South Africa

Hello All! We welcome you to come travel with us this month to South Africa! Each month we travel to a different region to bring you different styles and tastes of wine. When you come to visit us, get your passport book, and after enjoying your flight get your passport stamped with each region. Take a look below to learn which South African wines we are featuring for you!
For our White Flight we are featuring the following wines….

Fleur Du Cap, Chenin Blanc, 2021
This wine is brilliantly clear. The nose is fresh with intense aromas of citrus, apples and a stone fruit with a touch of oak spice, carried through to the palate. The time spend on the lees adds to the creaminess and roundness of the wine. It has a lingering crispy finish.
This wine works wonders with seafood such as shellfish, crayfish, oysters and mussels. It is a good choice with Thai and light chicken dishes as well as a mild bobotie. Serve chilled, but not ice cold.

The Western Cape’s diverse palette of wine growing regions allow Fleur Du Cap the perfect canvas to make wines that express the essence of a varietal. A masterful selection of fruit combined with the creativity of our winemakers, result in wines that express our vision, “freedom of expression.”

Excelsior, Sauvignon Blanc, 2021
An enticing bouquet of passion fruit, lime and ripe fig leads to complex flavors of citrus, herbs and gooseberry on the palate. A bracing acidity and long fruity finish balance out this invigorating, vibrant Sauvignon Blanc.Simply try on its own, or with fresh fish, oysters, or Asian style chicken.
The De Wets of Excelsior have a proud winemaking tradition dating back to 1967. The calcareous soils of the Robertson area were once used to raise champion thoroughbred horses, but now these soils are used to produce fine wines.

Mulderbosch, Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé, 2021
With its burnished copper hues it radiates charm, and the promise of a deliciously refreshing drop of wine. Fresh strawberries and a subtle chalky note define the nose. The palate is framed by beautifully balanced, succulent fruit flavours and a fine, mineral finish. palate has an effortless poise about it. Sweet-fruited Cabernet Sauvignon flavours and early-picked natural acidity make for an intense palate that refreshes with each sip.
Mulderbosch is widely considered one of South Africa’s iconic wineries and has established a reputation for excellence since 1989. They are tireless in their pursuit of making wines of the highest quality to honor their proud heritage and to be enjoyed by all!

Graham Beck Brut, NV, Methode Cap Classique
Affectionately dubbed the “President’s Choice”, the Brut NV was served at Nelson Mandela’s inauguration ceremony.
NV — Non-Vintage. Meaning the bottle of sparkling wine is a blend of juice from more than one vintage year.
This delightful sparkling wine exudes light yeasty aromas, limey fresh fruit on the nose, and rich creamy complexity on the palate. This Brut NV is intended to cleanse the palate, stimulate the taste buds and entice you to progress to the ‘next level’ in your tasting journey as you savour the nuances and complexities of the other bubblies in our portfolio. When introduced to the Brut NV your love affair with Graham Beck begins – this versatile and engaging bubbly will soon become an absolute staple in your repertoire. Always ensure you have a bottle or several stashed in the refrigerator!Perfect with seafood or light meats.

You’ll be in good company indeed when savouring this iconic Graham Beck bubbly.In the pursuit of the perfect bubble, their passion and pride shine through in every meticulous step to craft Méthode Cap Classique sparkling wines which define elegance and complexity. The Brut NV strikes the perfect balance between creamy nuances and fresh finesse which is a firm favorite of international icons and everyday wine lovers alike.
For our Red Flight we are featuring the following wines….

The Pepper Pot, David Finlayson, 2019
Made from grown grapes in the Stellenbosch and Paarl regions, this wine is created to show the fresh, fruity and spice driven flavors of these Rhone varietals. The color is youthful and purple/red. The nose is one of crushed black pepper, dark mulberry and mixed berry coulis. Made from grapes grown in the Stellenbosch and Paarl regions from multiple vineyards, ranging from close to the Indian Ocean to the mountains of Paarl. Pure, clean dark red berry flavours flow onto a smooth palate with sufficient structure to warrant enjoyment with food such as Gourmet Pizza with Carpaccio and rocket salad.

