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Column: Three South African wines to fight inflation

Vancouver International Wine Festival returns in May.
Protea Wines
Enjoy Protea Chenin Blanc, Rosé, and Cabernet Sauvignon

Welcome to April!

This week we recommend three inflation-fighting South African wines that will stretch your wine budget and deliver excellent value! All are under the Protea label.

Protea is a flowering plant common in South Africa and it happens to be the national flower. It appears on South African birth certificates and passports as well as on the South African 5 Rand coin. And now it’s on bottles of popular wines.

First up, the Protea 2020 Chenin Blanc ($14.99; 88 points, Very Good). Chenin Blanc is the most widely planted grape variety at the Cape.

The grapes were selected from bushvine vineyards on the Riebeeksrivier property in the Swartland and from the dryland bushvines from the Paardeberg area.

Light lemon in appearance the Chenin has a generous floral nose mixed with nectarine and melon. It’s tangy and very crisp which balances the quince and mango fruit. The wine spent two months on its lees in stainless steel tanks to provide a creamy texture with a dry citrus and tropical fruit finish.

Delicious with pulled pork, coleslaw, and crispy peppered shoestring chips I recently prepared.

Next, the colourful Protea 2020 Rosé ($14.99; 88 points, Very Good) looks like it was from Provence with its distinctive orange-pink hue. Suave aromas and flavours of strawberry, flowers, watermelon and citrus greet your senses. There’s excellent crispness with a long dry tangerine finish.

The rosé paired very well with the Indian meal of curried beef. Raita, and naan bread I served last weekend. Chill for a couple of hours and leave at room temperature for 10 minutes for maximum enjoyment.

My third choice is the Protea 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon ($14.99; 89 points, Very Good). Aromas of black fruit, vanilla, tobacco, barbecued meat, and smoke along with graphite are in this generous bouquet. On the palate there’s rich voluptuous flavours of cassis and black cherry in a toasted oak medium body with smooth tannins. Ready to enjoy now, especially with the beef curry I paired it with.

All three of today’s Protea wines are available at BCL Stores, including all Richmond outlets.

Here’s a reminder that the Vancouver International Wine Festival returns from May 16 to 22 after a two-year absence. As usual, the festival takes place at the Vancouver Convention Centre and other venues around the city.

Tickets for the International Festival Tastings (May 19 to 21) and the Super Pass are now on sale.

Tickets for public events including seminars, winery dinners, minglers, and lunches will go on sale Wednesday, April 6 at 9:30 a.m. Regretfully, there will not be a Vintners Brunch this year. Visit the Vancouver International Wine Festival website for more details and updates.