your thoughts on the 2012 Bezalel Bon Blanc (Colombard) and 2008 Ruby Port, which we though were world class.

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