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South Africa, WINE

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Arguably the world's most scenic wine-producing country, South Africa has both a centuries-old wine growing tradition and a newly found philosophy on modern viticulture. The climate is truly Mediterranean, thanks to the Antarctic Benguela Current, and the soils here are by far the oldest in the wine world, a mix of granite, sandstone, and shale, all of which naturally curb vine vigor.

Prior to 1974, there was no official recognition or definition of individual regions, but since the Wine of Origin scheme was adopted, South Africa's producers and regulators have enthusiastically embraced the concept of geographic diversity and expression. While many wines still bear the broadly general Coastal Region or Western Cape designations, there are numerous smaller districts laying claim to their fair share of fame. North of Cape Town, the Swartland district produces some of the country's most fashionable red wines from old vines of Syrah and Grenache, and its sub-zone of Darling is prized for its crystalline, cool-climate Sauvignon Blanc.

To the east of Cape Town lie Paarl and Stellenbosch, South Africa's most well-known modern wine districts. The more inland of the two, Paarl is enclosed on three sides by striking mountains and produces equal quantites of admirable Chenin Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon. Closer to the Atlantic Ocean and its influences, Stellenbosch was once a hotbed for Chenin Blanc, but its maritime, Bordeaux-like climate and soils have led to the dramatic expansion of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Shiraz, which now produce some of South Africa's finest red wines. Finally, jutting out on the Cape of Good Hope itself, Constantia is the source of South Africa's most historically famous wine, a decadently sweet, dessert wine of the same name. At the foot of the iconic Table Mountain, this tiny region produces predominantly grassy, aromatic Sauvignon Blanc with trademark cool-climate vibrance, thanks to the constant effects of the southeasterly Cape Doctor winds.

Very few New World wine regions bear the weight of history that South Africa does, but as it has emerged from the yoke of apartheid and over-regulation, the country's wine industry is not only embracing that history, but also looking forward to a future of nearly unlimited potential.

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88 points Jeb Dunnuck: A blend of 86% Syrah, 13% Mourvèdre, and the rest Viognier, the 2016 The Wolftrap Red is a plummy, blueberry, meaty, spice-scented effort that has medium to full-bodied richness, plenty of fruit, and a charming style. It s well made and will keep for 2-4 years. Drink: 2018… ...
JD 88
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Boekenhoutskloof The Wolftrap Red Western Cape 2016  (#701665)

Other Red Blends from Western Cape, South Africa

[ 88 points Jeb Dunnuck: A blend of 86% Syrah, 13% Mourvèdre, and the rest Viognier, the 2016 The Wolftrap Red is a plummy, blueberry, meaty, spice-scented effort that has medium to full-bodied richness, plenty of fruit, and a charming style. It s well made and will keep for 2-4 years. Drink: 2018-2022. (3/20/18) ] 88 points Jeb Dunnuck: A blend of 86% Syrah, 13% Mourvèdre, and the rest Viognier, the 2016 The Wolftrap Red is a plummy, blueberry, meaty, spice-scented effort that has medium to full-bodied richness, plenty of fruit, and a charming style. It s well…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 8 available
$9.95
$12.00
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88 points Neal Martin (Wine Advocate): The 2016 Sauvignon Blanc Chardonnay, a blend of 80/20% respectively, replaces the Sandstone label. It has a straightforward, slightly earthy/smoky bouquet. The palate is well balanced but perhaps missing some complexity, a quaffing white Walker Bay to enjoy… ...
WA 88
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Ashbourne Sauvignon Blanc-Chardonnay Walker Bay 2015  (#701928)

