What to drink this week

South African whites

Country Life Every Week - - Town & Country Notebook -

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

Harry Eyres

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