South African Whites
Long-suffering fans of South African whites rejoice (now, before you get all politically correct on me, let me clarify: I’m talking the wine here). South African white wines are achieving a real flare these days and that’s good for value-seekers.
While South African reds get criticized for tasting (or smelling) “dirty” or “road tar-ish,” or like “burning truck tires” — or in the case of the latest onslaught of Pinotage, achieving an unholy level of coffee character — the white wines are showing purity and delicacy in the aromatics department, while others, such as the Chardonnays, have got a lot of power and strength of character.
Lately I have found myself gravitating towards a number of South African whites, and when I put them in front of friends they are as surprised as I was by the wine in their glass. I am not quite ready to say that there is a resurgence in South African winemaking, but I am here to tell you that their white wines are revving up the bandwagon we’ll soon be jumping on.
Cape Point Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc 2012 ($15.95)
It’s a pretty bottle, and it houses an elegant Sauvignon Blanc with melon, white peach and hints of lemon pith.
Ken Forrester Reserve Chenin Blanc 2012 ($17.95)
Grilled pineapple and apricot with hints of poached pear; I’ve come to expect good things from South African Chenin and this one seems to deliver.
Bayten Chardonnay 2012 ($17.95)
I found this to be a good-value Chardonnay that hits all the high notes: plump white fruit with apple, pear and peach adding vanilla and hints of butterscotch for good measure, all with a spicy finish.
De Morgenzon DMZ Chardonnay 2012 ($14.95)
Another good-value Chardonnay with subtle pineapple and spice on the nose; palate finds peach with a touch of vanilla-spice; nothing overwhelms, everything seems in pleasant balance.