Individuals come from everywhere in the world to pattern South African wine, for good cause. Most of the finest wines on this planet are made proper right here in Cape City. Should you haven’t executed a number of wine tasting earlier than, it is perhaps a bit formidable to discover the South African wine scene. Should you want a bit intro to get you going, look no additional than this useful information. Take a couple of minutes to learn this text and no one would ever guess that you just’re a newbie!
Get your fingers on a Metropolis Go at no cost tastings and excursions at a few of Cape City’s prime wine estates
Your tasting vocabulary
Earlier than we get into quite a lot of element, here’s a useful little cheat sheet. Be taught these few phrases and what they imply, and also you’re about midway to understanding wine tasting. It’ll additionally make wine tasting extra pleasant for you, since you’ll perceive what the workers are speaking about when introducing the wines. Keep in mind that the workers at wine estates are there that will help you, and they’re nicely accustomed to guiding everybody—from rookie to veteran—via the wine tasting expertise. Don’t be afraid to ask questions! They’re there that will help you study and have a very good time.
The phrase “varietal” merely refers to the kind of grape used to make the wine.
“Tannins” are a compound that happens in wine. They’re accountable for the dry style of pink wines. It’s the identical form of style that you just’ll discover in sturdy tea. The phrase is usually solely used to explain the dry mouth-feel of a pink wine: most white wines don’t have noticeable tannins on the palate.
Some wine is matured in oak barrels. In white wines, that is accountable for a richer flavour, and can deliver out caramel, vanilla, straw, and buttery flavours. It additionally makes the wine a deeper yellow color. Not all white wines are matured in wooden, however virtually all pink wines are matured in barrels. The longer the wine is wooded for, the extra complicated the flavour: you’ll detect spice, smoke, and different wealthy, deep notes. South African wine is matured in French oak.
Terroir and local weather
Wines are affected by the form of local weather the vines develop in. Rainfall and temperature could make a giant distinction. “Terroir” refers to all of the environmental elements that go into the grape, together with the soil sort, geological elements, local weather, elevation, and even what different organisms are rising close by.
Take note of the color of the wine: it may inform you numerous. In pink wines, it’s a clear indication of age. Youthful reds are a vibrant pink or purple, whereas aged reds tackle a brownish hue. In whites, it may point out whether or not the wine was matured in wooden or not. The wooden offers white wine a yellower color. Rosé wine color is affected by how lengthy the skins of the pink grape are left on earlier than the liquid is separated. A refined, pale pink may solely have had below an hour of pores and skin contact, whereas a deeper pink signifies an extended pores and skin contact time.
The “nostril” of a wine refers back to the scent you’ll be able to choose up – florals, spices, wooden, and another components. When you refine your nostril, it’ll inform you numerous about what you’re ingesting earlier than you even take a sip.
What to anticipate once you go wine-tasting
Wine-tasting is usually a nice expertise for seasoned connoisseurs and whole novices alike. Many wine estates provide different actions, like picnics, youngsters’ playgrounds, wonderful eating places, cellar excursions, pairings, and rather more. Most are positioned in beautiful surrounds, and plenty of (like Groot Constantia) include stunning examples of the distinctive Cape Dutch structure. Relying the place you go, you’ll discover beautiful white-washed manor homes, unbelievable views, native art work, and a wealthy historical past. Even when you’re not a giant wine drinker, or have youngsters in tow, there’s one thing for everybody on a day exploring Cape City’s wine farms.Analysis the wine route you want to go to, and plan your day to incorporate an ideal lunch and different actions. You’re more likely to drink a little bit of wine in your outing, so it’s a good suggestion to rearrange transport. The Metropolis Sightseeing bus connects to each the Franschhoek Wine Tram and Constantia wine route, and is a snug and handy possibility.
Wine tasting normally occurs within the property’s tasting room. Right here, you’ll discover educated workers to information you thru the method, telling you all you should know concerning the wines you’re ingesting. There’s normally a small tasting payment, though many estates waive it if you buy wines from them. A whole lot of estates ship internationally, so you’ll be able to simply place an order and your wine will meet you at residence. The one candy wines you’ll discover are dessert wines, that are scrumptious however too heavy for informal ingesting, and higher stored to pair with a dessert. Should you favor candy wines, consider this as a possibility to department out and discover a top quality, world-class dry wine that you just like.
Kinds of South African wine
There are a lot of sorts of pink grape grown in Cape City, and also you may discover some extra uncommon varietals on some estates. Pink wines are most frequently (however not all the time) matured in oak barrels, and the skins are left on. The result’s a beautiful pink colouring from the pores and skin, and a richness from the wooden. Listed here are a number of the pink wines you’re most certainly to come back throughout in your wine tasting adventures.
- Pinotage: Pinotage holds a particular place in native hearts, as a result of it’s the solely grape that’s distinctive to South Africa. It was invented at Stellenbosch College in 1925. It’s a hybrid of pinot noir and cinsault. Pinotage is a daring and sophisticated wine with a deep pink color. Relying on the age of the wine, you might style notes of pink berries, spice, and chocolate or espresso.
- Cabernet sauvignon: Many estates in Cape City make nice cab sav. It’s a darker, deeper pink than pinotage and sometimes has a extra complicated flavour. It has daring tannins, and also you’ll usually choose up black fruits, together with peppery notes and even a tobacco flavour.
