‘South Africa has long been penalised in the international wine market for not having a signature brand…[but] if the Cape wine industry does not benefit from a transcendent superstar grape,…

‘South Africa has long been penalised in the international wine market for not having a signature brand…[but] if the Cape wine industry does not benefit from a transcendent superstar grape, it fields a deep team of varieties, with a talented bench waiting to come into play.’ — Stephen Tanzer, well-known and widely respected American wine critic.

In his recent article on Vinous.com titled, ‘South Africa’s Ongoing Wine Revolution,’ Stephen Tanzer draws attention to South Africa’s lack of, what he labels, a ‘superstar grape’. Unlike Argentina with its Malbec, Oregon with it’s Pinot Noir and New Zealand with its Sauvignon Blanc, South Africa is not particularly renowned for any one variety.

But, as Tanzer so neatly explains in sporting terms, South African winemakers are producing great wine across various grape varieties and are still exploring; not being afraid to experiment with new variety combinations.

Tanzer lists several South African-grown varieties that he thinks are outstanding, including Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay, Viognier, Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache and Syrah/Shiraz. But he shows marked enthusiasm for the new wave of complex and creative blends cropping up across our winelands.

As he notes, local winemakers — and very talented younger producers — are not just producing the established Bordeaux blends but are also bravely experimenting with both red and white Rhone and Mediterranean grape varieties.

Some of the local producers in Tanzer’s article:

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