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Graham Beck wins over skeptic

Published: Wed, October 9, 2013 @ 12:00 a.m.

If You Go...

What: Discovery Series Wine Tasting featuring Graham Beck Wines

Where: Station Square Ristorante, I-80 and Belmont Avenue, Liberty

When: Thursday, Oct. 17, at 6:30 p.m.

Reservations: Log on to www.myvalleyvino.com

One of the interesting things about my job as a wine director for Avalon Golf and Country Club is the steady flow of wine professionals who pass through my office on a weekly basis. These meetings are great opportunities for me to taste their wines and learn about how they are made. It is common to have visitors from California, Italy and France. I have even entertained visitors from Germany, Australia and Spain over the years.

I had never done a personal tasting with a South African winemaker until my recent sit-down with Graham Beck’s Pieter Ferreira.

Ferreira made the more than 2,000-mile trip to Ohio on a promotional tour for his wines. We tasted all three of his sparkling wines along with three others from his “still” portfolio. Ferreira faced an uphill challenge with our meeting. I have not found many South African wines that I like and have never believed some of the hype in the international wine press proclaiming them to be the next great wine producing nation.

I was completely impressed with the Graham Beck portfolio and Ferreira’s passion for and knowledge of his native terroir and the wines produced there. He identified some special challenges of growing grapes on the cape.

“Managing the sunshine is a vital component to developing elegance and finesse. Our summers are very warm, and we need to ripen our grapes in the shade. The geographic and climatic challenges are numerous.”

To “manage the sunshine,” Ferreira and his team of vineyard managers leave a large canopy of leaves growing above the grapes. This is a tactic not used by many wineries around the world, but it is essential in South Africa.

South Africa has numerous natural resources, including an incredible array of wildlife.

Sales of Graham Beck’s special “Game Reserve” wines benefit the preservation of South Africa’s endangered species. Ferreira is passionate about the commitment.

“Our potential to restore the natural harmony and balance of Mother Earth and to heal what was once broken inspired the ethos of this brand’s slogan: ‘Planet first; it’s in our nature.’‚ä”

Here’s a look at four wonderful Graham Beck wines.

NV Graham Beck Brut Rose

Delightful and delicious with bright berries and subtle cream on the finish. A blend of 50 percent Chardonnay and 50 percent Pinot Noir.

NV Graham Beck Demi Sec

This one is for those who like it a little sweeter. It has 5 times the residual content of the Brut but is well-balanced with fresh fruit and crisp acidity.

2011 Graham Beck Game Reserve Chenin Blanc

An amazingly refreshing, fruit-forward white. Made 100 percent unoaked to allow the crisp fruit to fully fill the palate.

2010 Graham Beck Game Reserve Cabernet

Dark fruit flavors of blackberry and plum mingle with dark chocolate and firm tannins. Aged 14 months in French and American oak.


Contact Brian at brian.fry@myvalleyvino.com or by visiting www.myvalleyvino.com.

On vindy.com: stay up to date with Brian’s tastes and travels 24/7.

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