Cabernet Sauvignon from Kenya? A Carigan-Grenache blend from Algeria? Single-vineyard Chardonnay from Zimbabwe?
Seems improbable at first. However, these are just a few of the many wines from Africa included in this month’s Wine Book Club selection, Africa Uncorked – Travel in Extreme Wine Territory, written by John and Erica Platter. Published by The Wine Appreciation Guild, $24.95.
The Platters, both journalists by trade, have a long history of wine experiences in Africa, particularly South Africa where they published South Africa’s first wine guide in 1979. John Platter is also a contributor to Hugh Johnson’s Pocket Wine Book, as well as Jancis Robinson’s Oxford Companion to Wine.
Africa Uncorked is a first-hand account of the Platters journey through the ‘extreme’ wine regions of Africa – from Algeria to South Africa to Zimbabwe. Part African wine journey, part history and geography lesson, Africa Uncorked provides fascinating insights in to a part of the wine world few will ever experience at this level.
Prior to reading Africa Uncorked, I was aware of the thriving wine industry in Southern Africa, but I had no idea that wine was also produced across the African continent including North African countries like Algeria and even in East African countries like Ethiopia and Kenya. Fascinating. A testament to the fact that winemaking knows no bounds – especially geographic boundaries.
Africa Uncorked, provides detailed coverage, in separate chapters, of 13 African countries currently producing wine. The experiences included in each of the chapters range from out-right dangerous, to comical, to tales of absolute perseverance.
I’m grateful there are adventurous and curious people like the Platters who are willing to risk personal safety at times, and forego the comforts typically associated with wine travels to provide less daring people like me a glimpse into a one of the most extreme wine territories in the world. I will admit that I much prefer to ‘read’ about extreme wine adventures from the comfort of The Lodge in Sonoma, vice ‘roughing it’ in the remote corners of Africa for a glass of Cabernet.
If I were to summarize my thoughts on Africa Uncorked in one word, it would be – educational!
This is a must have reference book for anyone planning a trip to Africa, or for those curious sorts that enjoy learning about unique travel and wine experiences.