South African White Wines
…from IWC 2016's South African Specialist Award Winner!
South Africa’s white grape is Chenin Blanc, a local speciality: after all, there’s a lot more Chenin planted in the Cape than there is in its Loire homeland.
We always offer half a dozen pure or Chenin-dominated styles, from thrillingly crisp and mineral via fruity and weighty to oaked examples.
Chardonnay is also hugely successful in the Cape, at every price level, but especially from cooler zones such as the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley and Franschhoek. Likewise even if it’s too hot in most of the winelands for Sauvignon Blanc, the best, from cool coastal vineyards, successfully bestride the gap between Loire and New Zealand styles.
The most exciting recent development in the Cape is the emergence of South African white blends as a real national strength: these now come in three styles: Chenin-based blends with a seasoning of varieties from Chardonnay, Sauvignon to oddball extras; white Bordeaux blends majoring on Sauvignon and Semillon; and Rhône blends featuring Viognier, Marsanne, Roussanne, Grenache Blanc, and Clairette - with perhaps some Chenin.