WITH spring around the corner, days at the beach, concerts in parks, and other outdoor fun will soon be in order, prompting thoughts of what chilled summery wine to pack in the picnic basket or cooler box.
The friendly people at Van Loveren in Robertson have a great idea for both the budget- and eco-conscious – good value wines in 100% recyclable packaging that won't weigh down your backpack.
Perhaps a signal to the future of wine packaging, Tangled Tree comes in lightweight plastic bottles that are 80% lighter than glass and have about a quarter of the carbon footprint of glass bottle manufacturing. The labels are "tree free" and the packaging cartons recyclable too.
Wine-maker Malcolm Human says while the packaging may be simple, he set out to make full-flavoured wines that over deliver on price.
The recommended retail price is R29.95 and the Tangled Trees are widely available. A neat special spotted at Pick n Pay – where they sell for R34.95 – pay R179.95 for a boxed set of the range with an extra, almost free, bottle of the Tropical Sauvignon Blanc thrown in.
The Sauvignon Blanc gets a Platter's thumbs-up for being "exceptionally drinkable and well-priced" and 2½ stars for good, everyday drinking – the most stars awarded in the range. It's a typically tropical Sauvignon Blanc, fruity with hints of gooseberry and green pepper, and a happy summer socialising wine.
The Butterscotch Chardonnay has some burnt caramel and vanilla tones. It's an uncomplicated Chardonnay that would be good with pork, rich fish and creamy dishes.
Moscato Rosé is a candyfloss and strawberries pink, definitely one for the sweet-toothed. Sweet by name but not by nature, the Chocolate Cabernet Sauvignon is smooth and lingering, with just a hint of dark chocolate alongside blackberries and fruit. It's a very drinkable, sociable wine for the summer braai or Sunday roast.
The Spicy Shiraz is exactly that, medium-bodied, deep red and a fairly typical Shiraz. It may just be perception, but this one did have a hint of plastic in the taste, and it would be interesting to taste these blind, without knowing they'd come out of a plastic bottle.
All in all, an ideal and simple toast to summery days to come!