Braai Pinotage, 2020
The earliest archaeological evidence of barbecue (Braai) is found in South Africa. On September 24th of each year the country celebrates Heritage Day, which in 2007 was renamed Braai4Heritage as a testament to its cultural importance in South Africa. The essence of braai is captured in this Pinotage, South Africa’s only native grape that is a hybrid between Pinot Noir and Cinsault, a perfect pairing for meat cooked over a wood flame. Brimming with juicy dark fruit and a bright, balanced acidity.Braai is a noun, a verb, a way of life. Unlike barbecues, which are mainly reserved for the warmer months in many parts of the world, South Africans braai all year round in any type of weather!“Braai” can refer to the grill, the meal, the act of cooking said meal or an event in which everyone gathers around the fire. A proper braai only uses wood as the fuel source, which allows the smoke to envelope meat, fish and veggies alike. Braaing takes time, providing the opportunity for everyone to gather around the fire and enjoy each other’s company as the food slowly cooks to perfection (alongside some great wine of course!).They are passionate about braaiing, which prompted our mission to not only share the concept here at home in the US, but also to craft a wine that captures its essence. We wanted the perfect wines to pour at our own braais!

This South African grape pairs wonderfully with BBQ and meats like lamb, game and pork chops. It is also a surprisingly good pairing with curry.
Cabernet Sauvignon, David Finlayson, 2019
Produced from four outstanding clones of Cabernet Sauvignon planted on different sites in the Stellenbosch area. Made to exude absolute purity of varietal character and as such display true Cabernet Sauvignon cassis and black current flavors. The wine has a fresh, minty herbaceousness backed by mocha/vanilla oak. Firm structured tannins and a long finish on the palate show good ageing potential.
Intense aromas of ripe plums and blackberries with hints of pinewood and wet soil. Medium-bodied with juicy fruit, soft tannins and a savory finish.
David Finlayson’s robust Cabernet Sauvignon provides the ideal companion to many dishes, including Ossobuco, Braised Venison served with caramelized onions, and dry aged beef, preferably in the form of a Rib-Eye, Porterhouse, or Tomahawk steak, topped with Portabella mushrooms and a rich, herb-infused sauce. Ground Turkey and Lentil Chili makes a delicious accompaniment, too, as do fine ripe cheeses such as Comté and Gouda. Bon Appétit!

Glenelly Cabernet Sauvignon, 2019
It develops a very complex nose with flavours of cassis, blackcurrant, cherry, a touch of spices and perfume. The wine has a good tannin structure, perfect balance and length, with flavours of cedar, dried cherry and blackcurrant on the palette.
Inspired by antique glasses from May de Lencquesaing’s private collection, Glenelly’s Glass Collection celebrates the parallels between the art of making wine and the art of making glass. Both glass and fine wine come from poor soil, and just as the glassblower breathes life into glass, the winemaker’s love gives life to wine.

Pair this beautiful Cabernet Sauvignon with burgers and ribs from the grill, tourtiere, slow-braised beef blade roast.
South Africa is one of the most prominent wine-producing countries in the Southern Hemisphere. Since the end of apartheid, the South African wine industry has enjoyed international attention and acclaim for its wide variety of wine styles and grape varieties.
South African wine has a history dating back to 1659 with the first bottle being produced in Cape Town by its founder and gouverner Jan van Riebeeck. Access to international markets led to new investment in the South African wine market.

The South African wine regions are principally the Coastal Region, Klein Karoo, Cape South Coast, Olifants River, Breede River Valley, and several further wards not part of a region. The main hub concentrating in the Stellenbosch and Paarl districts. All wine country is beautiful, but South Africa’s surely has to be the most dramatic; with the striking views of Table Mountain, luscious green pastures contrasting with brilliant white façades of colonial Dutch architecture.

The wine lover is completely spoilt for choice here, with so many exceptional wineries of varying styles in a relatively small area – the Western Cape. Stunning boutique hotels, fine dining and modern gastronomic experiences, spectacular scenery, legendary wineries, and modern cellars. Visiting South Africa’s wine country is an unforgettable experience.

