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MICHAEL GREEN’S WINE NOTES (article first published : 2004-03-17)

Wine producers tend to take themselves rather seriously, so it is refreshing to encounter some new wines that show humour as well as quality and value for money.

These are three wines in a range called Fat Ladies, presumably named after the celebrated fat ladies of a British television series. The wines come from Winecorp Private Label Services at Simondium, near Paarl, a company that markets nearly 20 different wines. Some of these wines are bought from other producers, some are made by Winecorp itself. Most of them are destined for the export market.

Now the company has made a cheerful assault on the local market with the Fat Ladies range, which is apparently designed to say “blah, blah, blah” to pretence. There is a Fat Ladies Sauvignon Blanc 2003, described by Winecorp as having “no mean aromas, no mean flavours, no stingy snobbery”. What it does have is 12 percent alcohol plus gooseberry and green pepper flavours, as befits a sauvignon blanc. Like the other wines in the range it comes with a screwtop, convenient and effective as a seal, and the price is right: about R23 a bottle.

Even more reasonably priced is a Fat Ladies Rose which comes at about R18. This has berry and fruit flavours, is off-dry and has a quite imposing 13,2 percent alcohol.

The fattest lady of all, so to speak, is a 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot blend, described by its maker as “voluptuously tempting and crammed with fun”. This is a big wine, 14,5 percent alcohol, with prominent berry, chocolate and coffee features. It would go well with meat and poultry dishes, though I must admit that I like red wine with everything. About R29, a moderate price for a wine of this quality.

The jolly mood is set by eye-catching labels, stylised fat ladies painted by the South African artist Ronald West.

This imaginative venture has, I think, every prospect of proving a great success on the local market. – Michael Green




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