- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Rood, Groot Constantia, Constantia, South Africa, 2002, $12

Red wines made with a combination of grape varieties long have been a South African staple, a harmonious whole being deemed superior to the individual parts. When made with grapes grown near Cape Town on the southern coast, these are sometimes called “Cape blends.” Some very good ones are now being imported to the United States.

Rood from Groot Constantia, one of South Africa’s oldest wineries, is an excellent example of the blended Cape style. With 60 percent cabernet sauvignon, it has plenty of backbone and power, while 20 percent merlot softens the structure, and 20 percent pinotage adds a smoky, roasted coffee character. The wine has bright plum and red berry flavors, with a dusty, bacon-scented undertone.

Medium-bodied and very versatile at the dinner table, this wine is sophisticated enough to serve with leg of lamb at an elegant dinner party but also priced low enough to have with pizza or burgers. It’s a great value. (Imported by 57 Main Street.)

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