A Guide To South African Wine

By: Fiona Muller

South Africa is a relatively new player in the international wine world, but is increasingly producing better wine through the years. It is good at producing wine which represents good value for money whether it be a table wine or a fine wine that you are looking for.

South Africa is classed as ‘New World’ but the wine that it produces is far from that. In fact it seems to bridge the gap between ‘Old World’ and ‘New World’ styles making the product that it produces one of great interest to anyone who has a passing interest in wine. Add to this a selection of grape varieties that are not found in the other wine producing nations and you can benefit from a whole range of unique wine.

Red wine is something that South Africa seems to be attracting a lot of attention for – Pinotage is one such variety which produces a red wine that is earthy and has a savoury taste to it – a unique take on red wine.

The most well known regions for wine production in South Africa are: Stellenbosch; Constantia; Paarl; and Walker Bay

Stellenbosch is close to Cape Town and is in fact the country’s largest wine growing area. The vineyards are surrounded by mountains and the town is a university town. It is a very picturesque place – ideal in fact for wine touring. Within this area there are several different regions but in general the east is known for the red wine, whereas the sandstone areas in the west are responsible for the whites.

Constantia is a region which is tucked away in one of the Southern suburbs of Cape Town. This area was one of the first regions planted with grapes and hence has a pedigree for producing high quality wine.

Paarl is North West of Cape Town and is traditionally home to white wine production. However in recent years it has diversified into red wine territory. This has been due to the climate here which is similar to a Mediterranean climate and therefore well suited for growing all types of grape. The vines here are grown on slopes and the vineyards that produce the best wine are those situated further up the slope.

Walker Bay is a cool climate region and it therefore famous for producing Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc. This region is the one to look out for especially as the wines that are currently coming out of here are somewhat unique in taste and could just be the next big thing

For a great range of South African wines, or just to browse wine in general, it is a good idea to consult an independent online wine retailer. You can browse wines in your chosen price range, and you can research before you buy.

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Fiona Muller has been writing for over 20 years. She is a qualified journalist and has worked in food and drink writing for the last few years. For more information on wine, go to - www.laithwaites.co.uk

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