- Merlot: This can be a little softer on the palate than cab sav. It has light tannins, and a great deal of scrumptious fruity flavours. It was largely utilized in blends, however you’ll discover straight merlot at a number of estates today.
- Shiraz/syrah: Most South African producers name this wine shiraz, nevertheless it’s the identical factor as syrah. It’s fairly a flexible grape, so the wines fluctuate from place to position. It’s a wealthy, deep wine with a definite spiciness, and sometimes a pleasant chocolate/espresso end.
- Cape Mix: That is, because the identify dictates, a mix of various kinds of grape. It’s native to the Western Cape area. It has to have not less than 30% pinotage to be a Cape Mix. Different grapes used embrace merlot, cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, shiraz, or different much less widespread varietals.
White wines are fermented in chrome steel tanks, however some are later matured in wooden barrels. One of the notable variations between white wines is the woodiness. Wooded whites are normally yellower and wealthy, whereas these bottled straight out of metal tanks are extra clear, with a crisp end. Listed here are just a few of the white wines you’ll discover most frequently.
- Sauvignon blanc: South African sauvignon blanc is world well-known. It’s mild and crisp, with that particular summery acidity that makes it the right drink on a sunny day.
- Chardonnay: Chardonnay is normally (however once more, not all the time) wooded. It’s normally wealthy, yellow, and has notes of caramel, vanilla, and butter. Many estates today produce unwooded chardonnays, which have a lighter color and flavour.
- Chenin blanc: Chenin is one other nice wine to sip on a sunny day. It normally has some wooden contact, giving it extra complexity than a sauv blanc, nevertheless it isn’t as wealthy as a chardonnay. It’s usually an ideal meals wine.
- White blends: Don’t skip the South African white wine blends! They’re extremely various, however virtually all the time scrumptious.
Bubbles are an important aspect of any celebration. MCC stands for Méthode Cap Classique, and it’s the South African equal of champagne. Glowing wines are carbonated, whereas MCC develops its personal bubbles within the bottle naturally. MCC is normally a bit extra expensive, nevertheless it’s nicely price it for the gentle bubbly texture and sophisticated flavour palate.
Many estates produce unbelievable rosé, though it isn’t as widespread as pink and white wine. It’s usually cheap, and makes for nice summertime ingesting.
Dessert wines are the one prime quality candy wines you’ll style whereas exploring the vineyards of Cape City and its surrounds. There are just a few strategies of manufacturing. Late harvest wines are made by permitting the grapes to grow to be virtually raisin-like on the vines earlier than they’re picked. The grapes produce tiny quantities of juice, however the little bit they do provide is honey-sweet. One other technique is noble late harvest. This refers to “noble rot”: the presence of a fungus known as botritys, which infects grapes in moist situations. The ripe grapes are uncovered to the fungus, which causes them to grow to be raisin-like and produce a really candy nectar. Straw wine is one other sort, which entails drying the grapes as soon as already picked, usually on straw mats. Whichever the tactic, these wines are scrumptious and pair superbly with desserts.
In reality, it was a really particular dessert wine made proper right here in Cape City that first made South African wines well-known. Groot Constantia‘s Grande Constance is the oldest wine within the nation, and it was famously served to Napoleon Bonaparte whereas exiled in St Helena. Add a style of Grande Constance to your bucket listing!
The place to style wine
The most effective South African wine is made proper right here in Cape City. There are 5 most important wine routes in or near Cape City: Constantia, Durbanville, Helderberg, Franschhoek, and Stellenbosch. Your only option is to decide on a route that’s handy for you, and choose 4 or 5 estates that tickle your fancy.
Learn concerning the Cape wine routes and plan your journey
The best way to style wine
So, after getting a glass of wine in your hand, what subsequent? Right here’s your step-by-step information to getting probably the most out of your sip. First, swirl it round to launch the aromas, and check out the color. Then, take a deep sniff, and see what flavours you choose up on the nostril. Lastly, the second you’ve been ready for: take a sip. To be sure you get the total affect and all of the flavours, attempt swishing it round in your mouth. After which, the ultimate query: spit or swallow? Should you’d favor to tempo your alcohol consumption, otherwise you’re driving, little buckets are normally obtainable to spit into. It’s fairly broadly acceptable (as is chucking the remainder of the tasting glass after a small sip). Do no matter fits you finest: crucial factor is to have a good time.
Historical past of South African wine
South African wine has a posh and engaging historical past. Take a couple of minutes to discover the historical past and your wine tasting expertise might be all of the extra fascinating. If you wish to discover out about how South African wine originated and the way it obtained to be so well-known, learn this text.
Planning a visit to Cape City? Guide flights, browse lodging, and lease a automobile now to get the perfect charges. The Cape City Metropolis Go offers you entry to over 70 of the highest Cape City points of interest, excursions, and issues to see and do, together with the favored hop on hop off Metropolis Sightseeing bus.
For inspiration and insider ideas, observe us on Instagram, Fb, or Twitter. Tag #lovecapetown to share your pics with us, or subscribe to our e-newsletter to get the perfect Cape City has to supply despatched direct to your mailbox.