Wines of South Africa

South Africa Wine MapThe passionate winemakers of South Africa use a mixture of modern techniques with distinctive traditional, with the results being some of the world’s finest wines. Even with vast expansive regions of vineyards, most aim for top quality, not quantity. Having the potential to grow a wide range of grapes, the differing wine regions are divided under the Wine of Origin Act of 1973. As a testament to the quality and uniqueness of each wine region, all the wines produced under the Wine of Origin Act must be composed entirely of grapes originating in their historical provincial area. Geographically, the majority of wine production takes place in the Western and Northern Cape regions, where the salty breeze of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans are pushed towards the coasts from three different directions.

Red White
Pinotage* Riesling*
Syrah* Chardonnay*
Cabernet Sauvignon* Chenin Blanc
Cinsaut Sauvignon blanc*
Merlot Muscat
Pinot Noir*  

* Major Varietals

Coarse in texture and with rustic flavors, the traditional wines have been described as “thick foot” by the native population.  Aiming for a more fashionable flair, growers focused on obtaining better ripeness and vintners used modern practices to produce softer, fleshier wines. Even with many common international grape varieties, South Africa is most associated with dark rich wines.

Pinotage and Cabernet Sauvignon rule the land

Definitely distinctive, Pinotage is an indigenous grape, considered by many to be the signature wine of South Africa. This bold and rustic grape is a crossing of Pinot Noir and Cinsaut, which has seen many setbacks in its history of production. Presently, Pinotage has regained its popularity, being the second most planted grape in South Africa. This robust wine has a synergy with dishes like smoked duck and pulled pork. Pinotage goes well with an assortment of spices, but it most complements the wintry stew varieties of the South African potjies. This wines forte is the classic South African braai, an indigenous method of barbequing. You do not need to barbeque in order to enjoy Pinotage, as it also matches with many other meat dishes. Plummy on the nose, and with a dry finish, this excellent wine is a “love it” or “hate it” kind of wine. With every sip, Pinotage will provide you with the culturally history of what many have named “The World Capital of Adventure.”

Very appealing on the nose, Cabernet Sauvignon is another South African favorite. Being the most widely grown red grape variety, it covers 12% of all plantings. Gorgeously red, with a cherry fruit aroma, this grape will conquer and dominate your senses. Winemakers use Cabernet Sauvignon to make exquisite blends, the most popular being the Bordeaux blend, made by mixing Cabernet Sauvignon with Merlot, Cabernet Franc and other wines. Vintners are also increasing their use of the grapes in other blends, making distinctive and exclusive wines with noticeable South African savor. As most red wines, it complements brilliantly with steaks and heavy dressings. Noble and elegant as it can possibly get, this amazing wine is easy to match with almost any dinner plate.

 

Thomas Le, CS.

 

 

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Thomas Le

-Certified Sommelier (CMS)

Napa Reserva -Falling for wine, one sip at a time. TM

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