Summer is slowly creeping up on us and before we know it, it will be time for long beach days, lazy braais, outdoor cocktail parties and all the festivities that fill the season with so much gees.
To get you even more into the spirit, I've rounded up 10 new-release wines that are going to be perfect for hot Summer days and nights!
Opstal Sixpence White 2014 (R39 cellar door)
A lively, fresh, unpretentious blend of two-thirds Sauvignon and one-third Semillon, this is Opstal’s everyday quaffer and an over-deliverer of note. Named after the farm’s shepherd of many years standing, it’s an easy-drinking, just-dry mouthful of crisp yellow and green fruit.
Leopard’s Leap Classic Collection Chardonnay 2014 (R40 cellar door)
Nice, clean, fresh and fruity example of the increasingly-popular unwooded style of Chardonnay. It’s got plenty of yellow stone fruits balanced by a zingy acidity and a zippy finish. Nicely-managed alcohol makes this a crowd-pleasing choice.
Boplaas Portuguese White 2014 (R40 cellar door)
This is the maiden vintage of an unusual blend from port-specialists, Boplaas. Made from 50% Verdelho (a Portuguese variety, hence the name!) with almost equal amounts of Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, it’s unwooded, fresh, peachy, has a pleasing low alcohol (12%) and is a great summer quaffer with anything slightly spicy like a Cape Malay chicken sosatie.
Alchemy White Blend 2014 (R50 from Hartenberg cellar door)
Love this blend of Chenin, Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc – it’s a great example of why it is so wonderful to make wine in SA. If we were in France, this blend would be forbidden whereas here in SA, we can celebrate all the glory of yellow fruit, limey acidity and creamy finish without any constraints.
Neethlingshof Sauvignon Blanc 2014 (R55 cellar door)
The 2014 vintage was a tricky one so hats off to people who have managed to make wines of concentration and interest – and that list includes De Wet Viljoen of Neethlinghof. This is a nice, fresh, crisp and juicy everyday glugger at a good price and is well-worth considering in this somewhat trying year.
Fleur du Cap Sauvignon Blanc 2014 (R55 cellar door)
When the vintage is a bit problematic, it helps to have access to as many different parcels of fruit as possible and this is what winemaker Pieter Badenhorst and cellarmaster Andrea Freeborough have been able to do here. Well-made as always, with good fruit intensity and balancing acidity, this is a good staple for summer.
Glenelly Unwooded Chardonnay 2013 (R65 cellar door)
Glenelly make two chardonnays and the Grand Vin is also very lovely, but I like an unwooded Chardonnay in summer and this one has had both lees contact and a wild yeast fermentation to add interest, texture and depth without taking away freshness, acidity and fruit. Great food partner, great price.
Kleine Zalze Vineyard Selection Chenin Blanc 2014 (R73 cellar door)
This is KZ’s entry-level barrel-fermented offering and is a fabulous example of why we should all drink more Chenin Blanc. Only 20% of the wood used is new and the very low-yielding bushvines produce concentrated fruit more than capable of handling this gentle oaking without it being overwhelmed in any way. Excellent with all manner of food.
Spice Route The Amos Block Sauvignon Blanc 2014 (R75 cellar door)
This is something a bit special, coming as it does from the oldest sauvignon vines in SA – nearly 50 years old. This is the wine which kicked off the world’s love affair with Swartland and even though the emphasis there is now on Shiraz and Chenin, Charles Back has preserved his first love in the region. It’s only bottled separately in good years and because it was picked particularly early, it avoided most of the pitfalls of the vintage. This is a stand-out Sauvignon of real character and refinement. You may struggle to find better in 2014.
Villiera Traditional Barrel-fermented Chenin Blanc 2014 (R94.50 cellar door)
This was a recent – and well-deserved – winner in the Chenin Blanc Association Top Ten and what is more, it comes in the most lovely new packaging so it looks very pretty on your table as well! Villiera won R20k for coming in the Top Ten and I am delighted that all that cash is being donated to the work of Pebbles Project to help support winelands children with special educational needs. Do we need any more reasons to enjoy this wine?!
Have a wonderful weekend!