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Chakalaka: The Stuff of Dreams

Chakalaka is a South African hotpot which originated in the townships.  It`s a throw-it-all-in-the-pot tomatoey, spicy bean soup, a staple of the African peoples.  The word Chakalaka, originally of Zulu origin, itself implies togetherness. It is depicted by the image of friends and family sitting around a big pot of hot soup. Now, in 2021, I am delighted to introduce readers to a new interpretation:  a Chakalaka shared bottle of delicious South African wine! And what better than one with lots of grapes thrown into the mix, especially when your house name is Spice Route. The grapes, from Swartland bush-trained vines grown on shale and red clay, are low-yield and intensely fragrant. Indeed, Spice Route Chakalaka, Swartland 2016 is a joy to behold. A complex, full-bodied red wine made from 36% Mourvèdre, 22% Syrah, 13% Carignan, 11% Grenache, 9% Petite Syrah and 9% Tannat grapes. The final, unmistakable ingredient thrown in the pot, a dose of American and French oak to season. The result: A deep ruby red wine, with aromas of red, blue, and black fruits, spiced with clove, white pepper and vanilla. As the wine evolves in the glass, more aromas and flavours unfold, generous and complex. In the mouth the wine is intense, and velvet, brimming with vivid notes of berries and spices. The finished wine a delicious and harmonious sum of many parts. Spice Route takes the sharing sentiment one step further. They refer to their vinous Chakalaka as reflecting the Rainbow Nation itself, the essence of all that is good about cosmopolitan life in today`s South Africa. Its cultural diversity, its vibrancy, its energy.  And though this hotpot of humanity is fraught with problems still, they believe it represents the stuff of dreams. Nelson Mandela once said: “It always seems impossible, until it is done”. Well, a wine like Chakalaka, impossible even a decade ago, is done, and ready to go for just £18.99 per bottle. Cheers everyone!

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