Tasting South Africa

The following is an excerpt from an article featured in a recent issue of Healthy Aging®, entitled “Tasting South Africa,” by Anthony Dias Blue

M.A.N. Family Wines maker, Francois Bezuidenbout, in the vineyard with his Jack Russell.

M.A.N. Family Wines maker, Francois Bezuidenbout, in the vineyard with his Jack Russell.

 South Africa is home to some of the most beautiful vineyards in the world—lush, rolling vistas of vivid green interrupted by dramatic granite outcroppings. Vast and immaculately tended vineyards peppered with crisp, white Cape Dutch wineries with their characteristically ornate peaked roofs.

South Africa’s climate is Mediterranean-like and it is hospitable to many grape varieties. The most widely planted type is Chenin Blanc but, as red varieties become more popular, the plantings of this white Loire variety are shrinking. Pinotage, an academically engineered cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsault created at South Africa’s Stellenbosch University in 1925, is perhaps the country’s most characteristic varietal, although it is still little known outside the country. It had gotten a reputation for overly pungent aromas and flavors, but modern vintners are beginning to learn to work with it.

One of the most attractive aspects of modern South African wines is their moderate price point; many wines are available in the U.S. market in the under $20 range. Also, the southern African climate is quite consistent so that consumers don’t have to pay much attention to the vagaries of vintages. And don’t forget that being in the Southern Hemisphere South African grapes are harvested six months before the fruit in American and European vineyards are picked; thus a wine from 2013 is already a year old.

Here are some recommendations from a few favorite South African wine producers.

Boekenhoutskloof 2013 Sauvignon Blanc, Western Cape $13

Boekenhoutskloof 2012 Syrah, Costal Region $13

Boekenhoutskloof 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon, Costal Region $13

Fairview 2013 Sauvignon Blanc, Darling $14

Fairview 2013 Chenin Blanc, Paarl, $10

Fairview 2013 Goats do Roam (White Rhône Blend), Coastal Region $10

Fairview 2010 Pinotage, Paarl $29

Fairview 2010 Extraño (Custom Red Blend), Coastal Region $22

Fairview 2011 Shiraz, Coastal Region $15

Hamilton Russell 2012 Chardonnay, Hemel-En-Aarde $33

Hamilton Russell 2012 Pinot Noir, Hemel-En=Aarde $46

Helderberg 2013 Sauvignon Blanc, Stellenbosch $13

Helderberg 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon, Stellenbosch $13

MAN Vintner 2013 Sauvignon Blanc, Western Cape $11

MAN Vintner 2012 Chardonnay, Coastal Region $11

MAN Vintner 2011 Pinotage, Coastal Region $11

Mulderbosch 2012 Chenin Blanc, Western Cape $13

Mulderbosch 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé $13

Neil Ellis 2013 Sauvignon Blanc, Western Cape $15

Neil Ellis 2012 Chardonnay, Stellenbosch $21

Neil Ellis 2011 Shiraz, Western Cape $15

Tormentoso 2012 Mourvèdre, Paarl $13

Tormentoso 2010 Pinotage, Paarl $13

Anthony Dias Blue, one of the most influential wine, food and lifestyle personalities in the United States

Anthony Dias Blue, one of the most influential wine, food and lifestyle personalities in the United States

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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