Value-priced South African wines

One major wine-growing area of the world I have not written about in this column is South Africa. The main reason I have not written about their wines is that most of their quality wines are priced too high for the purposes of this column or the quality is so poor that they are not worth writing about regardless of price. But recently Molly Steinbach of The Old Blinking Light Wine Shop (OBL) brought Rachel Bennett, sales manager for Marquee Selections wine importers and Simon Back, of Backsberg Estate Cellars in South Africa to Taos.

Together, along with Chef Ky Quintanilla, they staged a South African wine-tasting at the wine shop and a delicious wine dinner at Lambert’s. Even though an internationally known, but unnamed, shipping company botched the shipment of several of the featured wines (they sent the shipment to Alabama instead of Albuquerque) the event was very successful and we tasted some of the Backsberg wines as intended.

Molly has subsequently reordered those wines, some of which I will review later, and they should be in the shop in the next couple of weeks. The South African wine industry began more than 300 years ago as Dutch colonists first vinified the wild grapes they found on the southwestern tip of the African continent (primarily what is now the nine wine growing areas arrayed around Cape Town) and very soon after, from vines they imported mostly from France.