Discovery of a Region: A Snapshot of South African Wines
I was invited to explore a region lately that was unfamiliar to me – South Africa. The distribution of these wines haven’t been strong in Dallas, so it requires some detective work to try a variety of wines from the region. According to the Wines of South Africa site, the region has grown by 219 percent between 1998 and 2010.
Discovery of a Region
The South African wine industry is backed by the Institute for Viticulture and Oenology, a state region which includes the departments of viniculture at the University of Stellenbosch and the Elsenburg Agricultural College.
The people of Graham Beck delivered six sample bottles containing of a mix of sparkling wines, chenin blanc, pinotage and cabernet sauvignon. Every wine was value priced and I was enthusiastic about every one that I tried. While Graham Beck produces premium wines, the winery is also dedicated to education and empowerment of farm workers.
The first three were sparkling wines, one vintage and two non-vintage bottles all produced in the Methode Cap Classique. The line-up was as follows:
- Graham Beck Brut Rose, NV – notes of berry and floral, this was a delightful first taste into South African sparkling wines.
- Graham Beck Brut NV – notes of pear, apple and baked bread with a nice minerality.
- Graham Beck Blanc de Blancs 2008 – a premiere cuvee with notes of lime and of apricot.
We tried three still wines including:
- Graham Beck Game Reserve Chenin Blanc 2012 – a refreshing white with notes of melon, pineapple and other tropical fruits. I really like this style of white wine.
- Graham Beck Game Reserve Pinotage 2010 – this is a style of wine that South African is well known for and this doesn’t disappoint. Big notes of cigar, berry and plum.
- Graham Beck Game Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 – notes of blackberry, cherry, chocolate and mocha. I think this wine would benefit with a little more age in the bottle.
I really enjoyed getting a snapshot into South African wines and plan to do some exploring to find out more about the region. Definitely worth the passport stamp.