What to drink this week
South African whites
If South African wines haven’t featured heavily in this column, that isn’t because of any bias against the Cape, one of the world’s most beautiful and fascinating wine areas. The historic problems with vine material have largely been solved— investment has, perhaps, been slower to pour in than in certain other places, but South Africa is certainly on the up. For the time being, I find the whites more consistently enjoyable than the reds.
Why you should be drinking them
South Africa is proving increasingly adept at making Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, the biggest globetrotters among white grapes. It also has a unique strength in old bushvine Chenin Blanc, the vine of the Loire Valley, which achieves a special, honeyed fragrance in the Cape. Because of the relative weakness of the rand, even against our poor old pound, value for money is generally excellent.
What to drink
Waitrose Foundation Chenin Blanc 2016 Cederberg (£8.99; www. waitrose.com) has the requisite honeyed notes on the nose and is long, with excellent acidity on the palate—this is excellent value if you want an unoaked Chenin. Oldenburg Vineyards Chenin Blanc 2013 (£15.99; www.winerack.co.uk) has quite a rich, baked-apple fragrance, with some toasty oak. A full-bodied wine, it tastes almost sweet, although it has practically no residual sugar. Rustenberg Chardonnay 2015 Stellenbosch (right, £13.99; www.waitrose.com) is serious stuff: it seems on the ripe, soft side at first, then builds beautifully in the mouth towards complexity and elegance.
Certain whites from the Cape have a special, honeyed fragrance, finds