From sparkling and dry wines to fortified and dessert-style selections, South Africa’s winemakers produce a wide range of styles from a vast array of grape varieties. But think “South African wine,” and you’re likely to conjure ideas of a lush, smoky Pinotage, a flavorful Cape blend or, possibly, a spicy Syrah. Unfortunately, it’s not common for a white wine to be top of mind. But there’s a world of white-wine wonder just waiting to be explored, from terroir-driven Chardonnays and pristine Chenin Blancs, to refreshing Sauvignon Blancs and much more. Since these underappreciated bottlings fly under the radar of many wine lovers, they’re priced reasonably relative to other quality whites from around the world. Beat the rush: Snap them up before South Africa becomes synonymous with extraordinary white wines.
Glenelly Estate Reserve Chardonnay ,Stellenbosch 2018
This wine starts off quiet and reserved, but with time, reveals itself as a lush and ripe selection. Aromas of red apple, toasted challah, honeycomb and banana cream pie slowly unfold in the bouquet and carry through to the medium-weight palate, where it is balanced by medium acidity and supporting tones of sweet citrus oil and baking spice. This wine gets better with age. No wood! A true representation of the grape.
90 pts. Wine Enthusiast
De Wetshof Estate Chardonnay , Bon Vallon Robertson 2018
The sensational Bon Vallon Chardonnay from De Westhof Estate is a wonderful fruit-focused wine that shows a delightfully dry disposition. From nose to palate, waves of fresh green apple, citrus and peach notes satisfy the senses, expressing their distinctive characters beautifully. The palate shows good weight and a lovely crisp and smooth texture, while a beautiful ribbon of minerality ushers in a satisfying finish that leaves a lingering aftertaste.
This wine is true representation of Chardonnay. Sees no wood.
DeMorgenzon, DMZ Chardonnay, Stellenbosch 2017
A bright and bouncy style, with lots of green and yellow apple fruit laced with honeysuckle and verbena notes. A light kiss of toast on the finish keeps this refreshing.
90 pts. WS
Solid aromas of white peach, gooseberry, sweet grass and lime leaf lead the bouquet of this charming wine. The medium-weight palate is cut by ample acidity, leading with ripe fruit flavors that transition to notes of pear skin and subtle gingery spice on the close. It's well balanced and offers good evolution through the sip. Drink now–2019.
#69 Wine Enthusiast Top 100 Best Buys