The wines are the stars... not me!

The wines are the stars... not me!

Daniel Sowden, a Partner at BHP Accountants in York, enjoys his 15 minutes of fame before sampling some planet-friendly, hippie-chic wine

What did you do this weekend? I helped save the planet! It’s not often you can say that, especially when referring to drinking fine wine. It is no secret that my drink of choice usually comes in pint glasses and has a frothy head. However, how could I turn down an offer from BQ Magazine to sample and review some fine wines? Well, the answer is I didn’t and after sampling the chosen wines I’m certainly pleased with my decision.

The experience started one sunny afternoon in August. I met Peter, the photographer for BQ Magazine, at The Star Inn The City, a wonderful riverside location in central York, for the photo.

After the photos were complete, and when I had eventually managed to convince a group of tourists enjoying lunch in the wonderful surroundings that I was not, in fact, famous and that no, they didn’t need my autograph, it was home to sample the wines that had been delivered.

StormhockI was provided with two wines, both produced by Origin Wines. They are a relatively young company whose small but dedicated team pride themselves on being one of the more innovative wine producers from South Africa, more specifically the Stellenbosch region in the Western Cape. Interestingly, both wines are made from organic grapes. This basically means that during the growing cycle the grapes are not exposed to artificial chemical fertilisers, pesticides, fungicides and herbicides and it also typically means that preservatives are not used during the wine-making process.

I started with the red, a Stormhoek 2013 Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon. The first thing that grabs your attention is the colour, a magnificent deep ruby red that is very pleasing on the eye. The aroma is a delicious combination of spice with a little smoke. The Cabernet Sauvignon provides much of the framework in this blend, but where it lacks in the mid-palate, the Shiraz takes over and gives the wine a rich raspberry and blackcurrant flavour, with a fine peppery undertone for good measure.  

The wine has been kept in old French oak barrels, which really does enhance the sensation and give an even deeper taste. It’s a medium bodied wine, therefore it was great on its own. However, it was an even better accompaniment for the steak which was on that evening’s menu.

The white was a Stormhoek 2011 Chardonnay Viognier. This is gloriously golden in appearance and it gives off a gorgeous array of fresh floral and fruity aromas. The citrus undertones of the Viognier are reined in beautifully by the velvety tones of the Chardonnay. This wine was very nice on its own, which is how I enjoyed it. However, I should imagine it would be a great accompaniment to a nice risotto, or chicken based dish.

The final thing to comment on is the label.  Apart from being the most colourful I’ve seen on any bottle of wine, there is a definite underlying hippie theme. On the reverse are messages such as Go Green, Love, Smell The Roses, Be True, Enjoy, Save The Planet Or Go Home – if only it were that easy then surely we would all be doing it? But why not, go on give it (them) a try…..

The wines provided were Stormhoek 2013 Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon £8.29 and Stormhoek 2011 Chardonnay Viognier £8.29.