South African Wine Varieties

Red Wine
White Wine

Red Wine grown in South Africa

Cabernet Sauvignon

Is a native of Burgundy, this variety is also widely planted throughout the New World, as well as in South Africa. Locally, much experimentation has been taking place with the oak ageing of Chardonnay, and various styles of excellent wines are being produced. It is also used in some of the base wines from which Methode Cap Classique sparkling wines are produced..

Cabernet Franc

The most widely cultivated variety in South Africa, growers are raising the standard to new levels. Characterised by its versatility, Chenin Blanc produces good natural wines covering the whole spectrum from sweet to dry, as well as sherry and sparkling wine. Its fruitiness finds favour with a wide range of palates. It is also used for distilling brandy and spirits.

Cinsaut

Is one of the mainstays in the production of brandy in South African, this varietal is also used to produce quality blended wines. Good acid content ensures fresh, interesting wines with a pleasant fruity flavour.

Grenache (Noir)

Has a delicate aromatic flavour profile with an easily identifiable rose-petal fragrance; usually produces a light, off-dry wine.

Malbec

Is the old Afrikaans name for d'Alexandrie and is the Cape's most planted muscat variety, it is used mainly for dessert wine, as well as natural wine and raisins. Hanepoot delivers a strong, flowery bouquet and intense honey flavours.

Muscadel

Planted on a very small scale in South Africa. Produces wines which are full and well balanced.

Merlot

In combination with Semillon and Muscadel these grapes produce some of the most exceptional white wines of Bordeaux. Extensively planted in the 18th century, Sauvignon Blanc has now regained popularity and considerably increased its share of plantings. There are some leading local examples which have garnered international attention.

Petit Verdot

Produces a full yet subtle wine with little acid; often used in blends. Locally, some outstanding wooded varietal wines have been produced from this grape variety which once represented 93% of all Cape vines and now accounts for only about 1%.

Pinot Noir

Is becoming increasingly fashionable internationally, this variety has been grown for centuries in the northern half of the Rhône valley in France. An early ripener, it produces delicate complex wines with peach, apricot, honey and spice aromas.

Pinotage

Has adapted well to South Africa's soil and climate. Produces very full, flavourful wines with excellent fruit acids that develop well with bottle ageing. Wines have a honeyed spicy nose and a flowery sweetness.

Shiraz

Is becoming increasingly fashionable internationally, this variety has been grown for centuries in the northern half of the Rhône valley in France. An early ripener, it produces delicate complex wines with peach, apricot, honey and spice aromas.

Tinta Barocca

Has adapted well to South Africa's soil and climate. Produces very full, flavourful wines with excellent fruit acids that develop well with bottle ageing. Wines have a honeyed spicy nose and a flowery sweetness.

Zinfandel

Is becoming increasingly fashionable internationally, this variety has been grown for centuries in the northern half of the Rhône valley in France. An early ripener, it produces delicate complex wines with peach, apricot, honey and spice aromas.

White Wine grown in South Africa

Chardonnay

Is a native of Burgundy, this variety is also widely planted throughout the New World, as well as in South Africa. Locally, much experimentation has been taking place with the oak ageing of Chardonnay, and various styles of excellent wines are being produced. It is also used in some of the base wines from which Methode Cap Classique sparkling wines are produced..

Chenin Blanc (Steen)

The most widely cultivated variety in South Africa, growers are raising the standard to new levels. Characterised by its versatility, Chenin Blanc produces good natural wines covering the whole spectrum from sweet to dry, as well as sherry and sparkling wine. Its fruitiness finds favour with a wide range of palates. It is also used for distilling brandy and spirits.

Colombar(d)

Is one of the mainstays in the production of brandy in South African, this varietal is also used to produce quality blended wines. Good acid content ensures fresh, interesting wines with a pleasant fruity flavour.

Gewürztraminer

Has a delicate aromatic flavour profile with an easily identifiable rose-petal fragrance; usually produces a light, off-dry wine.

Hanepoot

Is the old Afrikaans name for d'Alexandrie and is the Cape's most planted muscat variety, it is used mainly for dessert wine, as well as natural wine and raisins. Hanepoot delivers a strong, flowery bouquet and intense honey flavours.

Pinot Gris

Planted on a very small scale in South Africa. Produces wines which are full and well balanced.

Sauvignon Blanc

In combination with Semillon and Muscadel these grapes produce some of the most exceptional white wines of Bordeaux. Extensively planted in the 18th century, Sauvignon Blanc has now regained popularity and considerably increased its share of plantings. There are some leading local examples which have garnered international attention.

Semillon (Green Grape)

Produces a full yet subtle wine with little acid; often used in blends. Locally, some outstanding wooded varietal wines have been produced from this grape variety which once represented 93% of all Cape vines and now accounts for only about 1%.

Viognier

Is becoming increasingly fashionable internationally, this variety has been grown for centuries in the northern half of the Rhône valley in France. An early ripener, it produces delicate complex wines with peach, apricot, honey and spice aromas.

Weisser Riesling (Rhine Riesling)

Has adapted well to South Africa's soil and climate. Produces very full, flavourful wines with excellent fruit acids that develop well with bottle ageing. Wines have a honeyed spicy nose and a flowery sweetness.
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