South Africa Wines

2 Unique Offerings

South Africa makes an incredibly wide variety of wines from a number of different grapes. As we’ve talked about in other parts of the site and our blogs we believe at Uncorked Ventures that some of the best International wines come right from our own backyard, so we looked farther outside of the USA for truly special wines, or at least varietals which are not commonly grown closer to home.

Luckily for wine drinkers South Africa produces two such grapes, that are both highly unusual:

  1. Chenin Blanc, also known as Steen. If you know the history behind Chenin Blanc you’re probably shaking your head at its inclusion on this page, please follow us to the end. A white wine grape originally from the Loire Valley in France. Chenin Blanc is the most planted grape in South Africa, it makes generally a flat unmemorable wine. It was once used to create Port and Sherry for export to other British colonies. Once the European Union passed new laws to limit the use of the name Port to producers from Portugal and the use of the name Sherry to producers from Spain, South Africa was left with a lot of planted vines, on great soil and without a market.

    If you’re interested in trying this rather unique wine-what should you look for?

    We suggest you look for a dry wine which is going to have flavors of apples, lemon, pear or even some of their local vegetation such as quince.

    What should you pair it with? Generally speaking we’d suggest fish dishes, especially a grilled trout or boiled lobster.
  2. Pinotage. Pinotage is a cross between Pinot Noir(a cold weather grape) and a French varietal that most a unfamiliar with, Cinsaut (a warm weather grape). Perhaps no other varietal in the world is as unique as Pinotage, as it seems growers in effect tried to create a grape that would grow perfectly in their unique climate. Pinotage also sometimes gives winemakers fits during the fermentation process, turning bad and being bottled only to yield a smell similar to paint. Your guess is as good as ours at this point about the future of Pinotage, but at Uncorked Ventures we certainly hope that worldwide winemakers are able to have more unique grapes and varietals, not less. Personally, I’d love to find a good producer of Pinotage, just for the conversation that it would create with friends and family. It is on my to-do list at present time.