You have probably never tasted a wine from South Africa. When wines from Australia and South America were being introduced into the American market, South African wines were under international boycott due to apartheid. By the time apartheid ended and the boycott lifted, it was too late. The U.S. market was overrun with wines from all over the world and South Africa couldn’t compete. It’s unfortunate because South African wines are high quality and relatively inexpensive. The wines below are representative of what is being produced there. The most interesting is the Fantail Pinotage. Pinotage is a hybrid of Pinot Noir and Cinsaut, a native South African grape. Pinotage wines are unique to South Africa, easy to drink and work well with food. Keep your eye out for South African wines when you’re shopping at larger wine stores or browsing an upscale wine list.
Morgenhof Estate Brut Reserve from South Africa
Sparkling Wine, Blended White - Chardonnay, Pinot Noir
Notes: This wine has a biscuit nose with peach and grapefruit flavors. The palate is elegantly fresh with hints of passion fruit, ending in a creamy mouth-feel with a long rich finish.
A Sweet White – Cost: $$$ out of $$$$$
Ridgeback Vansha from South Africa
Blended White - Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Viognier
Notes: An upfront, tropical array of pineapple, pear and lemon rind with hints of lavender spice is complimented by a creamy midpalate with notes of white peach lingering on the finish.
A Drier White – Cost: $$ out of $$$$$
Morgenhof Fantail from South Africa
Red Varietal - Pinotage
Notes: An elegant wine with flavors of strawberries and raspberries and a hint of spice on the nose. These flavors follow through onto a fruity palate that finishes with rounded fruity tannins.
A Soft Red – Cost: $$ out of $$$$$