The iYellow Wine Cave was home to an epic wine tasting event this week, with notable iconic House of Mandela winemakers (and offspring of the civil rights activist and former President of South Africa Nelson Mandela) Dr. Makaziwe (Maki) Mandela and her daughter Tukwini Mandela. While the SAQ has been selling their Rose wine for some time, Ontario is the next market for House of Mandela, with their refreshing Sauvignon Blanc hitting the market soon, for an easy to drink price of $12.85 a bottle.
While admittedly the Mandela’s are new to the wine game, they’ve partnered up with vineyards that have the best terroir in their lands, which are known worldwide for producing some of the best grapes. Grapes for the 2012 vintage were grown in Citrusdal, a co-op in the Western Cape’s citrus producing area and DuToitskloof, another co-op in Western Breede River Valley. All their grapes are 100% traceable and fair trade, a remarkable trait for these new wine producers.
Currently only the Sauvignon Blanc is LCBO bound, but the plan is to introduce themselves into the market with this easy drinking summertime white wine, and then slowly bring in the rest of the Thembu lineup, including three reds and three whites- a Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinotage for the reds, and a Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc covering the whites. Fellow cave members were led on a personal tour of the Sauvignon Blanc, Rose, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and the Pinotage, all described so eloquently by Tukwini herself, with notes on her Grandfather and connections to the brand with their family heritage. The line, named after their ancestral family that includes being descendants of a royal bloodline that goes back to the 18th century when their namesake for their wine vintage Thembu tribe was part of the royal kingdom for the Eastern Cape.
I’m eager to get my hands on the Pinotage, a very approachable red that would pair well with the upcoming BBQ season. The rose was unlike any other rose I’ve had before, with a merlot base and no sweetness at all, it was a refreshing change from the usual summer whites. Many thanks to Dr. Maki and Tukwini for the personal and memorable wine tasting, and for iYellow for hosting such a fabulous event. Look for their Sauvignon Blanc on your LC shelves soon, or hit up the SAQ on your next trip East for their tasty Rose.