Grapes from the Cape: South Africa’s signature wine styles | Wine

Cape Level Fairtrade Sauvignon Blanc, South Africa 2022 (£7, The Co-op) South Africa makes some fabulous superb wines, made by producers who go to typically excessive lengths to seek out their plots of outdated vines in distant and strange locations, and which style like they may solely come from a selected a part of the world. That’s one facet of the story. The opposite is the winelands’ capability to create excellent-value bottles full of what wine folks name ‘varietal character’: ie wines that style just like the grape they’re produced from. In lots of circumstances, the producer behind the discount £7 bottle and the winemaker producing the arrestingly evocative ‘wine of place’ are one and the identical. Such is the case with Cape Level, on the southern tip of the Cape, which makes the outstandingly wealthy however incisive Isliedh 2020 (£39.75, and the zippy, mouthwatering Fairtrade bottling at The Co-op.

Sainsbury’s Style the Distinction Fairtrade Chenin Blanc, South Africa 2022 (£8.50, Sainsbury’s) Sauvignon blanc has turn out to be one of many Cape’s calling playing cards in recent times, its producers having hit on a contented medium of a method that sits very properly between the extra restrained nettly greenness of the Loire, and the vivaciously expressive model of New Zealand. However sauvignon remains to be a way off competing with South Africa’s largest and brightest varietal star, chenin blanc, which is behind an outsized proportion of the Cape’s most attention-grabbing wines. These bottles may be great-value single-varietal expressions, such because the vigorous and tropically tangy dry white from Sainsbury’s. Or white blends wherein chenin stars, reminiscent of two from one of many Cape’s most artistic winemakers, Adi Badenhorst: the peachy, contemporary The Curator White Mix 2022 (£8.99, Waitrose) and the astonishingly advanced Kalmoesfontein White 2020 (£32.95,

Stellenrust Outdated Bush Vine Cinsault, South Africa 2021 (£9.99, Waitrose) The pink grape with which South Africa is most related, and which you actually don’t discover to any nice extent anyplace else, is one which even South African winemakers haven’t all the time discovered simple to like: over time pinotage hasn’t a lot divided opinion as arrange a collection of full-blown, red-in-the-face arguments about its deserves. Lately, a number of the warmth has come out of the talk, as winemakers have realized to mood the kind of ashtray-and-bubblegum-style reds that turned so many drinkers away. It’s best lending a number one supple character to a mix, such because the savoury Bordeaux-esque Kanonkop Kadette, Stellenbosch 2019 (£12, Tesco), and the gorgeously gentle, slinky, perfumed Rhône-ish mixture with grenache, syrah and mourvèdre that’s Maanschijn Herbarium, Walker Bay 2021 (£23.50, For single-varietal pink wines, in the meantime, I reckon pinotage is eclipsed by its mother and father: pinot noir and cinsault, with the latter chargeable for the splash of summery pink fruit and earthy tones of Stellenrust’s great-value pink.

Comply with David Williams on Twitter @Daveydaibach

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