South African Wine; Affordable and Seriously Accomplished

By on July 8th, 2022 in Blog
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They say beautiful wine has to be made in a beautiful place and the South African winemaking regions are picture-postcard-stunning. They are often located near mountains and coastlines where cooling breezes and lower nighttime temperatures help slow down ripening. These stunning settings not only provide conditions for richer, fuller flavours to develop in the grapes but encourage plenty of wine tourism. Providing extra resources for maintaining and improving quality. Below we have chosen wines from wineries which easily rank amongst our favourites from anywhere in the world. They are layered, complex, skillfully made and incredibly easy to drink. And not only that, it’s almost impossible to better them for the price. Punching above their weight seems to be the standard here – not the exception.

Jordan Wine Estate The Real McCoy

Was there ever a more appropriate name for a wine? For some Riesling may still have the sweet, low-quality taint of cheap German wines from the 80s but this should be consigned to history. Only Germany and France’s Alsace make off-dry Riesling these days, so you can rest assured this South African example will be good and dry. Extraordinarily well-grown fruit is vinified to perfection here. The Real McCoy has flavours of peach apricot, honey, lime zest, a touch of rosemary, a little yoghurt and that typical Riesling hint of kerosene at the back. And all for well under £15?! We’re struggling to think of a better value-for-money wine available. Anywhere. It’s because of this and their many other fantastic wines that Jordan Estate are one of our very best-loved producers. A bit like the greatest hits, each wine delivers excellence well above its price point.

the real mccoy riesling jordan wine estate south african wine

Bon Courage Jacques Bruére Cap Classique Brut Reserve

Méthode Cap Classique is a term we should all be more familiar with. It describes South Africa’s traditional method (aka Champagne Method), sparkling wine. And like Champagne, the more time it rests on its ‘Lees’ the better – Lees are the dead yeast cells left in the bottle once they’ve finished converting sugars into alcohol during the second fermentation (the one that makes the wine fizzy). This Brut Reserve has had at least 4 years on its lees. By comparison, most Champagne only gets 12 – 18 months. This is why it’s got those lovely biscuity/ pastry/ brioche-y characteristics. It’s also bursting with ripe fruit flavours of white peach, bruised apple, nectarine and dried apricot. Something most Champagnes can only dream of, due to that cool northern climate their grapes are grown in. Put simply, this is one of the best sparklers for less than £20 from anywhere in the world.

Bon Courage Wine Estate Jacques Bruére Cap Classique Brut Reserve south african wine

Post House Penny Black

A backdrop of mountains with the most southerly tip of Africa in the distance and a sparkling ocean beyond. Post House nails the ‘beautiful wine from a beautiful place’ brief. And it’s yet another South African winery that offers jaw-dropping quality for outrageously sensible prices. Their Penny Black is a fairly unique blend of Cab Sav, Merlot, Shiraz and Petit Verdot with Chenin Blanc, South Africa’s principal white variety. What they have achieved is simply sensational. It has enormous complexity with ripe dark berries, cherries and plums, cranberry, black pepper, clove, super fine tannin and perfectly judged acid balance. Also, a wonderful hum of expensive cigar boxes frames everything beautifully. Our advice? Buy as much as you can and keep as many as possible for the next 5-10 years. It drinks superbly now, but just you wait… To quote our tasting note: ‘wines like this make drinking an honour’.

Post House Penny Black south african wines

Cape Chamonix Chardonnay Reserve

We’d like to invite you to play a little game: Can you tell the difference between an excellent white Burgundy costing £150 and this ridiculously good oaked Chardonnay from the ‘New World’ for less than £30? In a blind tasting, I’d have to say no. Cape Chamonix’s Chardonnay Reserve is pretty much all the expensively made Chard you need. Looking back at our original tasting notes, you can tell the wines that stand out. They’re the ones with the most creative aroma and flavour descriptors. To quote a few: ‘freshly made egg noodles’; ‘ old suitcase’; ‘browned sweet-tart pastry base’; ‘posh custard’; ‘the aftertaste of soft Italian blue cheese’; ‘best bits of a freshly baked croissant‘. I could go on. It’s got age, balance, elegance and layer upon layer of incredible flavours to linger over. This vintage is pretty much at its peak now, so don’t hang about!

Cape Chamonix Chardonnay Reserve