Braaivleis or potjiekos, boerewors or sosatie – whatever we’re going to throw on the braai next weekend, we’re going to need something to quench our thirst at the same time.
Here’s a small selection of wines which really celebrate our South African heritage (plus one which kind of tips a nod to my English heritage too!) for us all to enjoy this (long) weekend.
Kleine Zalze Cinsault 2016 (R67 cellar door)
The grandfather grape of SA red wine, Cinsault is enjoying a massive renaissance, particularly as we realise that it’s a tough, water-wise variety, perfectly suited to our dry soils. It’s made –albeit anonymously – most of the famous SA reds you can think of and is now getting the solo recognition it deserves. This is a great-value version, packed with light cherry fruit with fresh acidity and length.
Steenberg Ruby Rosé 2017 (R86 cellar door)
This is part of the new trio of wines from Steenberg which are named after three of the British ships involved in the Battle of Muizenberg in 1795. The wine is made from Syrah and Cinsault and nicely-dry making for a clean, modern, fresh and zesty wine with lovely cherry/berry flavours. Excellent with a snoek braai this weekend!
Merwida Family Vintners Chenin Blanc 2016 (R120 cellar door)
Lots of interesting stuff is happening ‘over the mountain’ in the Breedekloof and this wine is the perfect example. Merwida is best-known for perfectly-pleasant everyday quaffers, but this wine really steps up and goes to another level. Made by 6th generation winemaker Lieza van der Merwe, it’s full of ripe yellow fruit, sensitively oaked with a citrusy acidic backbone and length.
Bosman ‘Fides’ Grenache Blanc 2015 (R185 cellar door)
There are plenty of pockets of old vine Grenache in SA, mostly the red variety, but this one, made in a method dating back more than 6,000 years, is from the more unusual white version. It’s been fermented on the skins, giving it a distinct orange or gold colour as well as adding grainy pear-skin texture and rich mouthfeel. ‘Fides’ means ‘faith’ and I drank this bottle in honour of a young sommelier student who passed away far too young, but who was nevertheless part of the reason I have faith in the future of SA wine. RIP Wonga.
Opstal The Barber Semillon 2016 (R250 cellar door)
Another wine from through the Huguenot Tunnel – this time from the uber-talented 7th generation winemaker, Attie Louw. Semillon used to be so ubiquitous in SA, it was just called ‘groendruif’ or ‘wyndruif’ but here it’s been treated with the respect it deserves. The wine also celebrates Attie’s grandfather who worked as a barber after the 2nd World War and is a deliciously creamy, zesty drop, balancing freshness and richness to perfection.
Grangehurst ‘350’ Pinotage 2009 (R380 cellar door)
What better wine to celebrate our heritage with than one commemorating the very first wines made in the Cape? Grangehurst wines always repay keeping and owner/winemaker Jeremy Walker has carefully-aged this one for 7 years, allowing the black fruits, polish and perfume notes to settle and meld. Let’s drink a toast to Jan van Riebeeck, celebrating that very first vintage in 1659 with a glass of this today!
Lanzerac Mrs English Chardonnay 2016 (R450 cellar door)
Lanzerac is positively oozing in heritage – lovely buildings and grounds, strong links to Stellenbosch University, proud rugby connections and more – but the reason it’s known for wine? That’s down to the English! Mrs English – she was English as well by the way – is believed to be the first person to bottle the estate’s wine and if it was anything like this one, we can all be glad she did. It’s a big, bold Chardonnay, yet one with incredible elegance, subtle oak and an endless finish.
(image: iStock) There’s nothing better than a good old South African bring ‘n braai. Apart from your salad-and-garlic-bread responsibilities, here’s how to host a doozy. 1. Stop shopping Fridge and freezer space is at a premium at any get together, plus there are always leftovers galore after a braai.