Ernie Els Signature 2006
Bordeaux Red Blends from South Africa
The 2006 Ernie Els Signature has a solid, supremely deep garnet colored core. Notes of luxurious chocolate, crème de cassis and roast beef shower a rich, titillating structure. This classy Bordeaux-style blend is prodigious powerful yet impeccably pure and sleek. The high cabernet franc component adds a fine, glossy texture and seamless length. Exotic and sensual in its youth, expect the plush fruit and structure to interlace and command further complexity with age.
The Wine Advocate - "A blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot and 5% each of Malbec, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc and matured for 20 months in French oak, the 2006 Ernie Els Signature almost scores a hole in one. It has a very sensual, harmonious bouquet with dark red fruits, mocha, cedar and a touch of tobacco, whilst the palate is beautifully balanced with silky smooth tannins. The 14.7% alcohol is barely noticeable on the finish with touches of orange rind enlivening the long finish. Allow this at least a couple of hours decanting to show its true potential. Superb. Drink now-2017."
Wine & Spirits - "Louis Strydom selects fruit for this blend (predominantly cabernet and merlot) from the northern slopes of the Helderberg Mountain. The elevation and sea breeze off the Atlantic make for concentrated fruit, tight and tense, that remains light and elegant on the palate. One taster said it shared the fruit quality of a ripe Cote de Nuits and the floral and meaty character of a Cote Rotie -a bit of a reach considering the blend lacks any pinot or syrah, but entirely spot-on texturally. The dark, earthy, mineral tannins indicate a long life ahead. Cellar for five years, or decant several hours before serving with roast squab."
Wine Spectator - "Very solid, with a tightly focused beam of winery black currant, plum and briar notes, laced with mouthwatering spice, black tea and roasted apple wood hints that help extend the finish. Racy acidity is well-buried. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Malbec and Cabernet Franc. Drink now through 2014. 336 cases imported."
Wine Enthusiast - "With only 336 cases imported, this Limited Edition red should be snagged up when seen. Herbal and fruity all at once with strong pepper and oregano aromas spicing up the black berry and cassis core. A touch of sweet cured meat, licorice, leather and roasted espresso appear on the finish, with assertive tannins filling the creamy mouth and lingering through the close. Drink now-2014."
International Wine Cellar - "Full, bright ruby-red. Tight, pure aromas of cassis, black cherry, mint and crushed rock. Creamy, sweet and deep but with a firm shell for aging. Powerful yet fine-grained wine with terrific medicinal reserve. Finishes with very fine, building tannins and a note of menthol. Lay this one down."
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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
About South AfricaView a map of South Africa wineries South AfricaRelated Links:
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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.
About South AfricaRelated Links:
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.