The Curator Red 2012 is an unique blend, 61% Shiraz/Syrah, 20% Cinsault, 6% Mourvedre, 6% Grenache, 3% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Tinto Barroca (when grown in Portugal this is one of the grapes used for Port) and 1% Carignan sourced from multiple vineyards owned by 4 contract growers in the Swartland growing region on the west coast of South Africa. Swartland is near Capetown and the vineyards are located in mountainous area with granite rock outcroppings. Swartland is a relatively new grape growing region and the winemaker for the Curator (there is a Red and a White blend) is Adi Badenhorst from AA Badenhorst a new (2008) but respected family winery in the region. This blend was aged in concrete vats or old, neutral oak casks for 15 months to give the blend plenty of time to come together. The alcohol content is 14% (back of bottle) or 13.8% (website).
The color is a see-thru Black cherry red. The nose is a little smoky, with red berries, vanilla, oak spice, fudge brownie and black berry. This blend is smooth and rich, with balanced acidity, giving the flavors some decent length. It tastes of ripe black cherry, dark chocolate and savory spice. The mid-palate adds licorice, raspberry, vanilla and tart cranberry. The tannins are silky and the acidity is well balanced by the body of the wine. The finish has good staying power.
The Curator Red 2012 is smooth but with personality and a unique collection of flavors, made even more remarkable by the fact that this wine should sell for about 10 bucks. Swartland is a new growing region that does not yet have the reputation to command high prices, so there are bargains to be had. An interesting, tasty Red wine that is well worth seeking out.