South African Red Wines
Vineyards cover about 100 200 hectares in South Africa and red varietals account for 45% of the national vineyard.
On top of the list of red varietals is Cabernet Sauvignon, accounting for 15% of that total. Shiraz is at 9% while Pinotage (indigenous to South Africa) and Merlot represent 7%. Due to increasing demand, the industry has to increase its red varietals plantings.
South African white wines were once concentrated on , but now 75% of new plantings are red varietals. However, red varietals still only make up 15% of South Africa’s total grape crop.
Pinotage, indigenous to South Africa, is cultivated locally on a fairly large scale. It has become one of South Africa’s most famous varietals and was first released in 1961. Drinkable when young, and able to produce complex and fruity wines with age. It has a deep aroma and generous tannins, and pairs well with ham and beef entrees.
A popular wine in South Africa, Cabernet Sauvignon comprises the majority of red varieties in present vineyards, making up about 7% of total plantings. Cabernet Sauvignon is bold in flavour and generally a dry wine, which develops well with age into a spicy, full and complex wine. Cabernet Sauvignon is often mixed (usually with Merlot) to produce another exciting wine blend. A bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon with almost any meal is a good idea, but at its best alongside robust dishes such as meats and pastas.
Merlot is also a big production in South Africa. As mentioned previously, this wine is often blended with Cabernet Sauvignon with a wonderful result. South African Merlots have a deep fruity flavour with bold overall taste. Always a favourite with the ladies, this chocolaty wine is best served with pasta, steak or venison.
Shiraz is a wine which is made in several different styles in South Africa. Most Shiraz vineyards can be found in the Cape, in the districts of Stellenbosch, Paarl and the Swartland. South Africa does not stay behind when it comes to worldly trends, and in the ‘wine world’ Shiraz is currently the rage. So a South African Shiraz is definitely something to add to the collection. It is known for producing purple smoky and spicy wines, which develop complex character with age.
South Africa is known to have climates which are ideal for producing some phenomenal wines, which it does not fail to do. Although these are only some of the red wines in South Africa, one will find many more amongst the hundreds of wineries especially around the beautiful Cape.