The Best Big Wines for Big Game Vacations
A South African wine pairs exquisitely with a South African safari (Photo: Ewan/Flickr)
While on safari in South Africa, your days will look something like this: game drive, eat, drink, repeat. The most important part of the day is obviously the game drive, during which you will hopefully find South Africa’s Big Five (lion, elephant, leopard, rhinoceros, and buffalo). However, don’t overlook the other activities, especially the drinking. South Africa is a country known for its delicious wines, and between sundowners, dinner, high tea, downtime, and nightcaps, there will be plenty of opportunities while on safari to sample the country’s best vino.
To help you find the best South African wines to enjoy in the bush, we’ve consulted with Clive Vollenhoven, the sommelier at Madikwe Safari Lodge, to come up with The Big Five Wines. Here’s what you need to know about South Africa’s Big Five Wines and what Big Five animals they pair well with — in terms of viewing, not eating!
Elephant: Thelema Cabernet Sauvignon 2009
For the largest animal in South Africa, you must find a wine that is equally grand, which is why Clive recommends a Cabernet Sauvignon. Just as the elephant can overpower smaller animals, Cabernet Sauvignon has the power to overwhelm lighter foods. With strong flavors of ripe black currant and coffee, Thelema’s Cabernet Sauvignon has a strong and firm finish. Plus, the elephant is one of the most social animals out there, and after a good glass of this wine, you may be feeling just as social.
Rhinoceros: Knorhoek Cabernet Franc 2012