Yorkshire Post - YP Magazine
South Africa’s wine industry has suffered a great deal as a result of the pandemic, but there are ways that we can support it.
Imiss South Africa. This is the time of year when I should be there, catching up on a little Vitamin D, gentle exercise and lots of wine visits. There is nothing better than boarding an evening flight from a grey, cold UK and landing in Cape Town in time for a sunshine lunch with a view of Table Mountain. But it won’t happen this winter which is why I have decided to taste more South African wines just to bring some Southern Hemisphere sunshine into my glass.
South African wines are ideal for so many occasions. From great value, easy drinking everyday wines to complex, deepflavoured gems clearly showing their link to individual soils and microclimates, South Africa has it. This country can also do terrific sparklers, fortified wines, old vines and over the 25 years that I have been visiting, South Africa has shown enormous progress in what used to be called “black empowerment”, but which is now a substantive programme giving fair opportunities for all.
Here are some of my favourite wines from this land of sunshine, fabulous scenery and wonderful places to stay. This week I concentrate on everyday, greatvalue wines. Next week, because my brain still wants to be in South Africa, I’ll look at more expensive options.
There is a little panic in hotels and restaurants because the 2021 New Zealand harvest was down by around 20 per cent and stocks of favourite brands are limited. However, South Africa can easily step into this gap so there is no need to go thirsty. The coastal vineyards of the Cape, in particular the western coastline of Darling, and southern areas, including Constantia, Walker Bay and Cape Agulhas, can all produce vibrant, gooseberry-charged wines that capture the essence of good Sauvignon. And prices are competitive too.
Bruce Jack, formerly a winemaker with some of South Africa’s biggest brands, has now established his own label which is impossible to miss since his name is emblazoned across it. The new vintage of
Bruce Jack Sauvignon Blanc 2021 is just arriving on shelves, and it is full of zesty, taste bud-tingling fruit. Find it at Asda and Sainsbury’s at £7.
Bruce also has other wine in the range including a rather good Pinotage Malbec blend which captures the cherry and spice of Pinotage with a base note of dark mulberry fruit from the Malbec. Find this at Sainsbury’s at £7, down to £6 until February 8.
I have long been a fan of the wines of Marc Kent, winemaker at Boekenhoutskloof. The main wines from this estate include a characterful Chocolate Block, a superb Cabernet Sauvignon and an ethereal Semillon which balances lime, honeysuckle and orange blossom notes with silky complexity and length. But these are not everyday wines, which is why the great value Porcupine Ridge is such a good label to look for. This brand started out as a way of using wines that didn’t quite make it into the Boekenhoutskloof label, but they became too popular. Now they are specially made in another winery, still with Marc Kent keeping an eye on the style and quality. For me, they represent some of the best-value wines from the Cape.
Head to Majestic for Porcupine Shiraz Viognier (£9.99 a bottle or £8.99 when bought as part of a mixed six) for dark blackberry fruit, edged with pepper and if you look for it, just a lift of the aroma of violets. Porcupine Ridge Sauvignon Blanc is also well worth trying for its fresh green kiwi fruit, with touches of lemongrass, guava and citrus (Waitrose, £8.49).