Other White Blends from Walker Bay, Western Cape, South Africa

[ 88 points Neal Martin (Wine Advocate): The 2016 Sauvignon Blanc Chardonnay, a blend of 80/20% respectively, replaces the Sandstone label. It has a straightforward, slightly earthy/smoky bouquet. The palate is well balanced but perhaps missing some complexity, a quaffing white Walker Bay to enjoy over the next 12-18 months. Drink: 2017-2019. (Apr 2017) ] 88 points Neal Martin (Wine Advocate): The 2016 Sauvignon Blanc Chardonnay, a blend of 80/20% respectively, replaces the Sandstone label. It has a straightforward, slightly earthy/smoky bouquet. The palate is well balanced but perhaps missing some…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 6 available
$15.95
$18.00
Save $2.05 (11%)18.00
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95 points Jamie Goode (The World of Fine Wine): (13% ABV; 3.8g/l RS) A lovely wine, with a crystalline citrus-fruit character, good acidity, and appealing spiciness. Some apple and pear notes, with great tension. There's a hint of sweetness, but this balances the acidity really well. (Issue 60; 2018… ...
WFW 95
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Badenhorst Chenin Blanc Swartland Secateurs 2017  (#701995)

Chenin Blanc from Swartland, Western Cape, South Africa

[ 95 points Jamie Goode (The World of Fine Wine): (13% ABV; 3.8g/l RS) A lovely wine, with a crystalline citrus-fruit character, good acidity, and appealing spiciness. Some apple and pear notes, with great tension. There's a hint of sweetness, but this balances the acidity really well. (Issue 60; 2018) ] 95 points Jamie Goode (The World of Fine Wine): (13% ABV; 3.8g/l RS) A lovely wine, with a crystalline citrus-fruit character, good acidity, and appealing spiciness. Some apple and pear notes, with great tension. There's a hint of sweetness, but this…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 11 available
$13.95
$16.00
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51% Pinotage, 38% Merlot, 11% Cabernet Sauvignon. A full bodied red wine with hints of coffee character and loads of wild berries. A full round palate with soft tannins and a good structure. Good balance of fruits, wood and acidity. Food Pairing: Game meat and game fish pairs very well with Cape… ...
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Stellekaya Cape Cross Stellenbosch 2009  (#325640)

Other Red Blends from Stellenbosch, Western Cape, South Africa

[ 51% Pinotage, 38% Merlot, 11% Cabernet Sauvignon. A full bodied red wine with hints of coffee character and loads of wild berries. A full round palate with soft tannins and a good structure. Good balance of fruits, wood and acidity. Food Pairing: Game meat and game fish pairs very well with Cape Cross. Fruity desserts like coffee mousse with apricot strudel matches well with this wine due to its berry flavors. Alcohol 13.5%. ] 51% Pinotage, 38% Merlot, 11% Cabernet Sauvignon. A full bodied red wine with hints of coffee character and loads of wild berries. A full round palate with soft tannins and a good structure. Good balance of fruits, wood and acidity. Food Pairing:…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 1 available
$24.95
$29.00
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91 points Wine Enthusiast: Lovely, bright notes of green citrus, pear, greengage and fig set the stage for this crisp, refreshing white, with secondary hints of fresh straw, lanolin and strawberry hull add additional layers of interest. The palate boasts a fresh, chalky mineral texture, with a final… ...
WE 91
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Quinta Essentia (Betz) Chenin Blanc Stellenbosch 2016  (#331873)

[ 91 points Wine Enthusiast: Lovely, bright notes of green citrus, pear, greengage and fig set the stage for this crisp, refreshing white, with secondary hints of fresh straw, lanolin and strawberry hull add additional layers of interest. The palate boasts a fresh, chalky mineral texture, with a final hint of just-toasted almond on the evolving close. Drink now-2023. Alcohol 14%. (Apr 2018) ] 91 points Wine Enthusiast: Lovely, bright notes of green citrus, pear, greengage and fig set the stage for this crisp, refreshing white, with secondary hints of fresh straw, lanolin and strawberry hull add additional layers of interest. The palate…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 12+ available
93 points Wine Spectator: A bright, fresh style, with unadorned raspberry and boysenberry fruit flavors streaming through, flecked with dried anise, black tea and shiso leaf notes. A well-embedded iron hint through the finish adds spine and cut. Very refined. Grenache. Drink now through 2022. 572… ...
WS 93
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Sadie Family Soldaat (Grenache) Piekenierskloof Swartland 2016  (#701799)

