Recently I attended a wine tasting at Sun Singer in Champaign, IL that featured the Graham Beck ‘The Game Reserve’ wine collection from South Africa. All were terrific, and it is my pleasure to recommend these two reds.

Graham Beck Wines was established in 1983 when Graham Beck purchased Madeba farm outside the Western Cape town of Robertson, in South Africa with a vision to establish a world-class winery in this region. The success of the Robertson winery has been extended to the second Graham Beck cellar in Franschhoek, one of the oldest wine-making regions in South Africa.

In November 2013, Graham Beck Wines partnered with the Wilderness Foundation, an internationally recognized organization dedicated to saving Africa’s wilderness and wildlife. Recognizing that the protection and sustainability of South Africa’s unique wilderness areas and natural heritage is dependent on socio-political and economic conditions within society, the Wilderness Foundation takes a holistic approach to implementing its mandate for conservation. For every bottle of Game Reserve Wines sold globally $3 Rand (appr. $0.21 US) is donated to the foundation.

I selected and purchased the following two of the four wines presented by Sun Singer:

Variety: Shiraz
Region: Stellenbosch, South Africa
Color: Medium Ruby
Body: Medium Plus
Tannins: Low
Acidity: Low
Alcohol: 14.75% ABV

Winemakers Notes: Displaying distinctive aromas of red berries, sweet spices and hints of white pepper. The well balanced palate is layered with mulberry and black cherry fruit complemented by a spicy freshness. This rich and ripe Shiraz is well structured with silky tannins, an appealing piquancy and a long, lingering finish. Serve with North African dishes, spicy Moroccan tagines or hearty casseroles.

Variety: Pinotage
Region: Paarl and Stellenbosch, South Africa
Color: Medium Ruby
Body: Full
Tannins: Medium
Acidity: Low
Alcohol: 13.9% ABV

Winemaker Notes:  A ‘proudly South African’ cultivar exhibiting aromas of ripe cherry, strawberries and plums with ripe red berry fruit and spices on the palate. This full structured and well balanced wine rewards with a juicy but elegant mouthfeel and silky soft tannins.

Both of these wines are lighter bodied than expected. The lower tannins make them so smooth in the mouth and long finish extends the flavors even more.  Please be sure to allow these wines to breathe for an hour or two for even more enjoyment.