Wine Regions of South Africa

South Africa is a major and exciting New World player, making all possible styles of wine, from green and tangy whites, through to rich and toasty; and from light and juicy reds, to spicy and robust. There are fortified wines too, both light and dry sherry-like ones and sweet, dark ones in the style of port. Muscadelle and Muscat of Alexandria are both used for a whole range of dessert and fortified wines, usually with a wonderful combination of flowery aromatics and luscious, chocolaty sweetness.



Location
Nearly all South Africa's wine regions are clustered around Cape Town in the south-west of the country.

Grapes
- Red: Pinotage, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah/ Shiraz and Merlot
- White: Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling and Chenin Blanc (Steen)

Look Out For
- Cape Chamonix (Franschhoek)
- De Wetshof Estate (Robertson)
- Hamilton Russell (Walker Bay)
- Nederburg (Paarl)
- Riebeek Cellars (Swartland)
- Steenberg (Contstantia)
- Warwick Estate (Stellenbosch)

South Africa first came to prominence for its white wines, and Chenin Blanc (known locally as Steen), Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc all do well here. The best of these wines are light and crisp, with contrasting elements of fruit and minerals. Whilst South African Sauvignon Blanc is not particularly significant in terms of volume, it is one of their most successful varieties. Colombard makes a pleasantly fruity, usually dry white wine.

The reds are equally interesting. Elegant Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot are both grown here; sometimes bottled varietally, and sometimes blended, Bordeaux-style. Shiraz is also produced with some success, as are other southern French grapes. Perhaps the most intriguing though, is Pinotage, South Africa's very own grape variety - a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsault. This can produce both fruity, vibrant Beaujolais Nouveau style reds, and much more serious, oak-aged, robust, ageworthy examples.

At their best, South African wines epitomise the fusion of Old and New World styles. They can have the ripe, forward fruit of Australia, yet maintain the firmness and structure of fine Burgundy or Bordeaux.

Constantia
Home to the famous dessert wine, Vin de Constance ...
Franschhoek
An important wine region, producing red, whites, sparkling wines and Ports ...
Paarl
The home of the KWV - the Co-operative Growers' Association ...
Robertson
South Africa's Chardonnay region ...
Stellenbosch
South Africa's leading wine region, best known for its Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinotage ...
Swartland
A comparatively young wine area, centred around the Riebeek Valley ...
The Walker Bay Wine Region
An area becoming famous for Burgundy style Chardonnay and Pinot Noir ...
Worcester
Home to the largest brandy distiller in the world: the KWV Brandy Cellar ...