South African wine often flies under the radar in North America. While this new world region has a shorter growing history than other places like France or Spain, winemakers here are extremely experienced. They’re masters in creating selections that showcase earthy flavours while smelling sweet on the nose. The hot climate of South Africa further enables grapes (particularly the reds) to ripen quickly, producing full-bodied wine that is high in alcohol; wineries on the ocean’s coast also benefit from cool breezes – helping their white wines attain fresh acidity. Grapes for wine are primarily grown in in the Western Cape region, and interspersed in other areas as well such as Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, and Limpopo encompassing nearly 100,000 hectares altogether.
Cabernet Sauvignon is a popular red from South Africa and moreover, finding a high-quality bottle for an affordable price is simple if you check out Wine Online or a similar online retailer. A wonderful selection from the coastal region of Stellenbosch that is fruity and earthy is the Cab Sauv by Graceland Vineyards, vintage 2014. Typically, wines from Stellenbosch have passed numerous taste tests and can promise connoisseurs quality. This wine is elegantly full-bodied, boasting concentrated flavors with a pleasant and soft tannin structure. On the nose drinkers will enjoy notes of cassis, blackberry and spice. On the palate, it is complex and layered, with good definition and structure. Finally, this selection is farmed sustainably for those who prefer to make their wine choices green.
Another gorgeous red from Paarl in South Africa (north of Stellenbosch, bordering the mountains) is the Babel Red by Babylonstoren, vintage 2015. This blend of red is both vibrant and vivid, with layers of spicy blackcurrant leaf, intense red fruit, and warm herb aromas. There is also plenty of bright blackcurrant and blackberry on the palate mixed with rich fruitcake and balanced by tannins that are soft and supple. This wine consists of South Africa’s favorite red grapes, primarily Shiraz and Cab Sauv, then is further accented by Cab Franc, Malbec, Merlot and Petit Verdot. This difficult to find selection is easily available through retailers like Wine Online, making quality bottles from far off regions more accessible.
For those who can’t get enough of their white wine, the Chenin Blanc by Beaumont Family Wines, vintage 2016, is a premier choice. Unoaked, fresh and crisp – this South African favourite offers bursts of green melon, apple, and delicate apricot blossom aromas on the nose. On the palate, there is fresh green apple and pineapple flavours with a hint of wood spice. The Chenin Blanc grape is similar to Pinot Gris and Sauvignon Blanc; choose this selection for a dry white that is perfect for sipping.
South Africa is home to some of the most developed wine lands of the new world, rivalling even those of Napa and the vineyards of California’s coast. Next time you’re looking to try a bold and robust selection from an up and coming region, hop online and read more about what South African reds and whites are all the buzz.