Wine of the Month
Note: Create joy, one sip at a time.
Featured Wine: Excelsior Cabernet Sauvignon
Grapes: 90% Cabernet 10% Petit Verdot
Production Zone: Robertson, South Africa
Although I’ve barely dipped my toe into exploring the vast world of Sicilian reds, and believe me, I have some treats instore for you, at this moment, I am really missing big parties, the kissing people hello, the chats with strangers (I love chats with strangers), therefore, I felt I needed to switch up my planned programming because, well, shit’s a little crazy right now; my social calendar has been cleared, my travel plans cancelled, my online shopping a little out of control (I never knew there were so many people selling 1970’s Levis). Even though no one can have a party at this moment, we should be planning for future parties, we should assume we are going to be okay, and soon. I am interrupting my very new and exciting Sicilian study to introduce you to a perfect party wine, Excelsior Cabernet Sauvignon.
The Excelsior winery does have an interesting history, which is mostly displayed on the label. The De Wet family has been making wine on this land since 1697 and for a time also raised champion thoroughbred horses, which I imagine made the soil quite fertile. What isn’t on the label is that they raised ostriches, for their plumes, for hats, but that ended around the same time as the invention of the motor car. Now they are strictly wine, and their many years of experience shows.
Excelsior Cabernet is full bodied and diverse. The nose is full of stone fruit, a touch of oak and a subtle earthiness. Once you have a sip, you are welcomed by the fruit along with a bit of smoky tobacco, soft oak and powerful ripe tannins. It has a long, softly acidic finish, which makes it lovely with or without food. I am always happy when a wine is great without food, as I adore having a glass while I cook, or in this scenario, (a party), while I wait for the food to be served. Excelsior pairs really well with hearty foods; a tomato based stew, steak, Portobello mushroom, cheeseburger and French fries. It also goes nicely with a semi-hard/hard cheese like ricotta along with bread or crackers. Just in case you are not the party type, I think this wine is great for a casual meet/first date. Grab a bottle of Excelsior, pick up some delicious burgers and fries, lay a blanket out in the grass or on your living room floor, create a picnic, and if you really want to impress, add a little jar with a few daisies and a splash of red or orange. For music, how about streaming KCRW’s lovely DJ Anne Litt, she usually does it up right and her voice is so soothing, it won’t corrupt your conversation. Or, depending on who you’re with, stream some Joe Frank, and just listen to his weird stories as you eat and drink. Honestly, that sounds like a dream come true. Joe Frank pairs well with almost anything.
Here is what I have to say about this wine, if I were shopping at a wine store/specialty shop, for myself or a small gathering, this wouldn’t be my first choice. But, if you ever buy wine at a chain grocery store, you will pay double or possibly triple for a wine as good as Excelsior. Even your wine snob friends will have a hard time snubbing this baby (tell them the price AFTER they’ve enjoyed it).
I hope you are all feeling well and staying sane. And I hope planning a large celebration will ease your heart and bring some cheer. But, if you need to do something this instant, well, you could buy a case or two of this wine now, and make little care packages for your neighbors. Just add hand sanitizer, a bottle of Excelsior, a roll of toilet paper, a note with some kind wishes…that is a great idea, if I do say so myself. It’s something to keep you busy, and, obviously, increase your popularity. No matter what you decide to do, all I ask is that you take care of yourself and of course, toast to health.