Offer available until Monday, 1/30/2023, at 6 pm or as inventory lasts.
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Hi everyone –
First off, MANY THANKS for the great response to last week’s non-alcoholic offer of the Muri products. That was a fun one to put together, and it represents something important: that the driving force for many of us is a combination of flavor complexity and story. Wine has this in spades and it was fun to showcase other beverages that do as well.
This week’s offer is clear in intention. We’re all on the hunt for INFLATION FIGHTER wines that way over-deliver based on their price point. If you’re like me, you’re watching those dollars carefully ($7.99 for a dozen eggs??) and shifting priorities a bit. One priority that sticks in our house is having wine at the ready, but lately I’m craving more of the ‘cheap and cheerful’ bottles and leaving the gems in the cellar for future occasions.
What we have here are two of my favorite buy-in-buck-and-pop-on-a-whim wines on the market today, especially for cold weather season.
Old vines, hand harvesting, sustainable farming, traditional winemaking, balanced blending, food friendliness, family ownership, land stewardship, dry farming … all for well under $15 a bottle and even getting under $10 a bottle through our special offer.
INFLATION FIGHTER: THE CURATOR from South Africa
These wines have been in the market for awhile, but I’m seeing them less and less in the retail shops. Why? When you’re down in the sub-$15 category, you’re in a spot which has seen a decrease in overall sales nationwide as a category for the last 5 years. You read that right. The price category with the most growth by sales percentage is the $15-25 range.
Add to that: it’s a category that is not only shrinking but is also incredibly cutthroat, which in the end always means the big producers flood the market and push out honest wines. (Never forget: the largest 15 wineries in America produce over 87% of the wine. Specifically, the top largest 15 make 278,588,000 cases of the total US production of 320,000,000 (source). It’s beyond “the gorilla in the room” … it’s like fighting Godzilla.)
Decreasing sales as a category + more competition from the big bully producers = little incentive for most wine shops to carry it.
So I’ll be honest, I kinda forgot about this wine. Then I was reminded of it when I contacted the wholesaler with a simple question: if I was searching for super affordable, correctly farmed, complex and delicious wine, what would you suggest?
About The Curator
From the importer:
Cousins Hein and Adi Badenhorst restored the cellar on the farm that was last used in the 1930’s to make natural wines in the traditional manner. The vineyards are made up of very old bush-vines planted with Chenin Blanc (average 40 year old vines), Cinsault (average 45 years), and Grenache (average 58 years). The vines are un-irrigated and farmed as biologically as possible. The vineyards are planted on East, North and South facing slopes bringing tremendous variety to the fruit.https://broadbent.com/our-producers/aa-badenhorst-family-wines/
And how do they come up with the final blend in the wines? This is great …
The curator is a range of dynamic wines that are selected after the vintage each year. The grapes are grown in the Swartland region on the West Coast of Southern Africa. The vineyards are mostly bushvines growing in granite and slate soils, sourced from a number of traditional farmers.
Six months after fermentation the wine is blended after a series of intense tastings and dinners with the blend options.
The blend that is finished first at one of these dinners is chosen as the final blend.
I love it. A true democracy. Whichever blend is finished first at the dinner table is deemed the champion and is the blend for that year.
The Curator White Blend
Oh my I love this wine. Especially in the winter.
Don’t get me wrong. I love a great grassy Sauvignon Blanc (and I have a new one for you in the next couple weeks). And I also love a textured and balanced Chardonnay (all Chardonnays benefit from oak, in my opinion. The key is to have a wine that can handle it and to treat oak as a powerful spice where a little goes a long way).
But in the middle? Something with acidity and texture? Easy to find at $20+ (Soave Classico, Godello, Albariño, blah blah blah.) But damn near impossible at under $15 a bottle.
This is a blend of Chenin Blanc (majority grape, and one of the great grapes of South Africa where they often call it Steen), Chardonnay, Viognier, Colombard, and Rousanne. Aromas of perfect high-season red apple meets pear skin and a touch of apricot (hello, Viognier) and a whisper of the telltale Chenin aroma: lanolin/sheep’s wool.
On the palate it’s beautifully medium bodied with firm acids, meaning it’s idea for almost anything you’re cooking. My perfect combo with this wine is tater tot hot dish (I miss my mom so much!).
The Curator Red Blend
Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz (together making 87% of the blend), plus Cinsault and Grenache.
That, my friends, is a jazz quartet.
The Cab and Shiraz are the drums and the bass. Without those you don’t have a foundation. And in this wine the drummer is rock solid, keeping the beat, and throwing a few frills in there at just the right time. The bass is holding down the team, keeping them all in check, and pulling on the reins to keep the time and the mood just right. Then you have the Cinsault, which is the high-toned sax player that is impatient and keeps wanting the spotlight, but is held back by the bass and drums until, suddenly, he bursts forward and zips out a solo like you wouldn’t believe.
The Grenache? It’s like Ray Manzarek of The Doors. The intellectual, with a cigarette burning at the end of the keyboard, engrossed in what it can add to the party. Even a 1% addition can make a difference.
The South African Sustainability Code
This is something important, and a topic most wine consumers don’t know much about.
South Africa is the arguably the leader worldwide when it comes to sustainable and organic vine farming, combined with tracking of the wines and a guarantee of provenance.
That little sustainability label on the neck of 95% of South African wine bottles? It’s important.
It’s a guarantee of contents and vintage. No fooling people. It’s a guarantee of adherence to their code of sustainability, which is improved every year. And it’s a system that can trace any given wine backwards to its particular place of origin.
This is all about pop-on-a-whim wines at a price that is pretty unbelievable. I don’t expect the low prices on these wines to make it through the end of 2023. At some point they have to go up. But in the meantime, stock up. You will not regret it.
Sommelier and founder/owner of Twin Cities Wine Education
This offer is now closed.