South Africa

A long history of growing grapes and making wine, but less of a history on exporting it, and even lesser on the quality aspect. At the turn of the century (1900, that is), a surplus of wine in South Africa created a hierarchy of cooperatives, the biggest and best known being KWV. This organization seemed to favor quantity over quality and had most control over wines and vineyards until the late 1980's. Now, with a bit more competition, quality is the focus of many winemakers. Yet, South African wine was not even seen in American wine stores until the mid-1990's – the trade embargo on the country for their racial apartheid laws kept South African wine out of the US. When apartheid fell, so did the embargo, and South African bottles began showing up on US shelves.

Notable Facts

White wine has always been the cash crop of South Africa, with much of it distilled to make brandy. More white than red is planted, the majority of it is Steen – known elsewhere in the world as Chenin Blanc. Good producers are making top quality dry wines from this grape. Another grape the critics rave aboutSauvignon Blanc, producing whites that are dry and crisp, yet rounder than many of its Southern Hemisphere counterparts. For reds, the top grapes are Syrah/Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon (& blends) and Pinotage. Cabernet Sauvignon and Bordeaux blends were once the favorite and most-produced, but Shiraz is taking over as wineries crank out high quality wines from the variety. Pinotage, a man-made crossing between Pinot Noir and Cinsault, has improved dramatically and is often as delicious as it is distinctive. In describing red wines in South Africa, smoky and meaty are two terms that are common. Regionally, the most popular wine-making areas include Stellenbosch and Paarl.
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  • De Wetshof Limestone Hill Chardonnay 2015
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  • Meerlust Rubicon 2010
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  • Kanonkop Pinotage 2014
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  • Glen Carlou Grand Classique 2011
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  • Kanonkop Paul Sauer Red Blend 2011
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  • Graham Beck Game Reserve Chardonnay 2014
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  • MAN Vintners Chenin Blanc 2015
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  • Cape Point Sauvignon Blanc 2014
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  • Neil Ellis Groenekloof Sauvignon Blanc 2015
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  • Graham Beck Game Reserve Pinotage 2014
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  • Graham Beck Brut Rose
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    • bubbly, sparkling & champagne
  • Chamonix Reserve Chardonnay 2014
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  • Boschendal The Rose Garden Rose 2015
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  • La Capra Chenin Blanc 2015
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  • Rust en Vrede Stellenbosch Estate Red Blend 2012
    $47.99
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  • Jam Jar Sweet Shiraz 2015
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  • Neil Ellis Sincerely Sauvignon Blanc 2015
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  • Graham Beck Brut Methode Cap Classique
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  • Simonsig Chenin Blanc 2015
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  • Protea Chenin Blanc 2014
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  • Glenelly Grand Vin Chardonnay 2012
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  • Mulderbosch Sauvignon Blanc 2014
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