Perhaps the Best Value Wine You’ve Never Heard Of


Excelsior Vineyard - South Africa

Like many of you, we’re always on the hunt for a great wine at a great price. And it seems like everyone these days is trying to promote their value wine. In the sea of choices out there, how are you supposed to know what wine offers an exceptional value at a great price. Well, we think we’ve stumble across a wine that is sure to turn heads.

Last Friday, I attend a lunch with Peter de Wet from Excelsior wines, one of the oldest wineries in South Africa. Excelsior was established in 1859 and produces some of the finest value wines in the region. Here’s what we tried:

Excelsior ’08 Chardonnay [Wine Enthusiast: 86 Points] – In a world of highly oaked Chardonnays, this Chardonnay stands out as one of the more balanced offerings available at a value level. With a rich aroma of peach and orange blossoms, the palate delivers crisp green apple balanced with a smooth a creamy finish. While crisp and clean, this wine has a balanced acidity that keeps the finish from falling off. Lightly oaked, this wine is a perfect wine match for seafood.

Excelsior ’07 Paddock Shiraz [2009 Michelangelo Silver Award Winner] – While Australia is what one thinks about when you think about Shiraz, South African Shiraz is something to be reckoned with. If Australian Shiraz often seems over-extracted and one dimensional, South African Shiraz may be just the thing. Understated and extremely elegant, South Africa seems to have more in common with the Southern Rhone than its Southern Hemisphere counterpart. Excelsior’s Shiraz is a great example. Filled with deep, ripe black cherries and smoked meat, the Paddock Shiraz leads to a lengthy finish marked with gentle hints of vanilla and new oak.

Excelsior ’07 Cabernet Sauvignon [2009 Michelangelo Silver Award Winner and Wine Advocate: 86 Points] – The 2007 Cabernet is the wine that put Excelsior on the map, as it is the best selling Cabernet in South Africa. Filled with ripe blackcurrants and rich plum, the soft tannins offer a complex balance between rich fruit, toasted oak, and earth notes. Because of water stress, the vines, some of which are 20 years old or better, produce deeply concentrated berries, which in turn produce the deep color, as well as the rich fruit components.

What is most amazing about these wines is while they boast beautiful fruit characteristics, they do not break the bank at a mind-blowing $6.98 per bottle. [Yes, you read that right, $6.98 per bottle! We were a bit shocked ourselves…]
At this point the 2007 Cabernet is in stock, with the other two wines close behind. If you are looking for an exceptional value in wine, something that will astound friends and guests, this is your wine. It will seem like you’ve spent upwards of $20 on this bottle, but only you will know the truth.