SOUTH AFRICAN WINES
South Africa has a temperate Mediterranean climate, with a high level of rainfall between May and August making it an ideal wine country. It is the eighth largest wine producing country in the world and offers a huge range and diversity of wine grape varieties (or cultivars as they are also known) than most other wine-growing countries.
It has achieved high international ranking in terms of production and quality covering a large number of wine varieties including Pinotage, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc.
Triple the size of California, South Africa is surrounded on either side by two separate oceans and the climates that they bring, South Africa is home to a vast array of distinct and different landscapes. One of the most intriguing and beautiful wine-producing countries on earth.
South Africa, which is about three times the size of the state of California, is considered a New World wine region, it’s no newcomer to growing wine grapes. Grapes were first planted in 1655 and soon after, South African wines were lauded all over the world.
TOP SOUTH AFRICAN RED WINES
Until recent years, South African vineyards were dominated by white grape varieties. However, due to the steady increase in planting of red wine grape varietals, red wine cultivars have overtaken white wine cultivars and South African red wines have won over the hearts of wine lovers.
The finest South African red wines are often lauded for the fact that they seem to elegantly straddle the Old World and the New; their character tends to bring together the fruit-forward characteristics we associate with countries such as Chile and Argentina, with the complexity, earthiness and restraint of classic regions such as Burgundy in France.
Cabernet Sauvignon is a significant variety in the Cape and today it constitutes around 11% of vineyards and is the most widely planted red grape varietal.
Cabernet Sauvignon produces top-class wines that develop well with age into spicy, full, complex wines. Depending on the terroir, South African Cabernet Sauvignon can range from intense and perfumery to spicey and herbaceous or soft and well rounded with more berry notes. Cabernet Sauvignon is also often used in Bordeaux style blends.
The Merlot red wine grape variety in South Africa began covers around 6% of the red wine vineyards today, especially in warmer regions of the Cape.
This early ripening, thin-skinned grape varietal is highly sensitive to drought and can be a little tricky to produce, but it is worth the effort. Merlot is growing in popularity and is traditionally used in Rhône style blends to add softness and breadth to Cabernet Sauvignon with some superb results locally.
South African Merlot is usually medium to light-bodied in style and often has a touch of herbal freshness as part of their flavour spectrum. If you are trying to transition into drinking red wine or looking for an easier to drink varietal, give our Honey Infused Red Blend a try which infuses Honey with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.
Top South African White Wines
South African white wines are well known for it’s lively, crisp and fruity flavours as well as being mild and smooth. Cultivars like Chenin Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc are fresher and crisp contrasted against varieties like Chardonnay and Semillon which are more famous for their smoothness. This is why we have chosen these 2 white varieties for our Honey Infused Wine products.
Sauvignon Blanc is a favourite among South Africans, especially as a crisp and refreshing wine to enjoy on a hot summer’s afternoon or evening while watching the sun set.
Currently, Sauvignon Blanc is the 3rd most planted white wine cultivar in South Africa and is found throughout the wine producing region resulting in a diverse range of styles from green and grassy through to light and fruity Sauvignon Blancs.
Chenin Blanc is the most planted wine grape variety in South Africa with a long history in the Cape as it was one of the first wine grape cultivars introduced to the Cape in the 1650’s. Since then it has been a firm favourite in the South African wine region as evidenced by its presence in all styles of wine from sparkling wine and white wine blends.