South African White Wines
The majority of South African vineyards consist of white varieties, particularly Chenin Blanc. As South Africa becomes more popular as a wine producing area, more and more excellent wines are being produced.
South African white wines are particularly delicious.
Chenin Blanc, locally known as Steen, covers about 23% of South African vineyards, and produces a good natural wine, which covers the entire spectrum from sweet to dry, as well as Sherry and sparkling wine. Also used for distilling brandy and spirits, many enjoy its fruity taste.
Although Chenin Blanc is the mostly planted grape, Chardonnay is probably the most popular South African white wine. Much experimentation is being done with Chardonnay, including barrel fermentation and oak ageing. Chardonnay is traditionally used for the production of Champagne and also in some of the base wines from which Cap Classique wines are made. South African Chardonnay will generally have a citrus aroma, medium to heavy body and a slight oak taste. It is well paired with roast loin and salmon, as well as alongside cheeses and hors devours
Sauvignon Blanc is another popular South African white wine. Sauvignon Blanc grapes produce some exceptional wines, which have a distinct peppery or grassy character. Often aged in wood, it may also have a grapefruit scent to it. It’s a fresh, crisp easy drinking wine. This white wine is lighter in body when compared to Chardonnay. This is one of South Africa’s most successful varieties, with vineyards found in the Coastal and Breede River valley regions. It is also very well paired with shellfish, chicken or turkey dishes.
Riesling is a sweeter wine, typically with a light to medium body. It is aromatic and may have a floral scent. Although produced with oak, the sweetness usually overpowers this. This sweet wine will be enjoyed most with salads, grilled chicken or shellfish dishes.
Hanepoot is used especially for dessert wine, as well as natural wine and raisins. Nowhere else does any varietal form such a high percentage of a country’s total grape harvest. Hanepoot is a sweet wine, which delivers a strong, flowery bouquet and intense honey flavour.
South Africa is currently trying to balance its production and more South African red wine varieties can be found than in the past. However, there is no doubt that the delicious South African white wines will not suffer.