• Wine is an expensive habit. Believe me – I’d know. As time goes by, the amount I’m prepared to spend on a bottle of wine seems to inch slowly upwards. Two years ago I’d stick to bottles priced at R50. Today, I usually spend R80, although a couple of times a month I’ll spend up to R200. It’s not because I believe that expensive wines are “better” – I just like to explore wine. And if you only stick to the R50 price bracket, you start running out of options pretty quickly. That said, we’re at the end of the month, and sometimes we need a few cheaper wine options to see us through to payday – without having to resort to Crackling.

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    Darling Cellars Chenin Blanc

    This is a ridiculously great quality wine for a R32-odd price tag – even the WineWizard gives it a 79 point score and a 5/5* value for money rating. It’s zippy, has an ample body and is bursting with a mixture of tropical, citrus and melon flavours.

    Boland Cellars Sixty Forty

    Another fresh number that’s a well-balanced blend of tropical and fruit flavours. So named due to the respective proportions of Chenin Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc it’s made up of.

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    Place in the Sun Chardonnay

    I’ve only recently discovered this label from Zonnebloem. It’s a Fair Trade range, which means all the farm workers have received profit share and have been treated fairly. I’m not normally one to go for unwooded Chardonnays, but this one is vibrant, punchy with acid and has a wonderful blend of lemon, vanilla, creamy, caramel flavours.

    Arabella Pink Panacea

    Every wine I’ve tasted from Arabella is pretty decent for a R40 wine, but it’s the Pink Panacea (which won a Rose Rocks award) that really stands out from the bunch. With an exquisite pale rose colour, the wine is light bodied without being insipid. Just watch out – a bottle of this stuff disappears at twice the usual rate.

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    Nederberg Baronne

    This Cab Shiraz blend is a full bodied and incredibly smooth and well-balanced wine that’s a wonderful go-to option for those colder nights. Bright fruit flavours make this one of SA’s most popular wines.

    Raka Anchorage

    Raka is fast becoming another of my firm favourites – if only Stanford were a little closer to Cape Town so that frequent visits were more feasible. Their Anchorage wine is a highly accessible and easy drinking Bordeaux blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc (check out my video for more info on Bordeaux blends).

    To see Caroline in action and learn more about wine, check out her YouTube channel The Glass and Barrel.

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