Lifestyle

World Cup Wines

at the Wine Rack

With Christopher Reckord

Thursday, June 10, 2010    

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Tomorrow is the start of the 19th staging of the FIFA World Cup Competition. This year, the world's greatest show will be held in South Africa, which at one point in its history produced one of the world's greatest wines. Thirty-two teams will be competing for the Cup this year, of which 20 are from wine-producing countries.

Only wine producers win!

Over the past 18 tournaments only seven nations have won the title, and all of them are wine-producing countries. Brazil, the third largest wine producer in South America, has won the World Cup a record five times, and they are the only team to have played in every tournament. Italy, the current champions and the world's largest producer of wines, have won four titles, and Germany, eighth largest wine-producing country in the world, are next with three titles. The other former champions are Uruguay, winners of the inaugural tournament and home of wines made from the Tannat grape, Argentina, the largest wine producer in South America and the fifth largest in the world, with two titles each, England (small, but expanding wine producer) and France - the second largest wine producer in the world, with one title each.


South African wine industry

The first vineyards were planted in South Africa in the 1650s, and grapes and wine were provided to sailors to prevent scurvy. In 1685, the Constantia Estate was established in a valley facing False Bay by the Governor of the Cape, Simon van der Stel, whose Vin de Constance soon acquired a good reputation. But it was Hendrik Cloete who bought the homestead in 1778 and took it to the next level. The wine they produced became a favourite of European kings and emperors such as Frederick the Great and Napoleon, who had it ordered from his exile on St Helena. In 1866 the phylloxera epidemic reached South Africa, causing widespread devastation to the industry and vineyards that would take more than 20 years to recover.

For much of the 20th century, the wine industry of South Africa received very little attention on the worldwide stage. Its isolation was further deepened by boycotts of South African products in protest against the country's system of Apartheid. It wasn't until Apartheid was ended, and the world's export market opened up, that South African wines began to be seen again. With foreign direct investment and the presence of flying winemakers, international influences and focus on well-known varieties such as Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay began to shine here. South Africa is making great wine now.

South African Wines in Jamaica

If you won't be able to attend the World Cup, you can still sample a taste of South African wines while watching the games here in Jamaica. A few South African wines are readily available and in fact one of these producers, Nederburg, has signed an agreement with FIFA to make and market a number of wines for this year's World Cup event. Nederburg's Romanian winemaker Razvan Macici developed a limited-edition hat-trick of wines -- a Cabernet Sauvignon, a Sauvignon Blanc and a Rosé.

Nederburg South Africa Limited Edition twenty10 Sauvignon Blanc 2009 has vibrant gooseberry aromas with some herbaceous nuances, and a hint of ripe citrus on the nose. Distinctive gooseberry and herbaceous aromas support a balanced palate with a lingering pleasant finish.

Nederburg South Africa Limited Edition twenty10 Dry Rosé 2009 has a nose of Strawberries and ripe berries with dried herbs. On the palate this wine is clean, fruity and refreshing with a good acidity.

Nederburg South Africa Limited Edition twenty10 Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 has aromas of blackberries, currants and dark violets with nuances of oak in the background. It is mouth-filling, rich and full with ripe fruit, coffee, cigar box and delicate oak spice flavours, firm tannins and a lingering aftertaste.

Other South African wines also available on the market are from Two Oceans, Delhiem, Bains Way and Rustenburg.

Chris Reckord is an independent wine consultant who operates DeVine Wine Services (Wine and Spirits Edu-tainment) with his wife. Chris & Kerri are also part owners of Jamaica's first and only wine bar -Bin 26 Wine Bar. Please send your questions and comments to creckord@gmail.com. Follow us on http://twitter.com/DeVineWines

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