South Africa's Swartland district is best known for sheep, wheat, and a bush that turns black after the rain - inspiration for the name.
But its wines are gaining new renown, too, thanks to charismatic winemakers such as Adi Badenhorst of A.A. Badenhorst.
I first tasted his affordable red blend called Secateurs (French for pruning shears) at the Mildred, where the full-flavored red fruit and tannins of shiraz, cinsault, carignan, and grenache were ideal for a roasted game bird.
I've since become infatuated with the Secateurs white, too, a chenin blanc that hints of honey on the nose but focuses like a laser beam of pithy lemon and flint, with a surprisingly full, lingering body.
- Craig LaBan
A.A. Badenhorst Secateurs 2011 Chenin Blanc Swartland (code 38986) and 2010 red blend (38988), $14.99 in select suburban State Stores. Also poured at the Mildred, Tashan, Savona, and Rouge. Winemaker will be at Zahav Friday for a special dinner, and at Tria's Wine School Saturday. Also available online at finewineandgoodspirits.com.