Ernie Els Big Easy Red Blend 2010
Other Red Blends from South Africa
The Big Easy 2010 is richer, fuller and more bombastic than previous vintages. An alluring kaleidoscope of black fruits, Christmas cake, liquorice and cinnamon tempt your nose, leading to a dense and full-bodied palate. Abound with spice from the dominant Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon adds punchy tannins and a robust structure. Floral and savory notes from Mourvedre, Cinsaut and Vigonier all contribute to the exotic rhythm of the Big Easy. Finally rounded-off by the gentle, sweet-fruited finish from a dash of comforting Grenache. Delicious now, it will swing easy for another 5 years.
Blend: 60% Shiraz, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Mourvèdre, 6% Grenache, 5% Cinsaut, 3% Viognier
The Wine Advocate - "The 2010 Big Easy (Red) is a blend of 67% Shiraz, 16% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Cinsault, 4% Mourvedre, 4% Grenache and 3% Viognier. It has a succulent bouquet of dark cherries, mulberry, dark plum and honey that are very well defined. The palate is sweet and rounded on the entry with a slight bittersweet edge. There are copious layers of dark plum-infused fruit laced with tangerine and honey notes. The finish is nicely defined with ample freshness. This is very fine and great value to boot."
Ernie Els Winery
As a leading South African ambassador and one of the most recognizable faces in the world of sports, Ernie Els has long demonstrated a passion for excellence. Focus, discipline and commitment have led to his extraordinary golf success. These same qualities are evident in Ernie Els Wines, a quest to produce premium wine that was born in 1999. Els naturally chose Stellenbosch, South Africa's most storied wine region, to produce his wines and brought on the award-winning Louis Strydom to oversee winemaking. In 2000, the first grapes were crushed for the inaugural vintage of Ernie Els Signature. In 2004, a 178-acre property on the slopes of Helderberg Mountain was chosen as the home of Ernie Els Wines. View all Ernie Els Wines
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A long history of growing grapes and making wine, but less of a history on exporting it, and even lesser on the quality aspect. At the turn of the century (1900, that is), a surplus of wine in South Africa created a hierarchy of cooperatives, the biggest and best known being KWV. This organization seemed to favor quantity over quality and had most control over wines and vineyards until the late 1980's. Now, with a bit more competition, quality is coming around. Yet, South African wine was not even seen in American wine stores until the mid-1990's – the trade embargo on the country for their racial apartheid laws kept South African wine out of the US. When apartheid fell, so did the embargo, and SA bottles began showing up on US shelves.
White wine has always been the cash crop of South Africa, with much of it distilled to make brandy. More white than red is planted, much of it the Steen variety – known elsewhere in the world as Chenin Blanc. Good producers are making top quality dry wines from this grape. Another grape gaining some raves is Sauvignon Blanc, producing whites that are dry and crisp, yet rounder than many of its Southern Hemisphere counterparts. For reds, the top grapes are Syrah/Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon (& blends) and Pinotage. Cabernet Sauvignon and Bordeaux blends was once the favorite and most-produced, but Shiraz is taking over as wineries crank out high quality wines from the variety. Pinotage, which used to be a grape only your mother could love, has improved dramatically and is often as delicious as it is distinctive. The most popular regions of the country include Stellenbosch and Paarl.
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Notable FactsWhite wine has always been the cash crop of South Africa, with much of it distilled to make brandy. More white than red is planted, the majority of it is Steen – known elsewhere in the world as Chenin Blanc. Good producers are making top quality dry wines from this grape. Another grape the critics rave aboutSauvignon Blanc, producing whites that are dry and crisp, yet rounder than many of its Southern Hemisphere counterparts. For reds, the top grapes are Syrah/Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon (& blends) and Pinotage. Cabernet Sauvignon and Bordeaux blends were once the favorite and most-produced, but Shiraz is taking over as wineries crank out high quality wines from the variety. Pinotage, a man-made crossing between Pinot Noir and Cinsault, has improved dramatically and is often as delicious as it is distinctive. In describing red wines in South Africa, smoky and meaty are two terms that are common. Regionally, the most popular wine-making areas include Stellenbosch and Paarl.
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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Fruity
- Red wines that are more fruit-forward and lighter in tannin and body.
Smooth & Supple
- Medium bodied reds that go down easy, with smooth tannins and supple fruit.
Earthy & Spicy
- Wines where earthy and/or spicy dominate the flavors – typically medium to full body.
Big & Bold
- Full bodied wines that have concentrated fruit and are higher in alcohol and/or tannins. Some need age.
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