Grenache/Garnacha from Swartland, Western Cape, South Africa

[ 93 points Wine Spectator: A bright, fresh style, with unadorned raspberry and boysenberry fruit flavors streaming through, flecked with dried anise, black tea and shiso leaf notes. A well-embedded iron hint through the finish adds spine and cut. Very refined. Grenache. Drink now through 2022. 572 cases made. (2/28/18) ] 93 points Wine Spectator: A bright, fresh style, with unadorned raspberry and boysenberry fruit flavors streaming through, flecked with dried anise, black tea and shiso leaf notes. A well-embedded iron hint through the finish adds spine and cut. Very…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 8 available
71% Syrah, 15% Grenache, 8% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cinsault and 1% Viognier. The nose is exceptionally intense and complex with red berry fruit juxtaposed against a dark, brooding fruit compote and Swartland violets. The wine has a soft, smooth entry, a rich mid-palate and the abundance of red and… ...
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Boekenhoutskloof The Chocolate Block Franschhoek 2015  (#701507)

Other Red Blends from Western Cape, South Africa

[ 71% Syrah, 15% Grenache, 8% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cinsault and 1% Viognier. The nose is exceptionally intense and complex with red berry fruit juxtaposed against a dark, brooding fruit compote and Swartland violets. The wine has a soft, smooth entry, a rich mid-palate and the abundance of red and black berry fruit follows through with balanced acidity and svelte cocoa powdery tannins. The wine has a long, lingering finish reminiscent of Swiss dark hazelnut chocolate. Alcohol 14.7%. ] 71% Syrah, 15% Grenache, 8% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cinsault and 1% Viognier. The nose is exceptionally intense and complex with red berry fruit juxtaposed against a dark, brooding fruit compote and Swartland violets. The wine has a soft, smooth entry…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 12+ available
91 points Neal Martin (Wine Advocate): A blend of 50% Pinotage, 34% Shiraz and 16% Cabernet Sauvignon... The nose is very perfumed with hints of peppermint infusing the black plum and black cherry fruit, with white fennel revealed by continued aeration. The palate is medium-bodied with supple tannin… ...
WA 91
ST 90
JS 90
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Warwick Three Cape Ladies Cape Blend Western Cape 2013  (#702044)

Other Red Wines from Western Cape, South Africa

[ 91 points Neal Martin (Wine Advocate): A blend of 50% Pinotage, 34% Shiraz and 16% Cabernet Sauvignon... The nose is very perfumed with hints of peppermint infusing the black plum and black cherry fruit, with white fennel revealed by continued aeration. The palate is medium-bodied with supple tannin. There is a pleasing sense of purity here and their decision to up the percentage of Pinotage was an astute one, lending this a rounded, very supple and harmonious finish that just slips down the throat. 2016-2030. (Nov 2015) ] 91 points Neal Martin (Wine Advocate): A blend of 50% Pinotage, 34% Shiraz and 16% Cabernet Sauvignon... The nose is very perfumed with hints of peppermint infusing the black plum and black cherry fruit, with white fennel revealed by continued…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 12+ available
WA 91
ST 90
JS 90
$24.95
$35.00
Save $10.05 (29%)35.00
Save $10.05 (29%)
91 points Neal Martin (Vinous): The 2017 Pinot Noir from Tesselaarsdal (one of my discoveries in 2017) has an attractive bouquet of crushed strawberry and red currant aromas and a touch of undergrowth in the background. The palate is well balanced with lovely, slightly plump red fruit, but there is… ...
WA 91
JS 90
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Tesselaarsdal Pinot Noir Hemel-en-Aarde Ridge 2017  (#702132)

