Ever since a ragtag mercenary Dutch band arrived in Capetown under the leadership of a young surgeon Jan van Riebeeck in 1652, South Africa has been producing wine.
Today, South Africa regularly ranks among the world’s top 10 wine producers, but it has far more wine than consumers. More than 50 per cent of the wine produced must be exported and to achieve that prices are kept low.
The indigenous population prefers beer and spirits, and wine consumption occurs mainly in Johannesburg, Pretoria, Capetown, and resort areas frequented by tourists.
There are two types of wineries – huge conglomerates, and small boutique wineries that insist on producing quality wines in small quantities at medium prices.
The necessity of exporting wine forces all small and large wineries to compete in world markets, which results in value wines for consumers especially in the united Kingdom, Canada, the U.S.A and some northern European countries.
Generally, South African wines offer sufficiently high levels of ripe fruit aromas, full body, flavour depth and length. All are well balanced, usually requiring short cellaring.
While screw capped wines can be consumed shortly after purchase, they should be cellared for at least one week, if newly landed in a distant country, say Canada, Scandinavia, the United Kingdom or the U.S.A, and longer for settling.
There are medium-sized wineries that produce consistently fine wines and price them reasonably in an attempt to capture lost market share during the Apartheid.
Here are some:
Sauvignon Blanc, 2010 Durbanville Hills offers gooseberry aromas, has a crisp fresh and lingering aftertaste.
22251, $ 11.95
Sauvignon Blanc, 2010, Two Oceans has a bright light yellow colour with green tint, smells of gooseberries, and green figs. This is an elegant, light, crisp white wine to enjoy with light dishes.
340398, $ 9.95
Shiraz, 2008, Durbanville Hills offers an impressive deep red brilliant colour, toasty, smoky, spicy, peppery flavours and full body to match deeply flavoured foods.
22269, $ 11.95
Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot, 2008, Two Oceans an excellent blend of two popular French grape varieties transplanted in South Africa. Offers plum aromas, is smooth, full bodied, satisfying with a long aftertaste.
340398 $ 9.95
Sauvignon Blanc Brut Sparkling, 2010, Two Oceans has a pale straw colour, smells on pineapples, lychees, and a bouquet of tropical fruit.
In the mouth the wine is fresh, fruity, and zesty.
216705, $ 11.95