South African wines are so dang impressive

This isn’t new, but the value of SA wines are still crazy good.

I’ve met now with both bothers of Noble Hill Estates and I’m impressed what they’re doing. Particularly their sparkling brut nature and estate white blend is that unicorn of French wine making excellence, but at a steep discount.

The estate white is 50% Grenache Blanc 38% Marsanne 9% Chenin Blanc 3% Viognier

If you’re a white wine nerd… get this wine. It hit all the stone fruit notes, minerality, floral, with a really pleasant density on the palate. I’m used to these kinds of blends in Virginia, but they tend to be much lighter overall. This has some body.


Haven’t had this yet, may be hard to find in Canada. But def agree about SA value in the whites - Chenin Blanc might flagship grape and many good producers (Alheit, Mullineux, Sadie Savage, Radford Dale, Hamilton Russell to name but a few). I have less experience with reds, but hear the same thing.

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Definitely one of the most exciting wine countries today.

For Chenin blanc, because they have there a very different color than in the Loire and the quality can be superb
For southern rhone blend coming from the swartland (Sadie, Savage, Lourens…): they are for me the best examples of what can this blend offer: they have the charm and the freshness, without VA or heavy alcool (sorry but most 2020 southern Rhone are exhausting to drink)
For good Pinot Noir and Chardonnay coming from Hemel en Aarde (but I did not find a true local color here)
For amazing dry Semillons

And I guess, to be continued…

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I agree. The top wines are absolutely outstanding. If only they weren’t so difficult to find.


I also enjoy Remhoogte if you can find it.

But also the cheap stuff is drinkable (well, if there’s nothing else lol) and really cheap. Eg Lions Head Chenin at $12 in Ontario ( so that like $3 in the US haha). Or for a step up Radford Dale Vinum at $19. So I contend a value play at all price points. But yes the high end is really interesting and affordable.

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It occurs to me that we need Todd to lock this thread down to only those who know the secret handshake. , we really don’t want the news getting out. I mean look what happened to Chablis the once and former affordable white Burg.


A question. How vulnerable is SA wine to climate change? We’re seeing more hotter vintages in Europe, I’m not sure what’s happening in SA, which I’m still learning and don’t have many vintage comparisons.

from what I’ve been told by winemakers is there are tons of microclimates in a very small area… I’m sure they’re used to constantly adapting.

Had the Crystallum Pinot Noir Peter Max recently. Really good wine in a lighter red, minimal oak, bright fruit kind of way. Reminds of something like Sandhi or Au Bon Climat.

At under $30 it’s a great value, plus some good Beavis & Butthead chuckles to the bottling name. I have heard and would expect the more expensive bottlings of theirs would be really something.

I agree, South Africa usually overdelivers if you shop wisely.

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Interestingly there is a lot more discussion and availability of SA wines in the UK. Standard wine brands like Vergelegen and Rustenberg are available in supermarkets and there is a real following for higher quality producers. Current enthusiasm includes both properties with a fair track record such as Meerlust Rubicon, and newer/reborn ones like Taaibosch. Those with cabernet franc are trendy and appear to have done well in recent vintages.

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I don’t have a ton of experience with SA, but I really enjoyed a Sadie Family Columella that I had last year. Super elegant northern Rhône style blend that was just gorgeous.


I’ve been impressed by the various syrah offerings from Gabrielskloof, especially their Syrah on Shale. Also have liked Rall grenache blanc although I was less keen on his reds. I really enjoy the simple unwooded or gently oaked chenin blancs as well but the bigger riper, oakier versions I am less keen on. Agree that some of the old standards such as Rustenberg, Cederberg etc provide some great VFM wines.

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recently attended a wine seminar where these SA wines were the focus.

very interesting to try the three different soils. My preference was for the Iron.

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We haven’t had anything but the red blends, but we have really liked Babylonstoren wines, and they are under $30 down here, and really good for their price point.

Were they going for burgundy? if so, did they succeed?

sorry, not following your line of questioning?

apologies, the bottle shape just reminds me of burgundy

and most northern and southern Rhone wines as well! :joy:


Just saw the Granite offered locally… for $130. Was surprised to see it priced so high when the blended Syrah is about $30 or so.