About Red Wines from South Africa

About Red Wines from South Africa
Today, South Africa ranks as the eight largest producer of wine in the world. The wines however a still largely a secret, as there has not been a serious marketing push for these products. There are several excellent wine types, both white and red. For the former, Chenin Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc have excelled, while for the red, international varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot are recent successes, joining the local variety Pinotage. 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. However, the reds, thought quite good, are less recognized, with Pinotage still a bit of a mystery as far as its image. Perhaps they producers will be able to get their message across soon about the quality of its wines, which will lead to better consumer recognition and additional sales.

Top Picks for South Africa

Red Wines

Strelitzia Ridge 2018  Shiraz
90 points
Dusty garnet color. Aromas and flavors of ripe red apple, guanabana, roasted meats, red cassis, and tar with a supple, vibrant, dryish light-to-medium body and a smooth, breezy finish with notes of lingonberry jam, charred tobacco, and red capsicum with moderate oak flavor. A luscious and complex red wine that slowly reveals its many layers of fruit, savory, earthy flavors and spices; hearty and pairable.
Smate 2018  Shiraz
88 points
$15
Best Buy
Violet color. Baked aromas of blackberry coulis, baked orange, and dill with a satiny, vibrant, fruity medium-full body and a warming, crisp creme fraiche and blackberry cobbler finish with moderate oak flavor. A silky shiraz that will play great at the table.
88 points $15 Best Buy
African Rock 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon Pinotage Western Cape
87 points
$5.99
Best Buy
Indigo color. Aromas and flavors of tar pit, blistered blackberries, dill, hibiscus, and black pepper with a slightly chewy, vibrant, fruity medium body and a peppery, interesting, medium-length finish with elements of beef jerky, tomato chutney, and mulberry. A bold, smoky red that will triumph with grilled game.
87 points $5.99 Best Buy
Ashton 2018  Shiraz
87 points
$9.99
Best Buy
Deep purple color. Aromas and flavors of tar, tellicherry peppercorns, malted milk chocolate, fresh blackberry, and licorice with a slightly chewy, crisp, dry-yet-fruity medium-full body and a warming, medium-length finish with notes of thyme with chewy tannins and moderate oak flavor. A bold and expressive shiraz with lots of South African flair.
87 points $9.99 Best Buy
Leaf Plucker 2017 Red Blend Western Cape
87 points
$8.99
Best Buy
Ruby black color. Spicy aromas and flavors of pimiento and plum with a slightly chewy, crisp, dryish medium-to-full body and a graceful, brisk finish imparting impressions of dark chocolate ganache and charcoal briquettes. A Carmenere-like red that will fit right in at the table.
87 points $8.99 Best Buy
Nine Fields 2017  Merlot
87 points
$9.99
Best Buy
Ruby black color. Aromas and flavors of volcanic rock, charred and grilled meats and root vegetables, and wild berries with a vibrant, dry-yet-fruity medium-to-full body and an engaging, medium-long finish manifesting accents of cranberry relish, pickled beets, and hint of ash with dusty, woody tannins. A fun, smoky merlot that will be great with grilled fare, especially game.
87 points $9.99 Best Buy
Smate 2018  Pinotage
87 points
$15
Best Buy
Violet color. Roasted aromas and flavors of dark chocolate espresso beans and cherries and grilled zucchini bread with a silky, crisp, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a delightful, medium-long finish with notes of spicy cherry berry compote, pencil shavings, and honeycomb with well-integrated, chewy tannins and a suggestion of oak flavor. A chewy, lightly smoky and spicy pinot noir that will pair nicely with ethnic cuisine.
87 points $15 Best Buy
Nine Fields 2017  Shiraz
86 points
$9.99
Best Buy
Black violet color. Aromas of mulberry, island spices, and charcoal with a velvety, crisp, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a graceful, engaging, medium-long black pepper, fudge and tar finish. A truly South African Shiraz that will be a natural with grilled meats.
86 points $9.99 Best Buy
Nine Fields 2017  Cabernet Sauvignon
85 points
$9.99
Violet color. Smoky aromas and flavors of smoked nuts, singed chocolate, and grilled cherries with a silky, bright, fruity medium body and a smooth, intriguing, medium-long finish with nuances of slate and volcanic ash and berries and greens with crunchy tannins and light oak flavor. A crisp and refreshing red with a smoky backbone.
85 points $9.99