South Africa of­fers great value


This col­umn we are go­ing to take a look at a pair of South African white wines. This is a good chance to look at some of the af­ford­able everyday wines be­ing pro­duced by the world’' s ninth largest wine pro­ducer. South Africa has a long his­tory of qual­ity wine pro­duc­tion stretch­ing back to the first har­vest and crush in 1659!

Most of South Africa’s wine pro­duc­tion comes from the re­gion around Cape Town at the south­ern tip of the coun­try. It is here that the warm In­dian Ocean and the cold At­lantic Ocean meet to pro­duce the tem­per­ate Cape cli­mate. Moderate day- time tem­per­a­tures, plenty of sun­shine and cool evenings al­low grapes to ma­ture slowly and max­i­mize flavours.

Two Oceans Chardon­nay 2008 ( CSPC# 43570, $ 9.75) takes its name from this con­ver­gence of the In­dian and At­lantic. Medium bod­ied and aromatic with plenty of char­ac­ter and won­der­ful bal­ance, it’s a ver­sa­tile Chardon­nay ca­pa­ble of en­hanc­ing any oc­ca­sion.

Two Oceans has a gen­er­ous, open nose with for­ward aro­mas of cit­rus and trop­i­cal fruits with a touch of light pep­per and vanilla. The com­plex palate of­fers up ripe Granny Smith ap­ple, peach, pineap­ple and cit­rus fruit flavours. Un­der­ly­ing the fruit is just a touch of gen­tle oak, which adds an­other level of vanilla and spice flavours as well as a slightly creamy, but­tery char­ac­ter to the wine. This mix of light oak and fruit pro­duces a re­fresh­ing herbal edge to wine, which I char­ac­ter­ize as a hint of dill ( ab­so­lutely de­light­ful!).

The knife’s edge bal­ance be­tween fruit, oak and brac­ing cit­rus acid­ity is su­perb and dis­tin­guishes Two Oceans from many run-of-the-mill Chardon­nays. The fin­ish is long, zesty and re­fresh­ing, per­fect for sum­mer en­joy­ment.

You can serve it as an in­vig­o­rat­ing aper­i­tif, with fin­ger food, or as a brunch or lun­cheon wine. It also has the body and depth of flavour to match well with fresh­wa­ter fish, chicken and white meats and mod­er­ately spiced seafood dishes.

Slightly lighter in body, yet equally at­trac­tive, Beach House Sau­vi­gnon Semil­lon 2008 ( CSPC# 122390, $ 9.95) also hails from the Cape re­gion. The Sau­vi­gnon Semil­lon blend orig­i­nated in the Bor­deaux re­gion of France and adds com­plex­ity and an ex­tra di­men­sion of flavour as com­pared to a sin­gle va­ri­etal Sau­vi­gnon. The nose ex­hibits typ­i­cal Sau­vi­gnon aro- mas of goose­berry, trop­i­cal fruit, cit­rus and peach, with an added light flo­ral qual­ity cour­tesy of its Semil­lon com­po­nent.

Light to medium bod­ied, it still packs vi­brant, gen­er­ous fruit on the palate. This is again cour­tesy of the Semil­lon grapes, which add weight to the palate. In­tense goose­berry, grape­fruit and cit­rus fruit dom­i­nate with un­der­tones of green ap­ples, pears and a pep­pery black licorice qual­ity. A spicy, tangy acid­ity nicely bal­ances the fruit and is prom­i­nent on the long, com­plex fin­ish.

Beach House has just the right weight and bal­ance to start a meal as a zesty, re­fresh­ing aper­i­tif and then con­tinue pro­vid­ing yeo­man ser­vice as a great food wine. Seafood, par­tic­u­larly cala­mari, would make a sub­lime part­ner. Chicken, pro­sciutto and smoked sal­mon would also fare quite nicely.


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