South Africa


South Africa


D

ramatic and positive change in South Africa has seen increased involvement in the wine industry by all ethnic groups and much work and research have gone into improving the quality of the nation’s vineyards. There is no doubting that wine quality at the upper end of the market here is good and improving. An increasing number of dynamic and truly exciting new producers are continuing to emerge. A number of reds of true world class are also being made, some at world class prices too. However South Africa still wants for more wines of such indisputable style and complexity. There has been a recent trend towards micro-production garage-style wines but it remains to be seen how many of these will stand the test of time.

 

South-Africa-Map

The Regions
Quality wine production in South Africa is centred around Stellenbosch WO. The region is one of the most attractive to visit anywhere in the world, with towering mountains rising seemingly out of the ocean. Stellenbosch itself is not only home to some of the largest wine companies in the country but also to some of its most impressive. There is a wide variation of mesoclimates within the WO with maritime breezes and the Simonsberg and Helderberg mountains playing a role in tempering conditions. In the coolest areas Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay (including some impressive barrel fermented examples) are both successful, as is the occasional Riesling. Chenin Blanc tends to be much in the local style with some residual sugar. Stellenbosch reds are among the best in the country. Pinotage can be particularly striking in the warm vineyards to the north-east of Stellenbosch.Decent Bordeaux-style reds abound and a number of wineries are producing excellent results with Shiraz. Merlot can be good but also a touch vegetal. Although the wines are less rustic than of old and with much of the virus infection once prevalent now removed, a marked minty note found in a number of reds can be overpowering.

oldenburg-vineyards

To the north of Stellenbosch is the second-largest region, Paarl. The area is warm and reds including some very successful Shiraz and Merlot are produced. There are also a number of cooler mesoclimates where the odd decent Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon are made, as well as Chardonnay and some fine Pinot Noir. White Rhône varieties are also increasingly widely planted.

To the immediate east is Franschhoek. The valley here gets cooler as you move east and up to higher altitudes. Again, very good Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon are produced as well as earlier ripening whites and Pinot Noir. To the east of Stellenbosch is the cool Durbanville region and newly established Philadelphia. Then south of Cape Town Constantia is home to a small number of good producers. The climate is cool and moderated by both Indian and Atlantic Ocean breezes and whites are more successful than the reds. Some way to the east of Stellenbosch are the regions of Worcester and Robertson. The latter has some potential for good whites grown in limestone soils.

klein

The vast, semi-desert and arid expanse of the Klein Karoo, several hundred kilometres inland, sees the production of some reasonable fortified styles but is too hot to produce fine table wines. Swartland just to the north-west of Paarl appears to have real potential. Hillside vineyards planted on well-drained granite soils are the source of good Pinotage, Shiraz and Merlot. The high diurnal variation of mountainous vineyards of Tulbagh to the east of Swartland would suggest excellent potential. Great wines are emerging. To the south-east of Cape Town is the district of Overberg which includes Elgin and on the coast immediately south Walker Bay is a source of great Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Elim and Cape Agulhas to the east is centred around South Africa’s southernmost tip and provides great scope for cool grape growing. Swellendam, some distance to the east of the Cape also appears to have much potential.

 

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A to Z of producers by region

Bamboes Bay
Fryers Cove
Calitzdorp
Boplaas
Cape Town
4 G Wines
Signal Hill
Cape Point
Cape Point Vineyards
Cederberg
Cederberg
Constantia
Klein Constantia
Steenberg
Darling
Cloof Estate
Durbanville
Nitida Cellars
Elgin
Paul Cluver
Highlands Road
Iona
Richard Kershaw
Catherine Marshall Wines
Oak Valley Wines
Franschhoek
Boekenhoutskloof
Jean Daneel
Grande Provence
La Motte
Landau du Val
La Petite Ferme
Lynx Winery
Moreson
Porcupine Ridge
Rupert & Rothschild
Solms Delta
Malmesbury
Lammershoek
Paarl
Backsberg
Black Pearl
Coleraine
Fairview Estate
Glen Carlou
Ridgeback
Rudera
Veenwouden
Vilafonte
Welgemeend
Philadelphia
Capaia
Robertson
Bon Cap
Springfield
Stellenbosch
Anwilka
Beyerskloof
Bilton
Bizoe
Cape Chamonix
Clos Malverne
De Toren
De Trafford
Dornier Wines
Neil Ellis
Ernie Els
Ken Forrester
The Foundry
Glenelly
Ernst Gouws
Graceland
Grangehurst
Guardian
Hartenberg
Ingwe Wine Estate
Jordan
Kaapzicht
Kanonkop
Katbakkies
Kleine Zalze
Kleinood
Le Riche
Leopard Frog
Meerlust
Meinert
Nico van der Merwe
Morgenhof
Morgenster
Mulderbosch
Muratie
Oldenburg
Quoin Rock
Raats
Donovan Rall
Remhoogte
Rustenberg
Rust en Vrede
Saxenburg
Stark-Conde
Stellekaya
Stellenzicht
Sterhuis
Thelema
Tokara
Uva Mira
Vergelegen
Villiera
Vriesenhof
Warwick Estate
Waterford
The Winery of Good Hope
Swartland
Badenhorst
Nativo
Mullineux & Leeu
Painted Wolf
Porseleinberg
Sadie Family
Seguillo Cellars
Spice Route Company
Swellendam
Sijnn Wines
Tulbagh
Rijks
Voor-Pardeberg
Scali
Walker Bay
Alheit
Ashbourne
Ataraxia
Beaumont
Bouchard Finlayson
Creation Wines
Hamilton Russell
Hermanuspietersfontein
Luddite
Newton Johnson
Southern Right
Wildekrans
Wellington
Doolhof
Mischa
Mont du Toit

 

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