New Wave South Africa tasting: What next for Cape chardonnays and reds?

South African wine producers are riding high, says Anthony Rose

Anthony Rose
Saturday 02 January 2016 01:42
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The recent New Wave South Africa tasting was something of an eye-opener. The thrill and energy of the wines really gave meaning to the growers' description of themselves and their wares as showing a "tangible sense of camaraderie, talent, youth and openness".

White blends based on chenin blanc have become the Cape's dry-white calling card. Among the best, I would include Adi Badenhorst's complex, rich and honeyed 2012 Family White Blend, £24.50, Swig, Philglas & Swiggot, Handford. Along with Mullineux's grapefuity, saline dry 2013 Swartland White, £17.95, Berry Bros, and Donovan Rall's intense peach and apple flavoured dry 2014 Rall White, £23 – 26, Connolly's, HangingDitch, Hedonism. Also in the running: Thorne & Daughters expressively rich and yet moreishly zesty 2014 Rocking Horse white, £22.25, Lay & Wheeler, and Chris and Suzanne Alheit's mesmerising apple and quince-rich 2014 Cartology, £28 – £31.30, Swig, Berry Bros, Hedonism.

Chenin blanc is not the only white fruit, and dynamism abounds in the success of sauvignon-based whites such as Duncan Savage's beautifully zingy-fresh, Graves-like 2014 Savage White, 27.50, Swig, Berry Bros, Handford, Philglas & Swiggot, and Reyneke's textured, subtly smoky rich 2014 Reserve White, around £22, Lay & Wheeler, The Vineking, and the restrained yet concentrated, mineral 2014 Lismore Barrel Fermented Sauvignon Blanc, £14.05, Corking Wines,

Successful innovation with new grape varieties is making its mark too. Blank Bottle's wacky Peter Walser makes 27 varietals including – from the Portuguese fernão pires – the extraordinary tropical fruit-laden 2014 Kortpad-kapptoe, £21, Swig, Bottle Apostle, Harvey Nichols. Marc Kent produces a seamless Graves-like pure 2013 Boekenhoutskloof Semillon, £26.50, Swig, and Lismore a fabulously peachy 2014 Viognier, £16.34, Strictly Wine. Jeanine and Mick Craven make a superbly expressive and zesty-fresh 2014 Clairette Blanche, around £18.49, Handford, Philglas & Swiggot, and The Foundry a mouthwateringly dry 2013 Roussanne, £11.50, The Wine Society. What next for Cape chardonnays and reds? Well a lot seems possible – just watch this space.

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