With more than 300 years of history, South African winemaking is often described as bridging the gap between the Old World and New. The majority of wines are made using New World winemaking techniques but often have more in common stylistically with their Old World counterparts.
Vineyards are found distributed around the lush, rugged landscape of the Western Cape. Here, the abundance of mountains, valleys and plateaus allow winemakers to produce a diverse range of styles. Wineries are also found in the Northern Cape’s Orange River region, where the flat, barren landscape is dominated by the Kalahari Desert.

ClimateMost of South Africa’s wine-producing regions have a Mediterranean climate, significantly influenced by the meeting of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. Vineyards are rarely found more than 50 kilometers (31 miles) from the coastline.

This proximity allows for cooling sea breezes to penetrate into the vineyards of which is particularly beneficial throughout the summer months. It also moderates the temperature so that spring-time frosts are uncommon at the crucial time of flowering and budburst.

Said moisture-laden breezes are funnelled through the Cape mountain range with the undulating landscape creating multiple mesoclimates for viticulture. This is also true with seasonal fog in March and August but it is ‘The Cape Doctor’ southwesterly wind that is most influential. It vehemently blows during spring and summer to inhibit the development of various mildew diseases in the vineyard.

Grape varietiesThe country’s signature variety is Pinotage, an indigenous crossing of Pinot Noir and Cinsaut that is rarely found in quantity in any other wine-producing country. Shiraz is widely planted also, as are Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot (often found together in a Bordeaux Blend).
However, it is white grape varieties that account for 55 percent of the country’s 93,000 hectares (230,000 acres) of vineyards. Chenin Blanc is the republic’s most planted grape with 18.5 percent of all plantings. While it has not retained its earlier dominance within vineyards as a source of brandy and fortified wines, it retains its number one position having largely transitioned into a role providing crisp dry white wines.

However, the finest white wines are produced from Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, both of which have become popular on an international level in recent years. The Cape style of Chardonnay is an perfect exemplar of the crossover between New and Old World styles of wine whilst South African Sauvignon Blanc is widely unoaked with top examples displaying honeysuckle, green melon and minerality.

The Wine of Origin system, a legal structure introduced in 1972 to acknowledge and protect the diversity of terroir in the country, classifies South Africa into the regions, districts and wards where vineyards are found.

History of South African winemakingVines were first planted in South Africa by Dutch settlers in the 1650s, although wine production did not really begin to take off until French Huguenots arrived with viticultural skills and knowledge in the 1680s. South Africa’s oldest wine estate is located in Constantia, where the production of the legendary dessert wine Vin de Constance gave the region worldwide fame in the 18th and 19th centuries. Stellenbosch is equally historic as a wine-producing region, the first vineyards having been planted in the 1690s.

The South African wine industry suffered numerous setbacks during the 19th and 20th centuries. A devastating outbreak of phylloxera in the 1860s severely reduced the vineyard area. The subsequent replanting – often using high-yielding grape varieties such as Cinsaut – led to large-scale overproduction.

This in turn prompted the South African government to fund the Kooperatieve Wijnbouwers Vereniging van Zuid-Afrika (the South African Co-Operative Wine Growers Association, better known as KWV). Throughout the 20th Century, KWV restricted the production of wines in such a way that innovation was near impossible and quantity was prioritized over quality.

Yields were restricted and minimum prices set at a level which encouraged production of brandy and fortified wine. KWV’s control over the South African wine sector lasted until the 1990s, and even now, the country’s industry is unusual for its high number of co-operatives.

South African wine fell out of favor internationally during the 20th Century, reaching an all time low when trade sanctions were placed on the country in the 1980s due to its apartheid policies. Nelson Mandela’s release in 1990 and subsequent election as President reinvigorated the industry: wines from the Rust en Vrede estate in Stellenbosch were served at his 1993 Nobel Peace Prize ceremony dinner in Oslo, Norway.

More recently, one of the most challenging years for the South African wine industry was 2020 with the restrictions imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic. From the 26th of March until the 16th of April any trade or manufacturing of alcoholic products was prohibited. Thankfully, a concession was made for the wine industry to complete harvest-related activities, however, restrictions on the domestic sale and transport of alcohol around the country were enforced well into 2021.–