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South African wines: the industry’s best kept secret

31st January 2017 tagged Pinotage, Sauvignon Blanc, South African Wines

Many people around the world still regard South Africa as an uncharted territory when it comes to great wines.  Those who have indulged in local winery delights can testify that the country has much more to offer than just Fairview’s Goats do Roam. Local producers owe a huge debt of gratitude to South Africa’s warm climate. It gives their production the irresistible taste of ripe, silky fruit and helps retain its bright acidity.

Fresh, food-friendly and high on alcohol, this is how the local industry depicts its wines. The Western Cape is the region that host the greatest share of the wine production. And the quality of the drinks is guaranteed by a system called the Wines of Origin.

The South African wine industry has its glorious history which can be traced back to the 17th century. Back then a Dutch surgeon planted the first South African vineyard near Cape Town. It was meant to provide sailors travelling on the Spice route with fresh fruit.  The endeavour flourished in the centuries to come. By the early 1900s more than 80 million vines had been replanted, creating a wine lake. Later, the South African wine industry became one of the world’s best kept secrets due to the apartheid and the restrictions it enforced on the country.  The end of the century saw a wine Renaissance in South Africa as the world was now free to rediscover its delights. Many local producers decided to move with the times and promptly adopted new viticultural and winemaking technologies.

In 1990, less than 30% of all the grapes harvested were used for wine production meant for the consumer market. By 2003 the numbers has risen to 70% of the grapes harvested that year reaching the consumer market as wine. According to the South Africa is currently the world’s ninth largest wine producer with more than 600 wineries and 6,000 wines.

But which are the best South African wines? Ultimately it’s all up to you to decide. We can only point out that Pinotage is undoubtedly the gem in the crown of the South African wine industry. It’s the country’s very own wine.

Just for your enjoyment we at St Marcus have compiled a list of our favourite South African wines. As always, they all can be found here.

Diemersfontein Coffee Pinotage is a best-selling wine here at St. Marcus. It exudes a rich coffee aroma, while the fruity palate contains just a hint of cinnamon and chocolate. This wine is perfect for the novice and connoisseur alike.

A lovely light salmon colour, the Boschendal Blanc de Noir has a ripe, red fruit aroma with an elegant taste.

Boekenhoutskloof Chocolate Block is a very popular wine. Known for its powerful profile on the palate, what really shines is the hint of cocoa. One the nose, the wine has aromas of blackcurrant and sweet spices.

Boschendal Pavillion Sauvignon Blanc is a pale wine, with hints of honeysuckle and tangerine. While the aroma is of lemongrass and gooseberry, providing a crisp wine with a satisfying citrus finish.