About South African Wine

About South African Wine
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

Kershaw 2017 Clonal Selection Syrah
94 points
Medium dusty ruby color. Aromas and flavors of black olive, leather, black tea, soil, violets, dried sage, dried blueberry, and fresh blackberry with a silky, lively, dry light-to-medium body and a smooth, complex, very long finish conveying notes of vanilla and espresso with fine, well-integrated, firm tannins and light oak flavor. A delicious Syrah that balances the bright and the brooding - full of dark fruit and coastal brush notes.
Awards: 2021 Best Syrah
Never Look Back 2019  Cabernet Sauvignon
91 points
Best Buy
Ruby black color. Aromas and flavors of black currant, underbrush, terra cotta, red clay, and allspice with a round, lively, dry medium-to-full body and a seamless, complex, long finish with overtones of black plum, espresso bean, dark chocolate, tea, and lavender with fine, well-integrated, firm tannins and light oak flavor. A precisely balanced, delicious and easy drinking Cabernet that boosts subtle complexities of flavor; drink now or cellar for 3 to 6 years.
91 points $16 Best Buy
La Motte 2019 La Motte Merlot
90 points
Medium garnet color. Aromas and flavors of smoked meat, toast, leather, grilled plum, baked cherry tart, cracked black pepper, and myrrh with a round, lively, dry medium body and a smooth, interesting, medium-long finish with notes of chocolate-covered pecans with well-integrated, fine, firm tannins and light oak flavor. A savory and juicy Merlot with a strong sense of place; try with most meat dishes.
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.
Babylonstoren 2020 Babel Red Blend Paarl Red
89 points
Garnet black color. Aromas and flavors of dark chocolate bacon bar, peanut butter, hint of coffee, and buttered biscuit with a supple, bright, fruity medium body and a tingling, appealing, medium-long finish that presents nuances of grilled green pepper, cassis, and creme brulee with dusty, earthy tannins and moderate oak flavor. A nicely smoky, chewy red blend that will excel with grilled meats.
Frisky Zebras NV Game Ranger Reserve Seductive Shiraz
89 points
Best Buy
Violet color. Aromas and flavors of smoked meats, luxardo cherry, and shishito pepper with a chewy, racy, dry full body and a warming, interesting, long finish displaying overtones of wild raspberry, compressed strawberry, cola, and pine with firm, chewy tannins and moderate oak flavor. A juicy Shiraz that brings plenty of red fruits and herbal interest to the table.
89 points $9 Best Buy
Riebeek Cellars 2019  Pinotage
89 points
Best Buy
Light ruby black color. Aromas and flavors of fresh turned soil, sautéed shitake, dried cherries, dates, vanilla, coffee, and grilled plum with a satiny, lively, dry medium body and a tingling, intriguing, medium-long finish manifesting overtones of olives, herbs, and rhubarb with fine, well-integrated, coating tannins and a suggestion of oak flavor. A delightful red that manages to be both bright and rich, fruity and savory.
89 points $12 Best Buy
Babylonstoren 2021 Candide White Blend Western Cape
88 points
Pale straw green color. Aromas and flavors of damp flower patch, hard cheese rind, and dried fall fruits with a silky, bright, dry-yet-fruity light-to-medium body and a silky, breezy finish imparting accents of pickled melon, Meyer lemon, and mint tea with dusty, fruit tannins and no oak flavor. A creamy and mellow white wine with interesting nuances.
Indwe 2020  Pinotage
88 points
Best Buy
Dark violet color. Aromas of black plum, black raspberry, leather, rooibos tea, black olive, fruit leather, and vanilla with a satiny, crisp, dry light-to-medium body and a tingling, interesting, medium-long olive, beets, clove, and thyme finish with well-integrated, fine, chewy tannins and a suggestion of oak flavor. A bright, food friendly wine with complex savory and fruit flavors; try with otherwise hard to pair game dishes.
88 points $15 Best Buy
Strelitzia Ridge 2020  Chenin Blanc
88 points
Yellow straw color. Aromas of beeswax, ripe fig, and papaya with a supple, vibrant, dry-yet-fruity light body and a smooth, medium-long candied almond, meyer lemon, and poached pear finish. A supple and clean Chenin Blanc for effortless summer sipping.