Sebeka is still relatively new to the American wine market, as it first appeared here in 2007. It’s produced in the Swartland Winery in South Africa, which dates back to 1948, and distributed in the US by E.J. Gallo. You can’t miss this wine on the shelf, as it stands out with a bright yellow label showing a cheetah running. Sebeka is actually named after a cheetah that was raised by wildlife conservationist Lente Roode, who founded the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre to help preserve endangered species.
I haven’t had the opportunity to sample many wines from South Africa, so I was curious to see how this compared to Shiraz from other regions. My first impression upon pouring this was that the color was a little light for a Shiraz, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing, and so I let the tasting be the judge.
Upon first opening this I was underwhelmed, but after decanting and letting it aerate for about an hour it came to life. Therefore, this is a wine that I do recommend decanting. The nose has a good balance of fruit and earthy aromas, with blackberry, cherry, leather, and smoke.
The palate is crisp and vibrant with bright cherry flavors. This wine is not as jammy and overpowering as a lot of Shiraz I’ve had, which makes it a little more approachable than some others. It is also a little bit on the acidic side, which can work well for pairing with certain foods. I would think this would go quite well with a yellow fin tuna steak.