Speciality Wines

Archaeologists have traced the production of wine back to the Stone Age where Palaeolithic humans drank the juice of naturally fermented grapes from pouches made of dried animal skin. The many years that have passed since the first human tasted wine have not been idle and this drink now comes in a huge variety with names as exotic as their flavours. The turn of the 21st Century has not seen innovations in wine peter out and has rather seen this classic beverage become even more diverse and tantalising.

The Types of Speciality Wines on Offer

Speciality wines are becoming increasingly popular thanks to more modern techniques and ever adventurous winemakers. The term "speciality wine" is usually used to describe a special type of wine like port, sherry, ice wine or sake, but can also refer to a limited edition wine or a premium wine from a specific vintage. From dessert wines with a hint of blueberry to a wine that complements your star sign, each bottle offers something new and exciting and guarantees that wines will never become boring.

•Biodynamic wine – This is a type of wine that is grown in the most holistic way possible and farmers try to create a harmonious relationship between the soil, plants and animals. Many of these wines are even planted according to the right astrological sign or phase of the moon, giving them a spiritual beginning. The amount of tender loving care and thought that goes into each of these speciality wines can be tasted with each and every sip.

•Diet Wine – This is one wine that offers you twice the amount of value for your money. A double concentrated formula, this is in essence two bottles of wine packed into one. The idea is to dilute the wine with water or soda to create a refreshing and low fat drink that is perfect and economical for any occasion.

•Low-sulphite wine – Sulphite is a substance that occurs naturally in wine and then more is usually added to prolong the life of the beverage by preventing oxidation and spoilage. Wines with a lower sulphite count are much lighter and easier to drink. Ideal for people with allergies, these wines ensure that everyone who wants to can enjoy the vintage of their choice.

•Chocolate Wine – This port like beverage is a delectable way to end of a meal. Usually made with rich chocolate, plum and raisin tones, this unique combination blends beautifully for a beverage that could be a dessert all on its own. Delicious poured over ice cream or simply sipped o nits own, this speciality wine makes for a great end to any day.

•Habernero Wine – This is a wine with a bit of a spicy kick to it. It can even be used to marinade your favourite meat or just simply as a unique twist to a dinner party. Made from the fruity habernero pepper, this wine has intriguing flavours and is guaranteed to be a talking point among guests and connoisseurs alike.

•Straw Wine – This unique type of wine is the brainchild of the winemakers of Cape Town’s Hazendal Wine Estate. Made from 30 year old Chenin Blanc bushvines, the grapes are lovingly handpicked and laid out to dry on beds of rich, sweet-smelling straw. The wine is then matured in French oak barrels for a full year. The result is a sweet dessert wine with varying flavours of honey, citrus, melons and vanilla. Often compared to a delightful spoonful of caramel pudding, this wine is a rare treat that received 4 and half stars from John Platter in 2007.

•Make you own – If there aren’t any speciality wines out there that meet your tastes, many wine farms now even allow you to make your own. They offer the fruit and other ingredients and you can combine exactly the right ingredients to make the perfect speciality wine for you. The wine making experts at each farm guide you through the process and then take over to monitor the fermentation process. After six weeks you can return to help bottle, cork and label you own creation to take home the most specialised wine of them all.

Fun Ideas for Speciality Wines

With so many amazing wines on offer, it may seem strange to risk trying out a less established and renowned speciality type. But there are in fact many benefits and fun things that you can do with speciality wines. Many speciality wines come with option of including your own personalised label. This makes them great gifts as not only can they be tailored to an individual’s unique tastes, but they can also carry a personal message to make that gift extra special.

also make great corporate gifts as their labels can be customised to the brand and even the taste can be chosen to reflect the brand’s image. For example, a vibrant, modern company could choose to send out personalised bottles of a zesty, unusually fruity wine to represent their funky persona. Speciality wines are also the easiest and most cost effective way to add something extra to an event or dinner party. Everyone appreciates a good wine, but the same conventional blends each time can become dull and uninspiring. Serving guests with a surprising chilli wine or a chocolate aperitif will ensure that you are the talking point of your social circle for weeks to come.

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About The Author, Wheeler, Kelly
About the AuthorHazendal Wine Estate is nestled at the foothills of the Bottelary Hills in the Western Cape’s renowned wine making region of Stellenbosch. This estate was recently bought by entrepreneur Dr Mark Voloshin and is committed to uplifting the area and its people as well as keeping the wine industry alive with new and fresh ideas. www.hazendal.co.za