About South African Wine

About South African Wine
South Africa is one of the most intriguing wine countries in the world. Tucked away in the far southwestern corner of the African continent, it is a thriving wine region that remains a mystery to most consumers. Viticulture began here in the 1600s, when Dutch settlers planted vines; today producers work with international varieties and the latest technology to create excellent versions of Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinotage, the country's signature variety.

South Africa is the ninth largest wine-producing nation in the world; much of the production is situated in the Western Cape region, in the southwest near Cape Town. Maritime influences are ideal for white varieties, and indeed, Sauvignon Blanc is the leading planted variety in the country, followed by Chardonnay and then Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinotage and Chenin Blanc. The Chenin Blancs offer great varietal purity and are made in a dry to off-dry style. Sauvignon Blancs, especially those from the Western Cape or Stellenbosch areas, offering excellent varietal focus and impressive structure, have been critically praised. Pinotage, a cross of Pinot Noir and Cinsaut, is made into a range of styles from light, sipping wine to more full-bodied. A total of 250,00 acres of vines are planted in South Africa, with the majority of wine being produced by cooperatives.

Top Picks for South Africa

Braai 2015  Cabernet Sauvignon
93 points
$16.99
Best Buy
Nearly opaque garnet black color. Aromas and flavors of dark chocolate and toasted coconut with an vibrant, fruity medium-full body and an intricate, long blackberry preserve, bramble thicket, and peppery spice finish with chewy, earthy, silky tannins and moderate oak. A regal Bordeaux style blend from the Western cape; lay some down for later if you can resist not drinking it now.
Awards: 2017 Best South African Red Wine
93 points $16.99 Best Buy
Arabella 2017  Sauvignon Blanc
92 points
$9.99
Best Buy
Bright pale yellow straw color. Tropical aromas and flavors of fruit salad, banana soufflé, and guava with a silky, tangy, fruity medium body and a smooth, distinctive, medium-long mango-apple relish, grapefruit, and coconut milk finish with fine, crunchy, fruit tannins and no oak. A juicy, tropical sauvignon blanc with zesty fruit and mouthwatering acidity.
Awards: 2017 Best South African White Wine
92 points $9.99 Best Buy
Avondale 2007 La Luna Red Blend Estate Paarl
91 points
$45
Garnet black color. Smoky, complex aromas of smoked plum, grilled meats, sundried heirloom tomatoes, and roasted beets with a satiny, crisp, dry-yet-fruity medium-to-full body and a warming, complex, medium-length caramelized shitake mushrooms, mesquite, brandy soaked cherries, toasted almonds, and cocoa nibs finish with medium tannins and moderate oak. A smoky, terroir-driven Bordeaux Varietal Blend to show off to your guests at your next barbecue.
Margaret 2017  Pinotage
90 points
$8.99
Best Buy
Indigo color. Fruity, roasted aromas and flavors of dark chocolate, dark roasted nuts, and warm crusty blackberry pie with a supple, lively, fruity medium-to-full body and a smooth, interesting, medium-length blueberry pie a la mode, praline, spiced cherries, and lava stone finish with chewy, well-integrated tannins and light oak. A rock solid Pinotage with bright fruit, delicate smoke, and a nice sense of place.
90 points $8.99 Best Buy
Stellar Organics 2016  Shiraz
90 points
$9.99
Best Buy
Deep purple color. Sweet, smoky aromas and flavors of sweet ripe blackberries, barbecue, sumac, and toasted fennel seed with a velvety, vibrant, fruity medium-to-full body and an interesting, medium-length pomegranate molasses and mesquite finish with chewy tannins and moderate oak. A delicious and satisfying smoky Shiraz.
90 points $9.99 Best Buy
Stellar Organics 2017 Rosé Western Cape
90 points
$9.99
Best Buy
Silvery pink color. Fresh, green aromas of fresh cut grass, gooseberries, and strawberry sorbet with a satiny, vibrant, fruity light-to-medium body and a silky, interesting, medium-length crisp asian pear and pomegranate finish with soft, fruit tannins and no oak. A refreshingly fruity rose that will charm sauvignon blanc lovers.
90 points $9.99 Best Buy
Sonance NV  Pinot Grigio
90 points
$9.49
Best Buy
Pale straw color. Fruity aromas and flavors of kiwi, apple, and nougat with a silky, bright, dry-yet-fruity medium-to-full body and a captivating, medium-long grilled peach and volcanic rock finish. A tasty pinot grigio with nice creaminess and delicate smoke.
Awards: '2017 World Value Wine Challenge-Top 10 White Wine $10 and Under' Best Value South African Pinot Grigio Exceptional Value
90 points $9.49 Best Buy
Arabella 2016  Cabernet Sauvignon
90 points
$9.99
Best Buy
Ruby black color. Savory aromas and flavors of pickled tomatoes, sour cherries and blueberries, chestnut honey, and hint of crispy bacon with a satiny, tangy, fruity medium body and a smooth, appealing, medium-long creme brulee, sweet spices, nuts, and tobacco finish with chewy, fine tannins and light oak. A crisp, refreshing cabernet that will be very versatile.
Awards: '2017 World Value Wine Challenge-Top 10 Red Wine $10 and Under' Best Value South African Cabernet Sauvignon Exceptional Value
90 points $9.99 Best Buy
Avondale 2015 Amina Estate Chenin Blanc
89 points
$27
Golden straw color. Tropical aromas and flavors of golden apples, ripe kiwi, papaya pastry, bruleed lemon, and coconut-almond with a silky, crisp, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a tingling, interesting, medium-length candied macadamia, white flowers, and ground ginger finish with light oak. A tropical and toasty Chenin Blanc with cheery spice.
Indaba 2016  Sauvignon Blanc
89 points
$11.99
Best Buy
Straw green color. Aromas of dried gooseberry and desert grasses with a silky, vibrant, dryish light body and a smooth, relaxed fresh orange, black pepper, and sunflower seed finish with fruit tannins and no oak. A subtle Sauvignon Blanc with food-friendly acidity; can become a weeknight favorite.
89 points $11.99 Best Buy