South African wine has a long history since the year 1659. It was the time when Jan van Riebeeck produced the first bottle of wine. Production was more concentrated around Cape Town, having major production centers and vineyard at Paarl, Stellenbosch, Worcester, and Constantia. The Dutch established a refreshment center at the Cape of Good Hope. During isolation, the country’s wines were dull and bushed. The red ones tasted like burnt rubber while the white ones tasted like acid drops. After which there was an improvement in quality.
South Africa now earned fame for producing 600 wineries and 6000 wines. It is currently the largest wine-supplier to Britain. With some hard to find wines, a truly desirable array of some country’s most exceptional periods ranging from crisp and clear Rieslings through balanced and fruity roses. If you see a South African wine in the market, then it will become toast for a dinner party! Take a glance at some of the best wines of South Africa.
South African Red Wines
Red Wines are prepared by crushing and fermenting the dark color black grapes. A few of the famous varieties of wines produced from the particular grape species are as follows:
1. Cabernet Sauvignon
A sharp intricacy to South African Cab makes the best alternative to fruit-forward cab valued from Paso, Sonoma and Robles, California. South African Cabernet Sauvignon lies between the New and the Old world. In this case, it is rivaled only by Bordeaux stable mate Merlot and Pinot Noir. Cabernet has successfully spread to all winegrowing countries in the world. It is probably the most famous red wine grape variety on Earth.
The South African Syrah that has taken the US by storm is the Chocolate Block that is gaining popularity due to its dark and spicy fruity flavor. When you taste Syrah, you will plunge in the flavorful punch which tapers off in the beginning and has a slightly peppery aftertaste. Syrah gets blended with the grapes that add more mid-palate in the front-loaded style. You can try it with Lamb Shawarma, Asian 5 spice pork, Gyros, and even Indian tandoori meats.
Pinotage is a South African grape variety that is a cross hybrid of Cinsault and Pinot Noir first performed by Abraham Perold in 1925. It is however different from both of them in taste. Pinotage has the flavor of juicy raspberries and blueberries with tobacco and spiced chocolate. The wines are dense and have high alcohol content. The wine has bramble, smoky and earthy flavor with notes of banana and tropical fruits. It is now Africa’s signature grape variety.
Merlot derives its name from Merle which refers to a small bluebird in French. It is a close relative of Cabernet Sauvignon. It is a dark blue color wine grape variety which South Africans love for the supple tannins, black cherry flavors, and chocolaty finish. The soft and fruity Merlots go well with the dishes like salmon, greens like chard and radicchios which are Mushroom based. It is the most popular red wine varieties available in the market.
5. Pinot Noir
Pinot Noir is a red wine that is light to medium and fruit forward. It gets prepared by the most famous grape. Pinot Noir is among the most elegant red wines in the world. In South Africa, the regions that grow the grapes to make Pinot Noir are Elgin and Walker Bay. Pinot Noir food pairing includes poultry and pork, chocolate, cheese and chocolate, bacon and beef, fish, lamb, fresh herbs and mushrooms.
South African White Wines
White wines usually get prepared from white or uncolored grapes. Some of the most famous white wines are as follows:
6. Chenin Blanc
South Africa is the major producer of Chenin Blanc which is an adaptable white-wine grape variety that gets cultivated for nearly 1300 years. It has high acidity levels and is scrumptiously sweet. South African Chenin Blanc has the flavor of tropical fruits like pineapple, banana, and melon. It may also contain a distinct taste of green apple. The wine goes with many dishes, but it is particularly suitable to have with fish and poultry products.
Colombard is another white wine with high acidity content making it a good choice for blends. Colombar finds significant use in making brandy. It is great to pair with foods and produces a crisp, fruity, low-cost white wine taken straight from the bottle and is famous worldwide, mainly in South Africa, California, Charentes, and Cotes de Gascogne. It is popularly known as Colombar in South Africa.
Chardonnay makes the most popular white wine on earth which is also most distinct. With the most highly regarded expressions of variety, it is not easy to describe its flavor. Many Chardonnay wines have aromatic complexity which is basically due to the preparing techniques and not due to the intrinsic quality. Due to the high involvement in making techniques that have the potential to change its taste, this wine is known as the ‘Winemaker’s wine.’
9. Sauvignon Blanc
The name Sauvignon Blanc means ‘Wild White.’ It is very different in taste from Chardonnay due to its herbaceous flavor. It depends on how ripe the grapes are to get them into the flavor range from flowery peach to zesty lime. It is distinct from other wines as it has herbaceous flavors like bell pepper, jalapeno, grass, and gooseberry. The flavors are due to pyrazines which are the secret of SB’s taste.
Riesling originated in the Rhine region is a white grape variety region. The wine made from the type of grapes is sweet, semi-sweet, sparkling and dry white wines. The aromatic wine offers primary fruit aroma of pear, honey-crisp apple, and nectarines. Some other fragrances that might add to your delight are like jasmine, lime peel honeycomb, and petroleum wax.
The wines from South Africa have an impressively good value and feature taste and style that are food friendly. The country produces a wide range of stunning reds to refreshing white wines. The cold climate is favorable to grow the different variety of grapes used to produce wines. There are many other varieties popular in South Africa like Petit, Verdot, Malbec, Semillon, etc. but these are the most famous ten varieties of wine should not be missed while you are in SA.