Exotic in a glass: the most popular wines of South Africa
Sultry Africa is the birthplace of exotic fruits, many of which have safely moved to our latitudes and are firmly established in the daily menu. But the amazing and in many ways unique wines of South Africa are still a rarity for many.
Harmony of two souls
The business card of a fairly solid collection of South African wines is “Pinotage”. It is made from a special hybrid grape obtained from the varieties “Pinot Noir” and “Cinso”. By the way, it is often mixed with the famous “merlot” and “sauvignon”, getting very successful combinations. From its prominent parents, Pinotage took only the best: a rich aroma with notes of wild berries, vanilla and coffee, as well as a rich taste with accents of prunes and cherries. This dry red wine perfectly complements grilled fish, spicy dishes and hard cheeses.
Magic of the tropics
Historically, white wines are superior in quality to the red wines of South Africa. “Sauvignon Blanc” comes from the Stellenbosch region — the best proof of this. The straw-colored drink with golden highlights attracts with an original bouquet with hints of tropical fruits, figs and hot pepper. It tastes like honey melon and juicy pineapple. This variation is the perfect aperitif on a hot summer day. However, with the same success, the wine can be served with seafood, poultry or pasta.
The wine “Giraffe” deserves a special mention. South Africa is famous for a special variety of these graceful animals, which, in fact, is dedicated to the wine. It is produced in the Western Cape province from selected varieties of “Sauvignon Blanc”. The multi-faceted bouquet organically combines notes of apple, strawberry, pear and melon with an admixture of herbal shades. This bright symphony turns into a delicate aftertaste, giving off nuances of citrus and white currant. The Giraffe wine is best combined with sea fish and fruit.
Another very popular dry white wine of South Africa is “Chenin Blanc” from the Svartland region, or, as it is called by local winemakers, “Steen”. The complex and attractive aroma conquers with a combination of tropical tones, nuances of spicy apple and noble oak. In a long creamy aftertaste, velvety shades of juicy pear, ripe peaches and fragrant orange peel dissolve. This versatile wine is suitable for vegetable salads and seafood appetizers, fish and white meat dishes.
Pearl of the outback
The Bride River Valley is an inland wine-growing region of South Africa, characterized by a dry, hot climate. The breath of the ocean does not penetrate here, and the vineyards are watered by river waters. This is how they cultivate, in particular, the “chardonnay” grapes for dry white wine. Its aroma is dominated by intriguing motifs of citrus and iris. And the intense silky taste is replete with hints of juicy apple, roasted almonds and oak nuances. Salads with shellfish, pasta with shrimp and mature cheeses will help you appreciate this bouquet.
Lovers of rich dessert drinks should definitely try a sweet white wine based on “muscat of Alexandria” from the Oliphants River Valley. It fascinates with its bright lemon color and honey aroma with hints of dried fruits. A soft, harmonious taste will only enhance the pleasant sensations. The exquisite sweetness of apricot, pineapple and raisins smoothly dissolves in a long, caressing aftertaste. This nutmeg is good in itself. But if desired, it can be supplemented with pudding, fresh or dried fruit.
Today, red South African wines are rapidly approaching white in quality. This is confirmed by the wine “Cabernet Sauvignon”. Very worthy variations of it are produced in the region of Durbanville. The garnet-colored drink with a purple tint is distinguished by a seductive fruit bouquet with nuances of caramel, cinnamon and mocha coffee. Juicy fruit motifs, echoing with spicy notes, smoothly turn into a long aftertaste. This wine is a good choice for stewed beef, grilled game and mature cheeses.
Another noble representative of red wines — “Pinot Noir”. For its tasting, it is best to go to Constance, the oldest wine region in South Africa. An indelible impression is made by the rich aroma, which is dominated by accents of wild cherries and ripe juicy plums. In a perfectly balanced taste, you can feel the play of berry shades, which ends with an amazing creamy aftertaste. Snacks with meat pate and poultry dishes will allow you to catch its subtle nuances.
Among the dry red wines of South Africa, Shiraz is particularly popular, especially the varieties produced in the coastal regions. The dark ruby color of the wine fascinates with a wonderful bouquet consisting of aromas of garden fruits and wild berries framed by cloves, nutmeg and roasted almonds. Delicate raspberry, blackberry and cherry motifs, mixed with notes of oak and liquorice, give an exciting aftertaste. The ideal gastronomic pair for such a drink is a meat stew, beef stroganoff or berry dessert.
Africa, for many, remains a distant, unexplored corner of the world, which holds many amazing mysteries. Unravel one of them will help the white and red wines of South Africa, which have absorbed the powerful spirit and primeval beauty of the hot continent.
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