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Ernie Els Signature 2008

Bordeaux Red Blends from South Africa
  • RP93
  • WS92
  • WE92
15.19% ABV
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15.19% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Plum red with a thin red rim. The aroma of the wine is fruit driven with combination of the black fruits plum, cherries and blackberries. The fruitcake aromas are rounded off by a subtle oak spice to the finish. There are also distinctive earthy undertones to this claret. The fruit from the aroma follows through onto a seductive mid-palate, supported by a silky mineral feel with hints of oak and backed by a sweet tannin finish.

Critical Acclaim

All Vintages
RP 93
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2008 Signature is a blend of 57% Cabernet Sauvignon, 28% Merlot, and 5% each of Malbec, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. It has a well-defined bouquet with blackberry, cassis, espresso and dried herbs. The palate is medium-bodied with very fine, supple tannins. It has impressive focus and delineation with crisp acidity and bright blackberry, orange zest and apricot on the finish. This is a great wine.
WS 92
Wine Spectator
This is rather toasty, exhibiting lots of dark cocoa and espresso up front, but with a very solid core of cassis and dark plum fruit for balance. Notes of singed bay mingle with smoky black tea on the finish, which smolders nicely. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Malbec and Cabernet Franc.
WE 92
Wine Enthusiast
This is a dark, dense and brooding Bordeaux-style blend, comprised of 57% Cabernet Sauvignon, 28% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot, 5% Malbec and 5% Cabernet Franc. Notes of cocoa, cigar tobacco and leather jazz up the black-fruit core of cassis, black plum and berry. The palate is full and gripping, with firm tannins that hang on tightly through the long and slightly smoky finish. Drink after decanting now, or enjoy through 2018.
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Ernie Els

Ernie Els

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Ernie Els, South Africa
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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.
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South Africa

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With an important wine renaissance is in full swing, impressive red and white bargains abound in South Africa. The country has a particularly long and rich history with winemaking, especially considering its status as part of the “New World.” In the mid-17th century, the lusciously sweet dessert wines of Constantia were highly prized by the European aristocracy. Since then, the South African wine industry has experienced some setbacks due to the phylloxera infestation of the late 1800s and political difficulties throughout the following century.

Today, however, South Africa is increasingly responsible for high-demand, high-quality wines—a blessing to put the country back on the international wine map. Wine production is mainly situated around Cape Town, where the climate is generally warm to hot. But the Benguela Current from Antarctica provides brisk ocean breezes necessary for steady ripening of grapes. Similarly, cooler, high-elevation vineyard sites throughout South Africa offer similar, favorable growing conditions.

South Africa’s wine zones are divided into region, then smaller districts and finally wards, but the country’s wine styles are differentiated more by grape variety than by region. Pinotage, a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsault, is the country’s “signature” grape, responsible for red-fruit-driven, spicy, earthy reds. When Pinotage is blended with other red varieties, like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah or Pinot Noir (all commonly vinified alone as well), it is often labeled as a “Cape Blend.” Chenin Blanc (locally known as “Steen”) dominates white wine production, with Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc following close behind.

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Bordeaux Blends

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One of the world’s most classic and popular styles of red wine, Bordeaux-inspired blends have spread from their homeland in France to nearly every corner of the New World, especially in California, Washington and Australia. Typically based on either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and supported by Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot, these are sometimes referred to in the US as “Meritage” blends. In Bordeaux itself, Cabernet Sauvignon dominates in wines from the Left Bank of the Gironde River, while the Right Bank focuses on Merlot. Often, blends from outside the region are classified as being inspired by one or the other.

In the Glass

Cabernet-based, Left-Bank-styled wines are typically more tannic and structured, while Merlot-based wines modeled after the Right Bank are softer and suppler. Cabernet Franc can add herbal notes, while Malbec and Petit Verdot contribute color and structure. Wines from Bordeaux lean towards a highly structured and earthy style whereas New World areas (as in the ones named above) tend to produce bold and fruit-forward blends. Either way, Bordeaux red blends generally have aromas and flavors of black currant, cedar, plum, graphite, and violet, with more red fruit flavors when Merlot makes up a high proportion of the blend.

Perfect Pairings

Since Bordeaux red blends are often quite structured and tannic, they pair best with hearty, flavorful and fatty meat dishes. Any type of steak makes for a classic pairing. Equally welcome with these wines would be beef brisket, pot roast, braised lamb or smoked duck.

Sommelier Secret

While the region of Bordeaux is limited to a select few approved grape varieties in specified percentages, the New World is free to experiment. Bordeaux blends in California may include equal amounts of Cabernet Franc and Malbec, for example. Occassionally a winemaker might add a small percentage of a non-Bordeaux variety, such as Syrah or Petite Sirah for a desired result.

RPT45031399_2008 Item# 121287