If the response to my Top Ten Red Blends under R40 is anything to go by, the watchword for wine-buying this winter is ‘value.’ Winemaking is a definite skill, there’s no denying it, but I always think that it is almost harder to make good, cheap wine than it is to make good, expensive stuff. To get sufficient concentration and flavour, some semblance of elegance and balance, serve it up with a decent label and packaging and still bring it in under budget requires a lot of talent which doesn’t always get appreciated. So here is your chance to celebrate some great winemaking with some delicious winter white blends.
All prices from Pick n Pay and are correct as of 12th July 2011.
Bellingham Sauvignon Blanc/Chardonnay 2010 R29.99
This wine gets a big thumbs-up and a ‘Superquaffer Smile’ from the Platter guide and it is easy to see why. The crisp Sauvignon is given roundness and body by the Chardonnay as they combine to make an easy-drinking glugger with pineapples, guavas and litchis all jostling for space.
Boekenhoutskloof The Wolftrap White 2010 R39.99
This is the new partner to the already-popular red version. Made from Viognier, Chenin Blanc and Grenache Blanc, it utilises old vines and classy, concentrated fruit. Lots of peaches and apricots with sprightly acidity and touches of spice. Great food wine.
Boer n Brit Suiker Bossie Wit 2010 R32.99
Expect to see a great deal more from this label in coming months – they are just hitting their stride in terms of distribution and have loads of quirky stuff just waiting in the wings. In the meantime, try this blend of Chenin Blanc and Viognier – a peachy mouthful with good acidity and weight. Great with a Cape Malay Chicken curry.
De Wetshof Limelight 2010 R39.95
This only just sneaks into the category of white wine – in actual fact, it is a very pale onion-skin pink with the colour coming from the Pinot Noir component of the wine. The rest of the mix is Chardonnay and the wine is a great easy-drinker, both with and without food – just off-dry with lots of lively acidity and fresh citrus notes.
Eikendal Chardonnay/Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon 2010 R35.99
This was previously known rather anonymously as ‘Blanc’ but clearly winemaker Nico Grobler thinks it deserves a bit better than that! He’s right too, this is as pleasant a glass of wine as you can find – crisp and fresh with lots of crunchy apples and nice mouth-feel. Good all-day glugger.
Glen Carlou Tortoise Hill White 2010 R39.99
Eclectic mix of mainly Viognier and Sauvignon Blanc with some Semillon and a tweak of Portuguese variety, Verdelho at the end. Packed with plenty of yellow fruit with good acidity and excellent length, this offers amazing value for money from one of the Cape’s top producers.
Nederburg Lyric 2010 R32.95
Ignore the big boys at your peril! The unorthodox combination of a Hungarian (Razvan Macici) and a Zimbabwean (Tariro Masayati) is really rocking this Paarl giant producing amazing wines for the money. This is a blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc and Chardonnay and frankly gives you everything you could want from a white wine at this level – fresh, zesty, fruity and yum.
Thandi Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon 2010 R39.99
Thandi was one of the very first empowerment projects in SA and is certainly one of the most sustainable and robust, now operating entirely separately from their parent company, Paul Cluver Wines. But this is no charity wine – in fact, far from it, over-delivering plenty of snappy green acidity, tropical fruit and a long finish.
Vergelegen Vin de Florence 2009 R39.99
Anyone who’s met Andre van Rensburg knows that he is passionate about his wines – and he is as enthusiastic about this inexpensive one as he is about the top stuff. Slightly off-dry and made from mainly Sauvignon Blanc, this is an aromatic and perfumed partner for a wintery chicken curry.
Zevenwacht Zevenblanc 2010 R39.99
As I write this, it feels like summer in Cape Town – loads of sunshine and the promise of a braai at the beach this weekend. If I do, this is what I’ll drink – a blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and new grape variety Nouvelle. It’s a crisp, clean, grassy little number – start your summer now!
What do you think? Any other favourites you'd like to share? Tell us below.