Once better known for its quantity of wine production rather than quality, today South African winemakers are internationally renowned for producing superior quality wines and rival some of the Old World countries with their fantastic flavours. The Rainbow Nation produces a diverse range of wines that doesn’t disappoint and there are fantastic offerings to suit almost every budget.
With its warm Mediterranean climate, wine production is mainly focused in Cape Town. It was the early Dutch settlers that saw the benefits of Cape Town for wine and vine growth but they only had a very limited knowledge of winemaking. It wasn’t until the French Huguenot refugees arrived, bringing with them their wine making skills, that South African wine production truly began to flourish and the quality needed was available to make the best from the wonderful climate.
With its quality of fruit and skilled winemakers determined to produce the highest quality wines, South Africa has grown considerably in its percentage of the wine market and it consistently impresses with the varieties of wine it has on offer.
White wine has long been the most popular type produced in South Africa, with Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc being the most popular grapes. Boschendal is one of the oldest South African wineries and can be found in the Western Cape between Franschhoek and Stellenbosh. It offers a great rich and creamy Chardonnay, perfect to be served alongside chicken dishes. Another fantastic Chardonnay is Douglas Green, a fresh, well-rounded and dry white, best served chilled with dishes like roast chicken or battered fish.
There has been a lot of focus over the last few years on improving the varieties of South African red wine and they certainly don’t disappoint. Secret Cellar’s Shiraz Grenache, is a delicious combination of spicy Shiraz and mouth-watering Grenache, resulting in an intense smooth wine. With hints of pepper and spice, combined with black and red berries, this is a perfect wine to be served with BBQ meats, roasts and casseroles.
Taking its name from a rather unique spicy South African relish, Chakalaka 2012 is a medium bodied wine which offers you smoky cloves to start with, before a black cherry and plum hit follows. With hints of sweet oaked spice, it has a smooth tannin and lasting spice flavours.
A soft and fruity full-flavoured rose is Rustenberg Petit Verdot. Its fresh strawberry and cherry flavours and subtle spicy hints, make it perfect to serve with cold meats.
Whatever style of wine is your favourite the passionate and experienced winemakers of South Africa have got something for you.