Travel is great fun and so is wine. Combining the two can be twice the fun. As we planned our trip to Africa, we knew we would be tasting many wines from South Africa. In fact we extended our stay to do just that. But, we also wanted to try and find wine from at least one of the other countries we would be visiting.
We did a bit of research online and found Bushman Rock Estate in Zimbabwe. As far as we know, it is the only remaining winery operating in Zimbabwe. You can read the history of the winery on this blog post by Wine-explorers, which is where we first read about the winery. Their wine is produced from estate fruit and is truly Zimbabwean. Just what we wanted.
We contacted Sanction, our Overseas Adventure Travel trip leader, and asked him if it was possible to check the availability of Bushman Rock Estate wine. Though not available in local markets, it was possible to purchase a 6-bottle case directly from the winery. That worked for us and Sanction made it happen.
A few days later Sanction emailed us to let us know the wine had been delivered to him in Victoria Falls from Harare. It was possible for us to take the wine with us to our first safari camp, Baobab Safari Lodge. We were so excited.
Because of weight restrictions, and our subsequent flight through Kasane airport on our way to the Okavango Delta, we would not be able to take the wine with us to our next destination. We would need to consume it during our three day stay at Baobab Lodge…no problem! As I recall, we and our fellow travelers finished the wine by the second evening.
Over the two evenings we drank the Bushman Rock Estate wine with a variety of food. Typically our dinner began with soup and was followed by a buffet dinner and dessert. The buffet always included several vegetable dishes, pasta or polenta, chicken, fish or beef prepared with a variety of spices, often curries. The combinations were unusual and delicious.
So, what did we think of the wine? Following is a summary of comments by our fellow travelers combined with our own notes. It was a fun exercise and everyone seemed to enjoy tasting these unique wines from Zimbabwe.
2009 Bushman Rock Estate Dry White — citrus aromas and flavors with hints of almond extract in the background gives this light white blend a unique and pleasing flavor. The finish is clean, quick and it is easy to sip by itself or to enjoy with lighter fare.
This is the perfect wine to enjoy after a day spent bouncing around in a safari vehicle taking pictures. It’s light, refreshing and interesting. Just the thing to revive you after a hard day on safari.
Charlevale — complex nose with herbaceous back notes. Citrus and mineral flavors with great acidity and a clean, quick finish. It’s light in the mouth with a hint of smoke for complexity. Very good food wine.
The Charlevale is a blend of Semillion, Sauvignon Blanc and Muscadelle that was fermented in 3rd and 4th use French oak barriques. This wine demonstrates just how interesting blended wines can be, with each grape variety lending its own flavors to the mix.
2008 Alicante Bouschet2008 Alicante Bouschet — beautiful light ruby in the glass with distinctive herbal and red fruit aromas. Tart red berry and pomegranate flavors combine with minerality and herbal flavors which echo the aromas in the glass. The finish is tart with very smooth tannins. This is a nice warm weather red wine, light in the mouth with plenty of flavor. Very unique.
We were pleased to be able to taste this unusual varietal wine for the first time. Alicante Bouschet is unusual because its flesh is red along with its skin. Most red grapes are white-fleshed. Known as teinturier, these red-fleshed grapes are generally used as blending grapes to add color and tannins.
This Alicante Bouschet was lighter in color than we expected, more like a Pinot Noir, and also less tannic than some we’ve read about. Never mind though, it was interesting to taste and very enjoyable. Now we must look for more to try so we can compare the flavors.
2010 Merlot2010 Merlot — ruby red in the glass with familiar aromas of plums and blueberries. Ripe red fruit and blackberry flavors combine with smooth tannins, nice acidity and a medium body to produce a very pleasing glass of wine. Not too tannic, very easy to like. Characteristic of the variety.
This wine offered pleasant and familiar flavors. It offers up all of the dark fruit flavor I expect in a Merlot, but with a lighter body and smooth tannins. A delightful summer red wine.
We paid $36 for the 6-bottle case of wine, definitely a bargain. This group of wines offered extremely good value and were all really delicious. As a group they were lighter bodied, not over-oaked and not too ripe. They all had plenty of flavor and were well-balanced wines. What a find!
At this point we were just on happiness overload. We were in Botswana enjoying spectacular game drives every day and then were able to come back to the lodge and enjoy these delightful wines. Really, it does not get any better than that.
Of course, our little wine tasting would not have been possible without Sanction. Thank you to Sanction for making contact with Bushman Rock Estate and arranging for the wine to be shipped. This is but one example of the many things you did to make our African safari the trip of a lifetime. You rock!
From : Pull that cork
15 September 2014