Pinot Noir from Stellenbosch, Western Cape, South Africa

[ 91 points Neal Martin (Vinous): The 2017 Pinot Noir from Tesselaarsdal (one of my discoveries in 2017) has an attractive bouquet of crushed strawberry and red currant aromas and a touch of undergrowth in the background. The palate is well balanced with lovely, slightly plump red fruit, but there is energy and tension throughout. This is a beautifully proportioned Pinot Noir that stays true to the grape variety. Superb. Drink: 2018-2025. (Aug 2018) ] 91 points Neal Martin (Vinous): The 2017 Pinot Noir from Tesselaarsdal (one of my discoveries in 2017) has an attractive bouquet of crushed strawberry and red currant aromas and a touch of undergrowth in the background. The palate is well balanced…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 7 available
$44.95
$53.00
Save $8.05 (15%)53.00
Save $8.05 (15%)
91 points and 'Editors' Choice,' Wine Enthusiast: Toasty aroams of grilled apple, peach and honeycomb lead the way on the nose of this attractive wine, though with some restraint and overall balance, thanks to supporting acidity and ripe, juicy fruit flavors on the palate. Notes of sweet orange oil… ...
WE 91
WS 90
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De Wetshof Chardonnay Robertson Bon Vallon 2016  (#701926)

Chardonnay from Western Cape, South Africa

[ 91 points and 'Editors' Choice,' Wine Enthusiast: Toasty aroams of grilled apple, peach and honeycomb lead the way on the nose of this attractive wine, though with some restraint and overall balance, thanks to supporting acidity and ripe, juicy fruit flavors on the palate. Notes of sweet orange oil and ginger-peach tea grace the medium-length finish. Drink now-2019. Alcohol 13.5%. (May 2017) ] 91 points and 'Editors' Choice,' Wine Enthusiast: Toasty aroams of grilled apple, peach and honeycomb lead the way on the nose of this attractive wine, though with some restraint and overall balance, thanks to supporting acidity and ripe, juicy fruit…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 12+ available
$16.95
$20.00
Save $3.05 (15%)20.00
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93 points Wine Spectator: Offers a lovely mix of gently steeped cherry, plum and raspberry fruit flavors, infused with singed anise, black tea and incense notes. A light mineral edge underscores the finish and the acidity is finely beaded. Drink now through 2021. 1,100 cases imported. (10/15/18) ...
WS 93
JS 93
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Hamilton Russell Pinot Noir Hemel-en-Aarde Valley 2017  (#701964)

Pinot Noir from Walker Bay, Western Cape, South Africa

[ 93 points Wine Spectator: Offers a lovely mix of gently steeped cherry, plum and raspberry fruit flavors, infused with singed anise, black tea and incense notes. A light mineral edge underscores the finish and the acidity is finely beaded. Drink now through 2021. 1,100 cases imported. (10/15/18) ] 93 points Wine Spectator: Offers a lovely mix of gently steeped cherry, plum and raspberry fruit flavors, infused with singed anise, black tea and incense notes. A light mineral edge underscores the finish and the acidity is finely beaded. Drink now…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 12+ available
$44.95
$53.00
Save $8.05 (15%)53.00
Save $8.05 (15%)
94 points James Suckling: A really stylish white with white stones, dried apricots, white blossoms, lemon curd, jasmine and caramelized citrus peel. Medium to full body, some really nice phenolic texture, very zesty acidity and an pinpoint finish. Drink now. (6/21/18) ...
JS 94
JD 93
WS 93
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Hamilton Russell Chardonnay Hemel-en-Aarde Valley 2017  (#701963)

Chardonnay from Walker Bay, Western Cape, South Africa

[ 94 points James Suckling: A really stylish white with white stones, dried apricots, white blossoms, lemon curd, jasmine and caramelized citrus peel. Medium to full body, some really nice phenolic texture, very zesty acidity and an pinpoint finish. Drink now. (6/21/18) ] 94 points James Suckling: A really stylish white with white stones, dried apricots, white blossoms, lemon curd, jasmine and caramelized citrus peel. Medium to full body, some really nice phenolic texture, very zesty acidity and an pinpoint finish.…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 11 available
JS 94
JD 93
WS 93
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$31.95
$41.00
Save $9.05 (22%)41.00
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