Yesterday the launch of the Place in the Sun range of wines from producer-wholesaler Distell. Grapes are sourced from a Devon Valley farmer who is Fair Trade certified, and hence the name (the Fair Trade movement was born “with the aim to establish trustful partnerships between producers, workers, traders and consumers and to achieve a way of trading that is fair and focused on sustainable development” according to its South African website).
There are four wines in the range, a Sauvignon Blanc 2011 (with an approximate retail price of R34.99) and a Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Shiraz, all from the 2010 vintage and all set to sell at R44.99. The wines were made by Deon Boshoff, cellarmaster at Distell’s Adam Tas facility, where Zonnebloem is alsomade.
According to Sune van der Merwe, Distell’s marketing head of the wines category for Southern Africa, Place in the Sun was launched to slot in above the company’s two entry-level brands of Obikwa and Two Oceans and below Zonnebloem itself. She sees the range’s direct competitors as Arabella and Porcupine Ridge and says initial volumes allocated to the local market are 25 000 cases of each variety.
As for what’s in the bottle, don’t expect anything too complicated. The Sauvignon Blanc comes across as very primary and light-bodied and my feeling is that there are many examples of Chenin Blanc at a similar price point that offer more excitement. The reds are more convincing as might be expected given the Stellenbosch origin of the grapes, and come across as fruit-forward and accessible – Boshoff advises that they spent six months on staves, the intention being to reduce this to only three months in future vintages. Overall, the Cabernet Sauvignon was my favourite on account of having the best fruit concentration and I found it hard to think of a better example at the price.