If you’re a fan of Deon Meyer novels (as I am), then you’ve read Icarus, and you know that at some point KWV controlled everything about our wine industry – not only in terms of prices and quotas but also the varieties of grape wine farmers were allowed to grow. Happily, that’s all behind us now, and we’re producing loads of jolly good wine from grapes that may still be unfamiliar to many of us.
These are some we love.
SUPER SINGLE VARIETALS
Paul Cluver Riesling 2018, R110
This is not the sweet, cloying wine you may have grown up with as Riesling. (That actually wasn’t Riesling at all, but another grape entirely; Crouchen Blanc; also sometimes called Cape Riesling). Proper Riesling (from the Rhine region) is a rarity in South Africa, but this is the real thing. It’s fresh and clean; light on the palate with a lingering aftertaste.
Lourensford Viognier 2016,
R190 A classic white grape originally from the Rhone valley in France, this beautifully balanced wine has flashes of peach and grapefruit with a bouquet of fragrant jasmine and lavender. Vanilla and nutmeg also put in an appearance, making it creamy and full-bodied – with just enough flintiness to give it a long, clean finish.
Steenberg Nebbiolo 2016, R295
This Italian grape produces a beautiful brick red wine that looks deceptively translucent: it packs a big punch in terms of taste. Nebbiolo has a lot of tannin, which balances the red fruits you’ll also pick up here, such as raspberry, sour cherry and strawberry. There’s also a bit of a cigar bar feel to it; a touch of tobacco leaf, leather and aniseed, I love Nebbiolo, and this one is a stunner.
Top 6 – World’s Best Vineyards Photo Gallery
De Krans Touriga Nacional, R115
Originally from the Douro valley in Portugal, this grape has found a home from home in Calitzdorp. It’s come into its own as a single varietal: a complex, full-bodied dry red with hints of dark berries and black chocolate. Bold and layered, it’s a lovely wine at a good price.
Bosman Nero 2017, R300
This black Sicilian grape is bursting with strong, full-bodied flavours – if you’re a fan of Shiraz or Pinotage, give this a try. It grows in very arid conditions, which is partly why the flavour is so condensed and potent -and also makes it perfect for South Africa. This is a big-impact wine with characteristic plum and dark berry flavours that have somehow been wrestled into an elegant whole.
Vriesenhof Grenache 2018, R350
Grenache is thought to have originated in Sardinia or Spain. It’s a grape that loves sun and doesn’t need water -good news for us! Often used in blends, it’s also beautiful on its own; rich in berry flavours with some leather and cinnamon notes coming in too. Its light, clear colour belies its strong, lingering taste.
Bouchard Finlayson Hannibal 2017, R354 This special blend of exotic grapes
Sangiovese, Pinot Noir, Shiraz, Nebbiolo, Mourvedre and Barber has a long, slow build in terms of taste: stoned red fruits come together with a hint of new leather in a very satisfying whole.
De Krans Tritonia Calitzdorp Blend 2016, R235
Deep plum in colour and overflowing with spice and dark chocolate in taste, this is a fullbodied, big-hearted treat of a wine.
Flagstone Longitude 2018 Malbec, Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon Blend, R65 A great everyday blend. The Malbec’s slightly smokey fruitiness is a lovely base.
Lourensford Limited Release Shiraz Mourvedre Viognier 2018, R23S Dark and juicy, this elegant wine adds a touch of peppery heat to a smooth berry base. I love the little smidgeon of aniseed too.