Wine & Words Wednesday is here again, lets all put down our glasses (just for a second, I promise) and do a little happy dance. Right, pick them up again, have a sip and settle in for today’s instalment. I know you’re wondering what we have in store today and I promise I won’t disappoint. The wine I will be discussing today is Shut The Gate’s 2015 Single Vineyard Barbera. This wine was described as challenging and to be honest I like a challenge when it comes to wine so bring it on! First things first, the winery. Shut The Gate is located in the Clare Valley region (surprise, surprise, it’s no secret this is my favourite region) and is a small winery focusing on single side vineyards with unique flavour profiles. Their cellar door is a beautiful historic cottage with so much character and filled to the brim with boxes of wine and an abundance of local produce. Just after walking in the door I was immediately in love and feeling at home. Seriously, this place is my new favourite winery and a must visit if you are ever in the area. Barbara is an Italian red wine grape variety and Shut The Gate’s variety was described as tasting like medicine. A very delicious and unique medicine! To be truthful it is an interesting wine. One to be drunk slowly sipping over a meal, something along the lines as a crispy duck soba salad (cue mouth-watering). Something to be enjoyed, savoured, played with in your mouth and in all honesty I can’t wait to drink this one.
What am I pairing it with you ask? Well take a look at the stunning label, taking note of the beautiful illustration. Then in the top left hand corner is the inscription “for freedom”, no other novel (well duology) makes me think of freedom than The Power of One and Tandia by Bryce Courtenay. This freedom is double edged. The Power of One follows the story of Peekay and his emancipation from his personal struggles brought on by a traumatic boarding school upbringing. We watch as Peekay journeys through the trials of his life while working towards his goal of becoming welterweight champion of the world. His idea of setting himself free from the judge, his childhood tormentor. Peekay is a unique character who I keep coming back to, year after year, rereading these books. Tandia spends more time focusing on the steps towards the emancipation of the African people in a very racist South Africa. In these books I fell in love with the simplicity and eloquence of the African culture and their unique superstitions and ways. These books only give a small insight into the persecution and victimisation they endured but the spirit described is a beautiful thing and I find myself drawn completely into this world every time I read these books, which lets be honest is usually a yearly occurrence.
Take a Sunday drive through Clare to Shut The Gate, buy a bottle of this deliciously challenging Barbera and sit in the sunshine in their beautiful garden with a pile of local produce and let yourself be transported to South Africa in a very different time and place. I can assure you that you cannot go wrong with either choice, book or wine. Until next time my wine and book loving friends, I salute you with my (almost empty) glass of red.