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South Africa presents one of the most exciting opportunities in the New World today. The wines offer increasing choice and quality, the area keeps growing from strength to strength.
South African wines are produced in the South Western Cape province. Most of the vineyards are within three hours drive of Cape Town. The main grape variety is the Chenin Blanc of Loire fame. Sauvignon Blanc has also been in South Africa for many years, and plantations of Chardonnay are increasing. A plethora of red grapes are grown, of which the most interesting is Pinotage, which is a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsault. It is a grape almost unique to South Africa, which provides a range of characters, from light, gulpable Beaujolais-style reds to serious, leathery, long-lived wines.
Since the political changes, sales of South African wines have raced ahead in the UK. The opening of the market has greatly improved the wines a swell the winemakers have listened to overseas buyers and there is an increasing presence of flying winemakers. Up till now, South African export growth has been hampered by a lack of red wine, but this situation is fast changing. Massive replanting of red wine varieties, especially Shiraz and Cabernet, has meant that in 2005, supply has doubled and exports are booming.
South Africa has enjoyed huge growth in the market share in the last year. A wonderful combination of Old World elegance and New World exuberance often gives higher quality South African wines the edge over their New World competitors.
2004 A normal sized harvest came in a little late, and cooler growing conditions without sunburn were particularly helpful for red wines which will be the stars in 2004. The cooler vintage has been beneficial for freshness in the white wines also.
2003 A good quality and reliable vintage. Warm and below average production. With successes across all regions, varietals, and price points. Entry level whites from South Africa have come to maturity.
THE WINES OFFER INCREASING CHOICE AND QUALITY, THE AREA KEEPS GROWING FROM STRENGHT TO STRENGHT
South African wines are produced in the South Western Cape province. Most of the vineyards are within three hours drive of Cape Town. The main grape variety is the Chenin Blanc of Loire fame. Sauvignon Blanc has also been in South Africa for many years, and plantations of Chardonnay are increasing.