The South African red that has become a household favourite

Barrique Wines' Polly Sands with a bottle of Howard John

By Polly Sands, Marketing Director, Barrique Fine Wines

If you’ve popped by one of our tasting events in Leeds or Birmingham over the last few months, chances are you crossed paths with Polly from Barrique Fine Wines. Polly’s journey into wine began with exploring vineyards and developing wine brands in Australia. Returning to the UK, she followed her passion becoming WSET trained and joining the Barrique Fine Wines team. She loves discovering the story behind the wine, the people that make it, the place it comes from and the processes that bring it to life.

If you’re a fan of Rhone red blends, you have to give this wine a try! In a heartfelt homage, Howard John is named after winemaker Franco Lourens’ father, whose photograph has pride of place on the label. Franco Lourens is an exciting winemaker who is a rising star, producing top-end South African wine that demand attention.

This silky smooth blend of Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah and Carrignan hails from the Hemel en Aarde region (which roughly translates to heaven on earth) in South Africa, offering a great alternative to a classic Rhone. Made with 80% whole bunches give this wine layers of complexity, delicate floral notes with lovely spiced cracked pepper that gently warms the palette.

A subtle savoury herbaceous flavour that compliments the bright cherry and red fruits and bursts of vibrant pomegranate, perfect for this time of year. It’s a moreish, medium-bodied wine that has solidified its place as a household favourite in my collection!

It’s delicious just on its own for those cosy nights in, but works just as well with food, try it with a herbed lamb roast, or even a Moroccan chicken to showcase the wine’s spiced notes. Alternatively, it effortlessly complements a cheese board.

I’ll definitely be opening a bottle this evening!


Howard John 2021, Lourens Family Wines, Hemel en Aarde


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