The best South African wines available in the UK

wine bottle

There are so many excellent South African wines to choose from. Whether you prefer a deep, dark Shiraz or a chilled Sauvignon Blanc, you should make sure you try plenty from the wide range available.

South African wines have been made since the 17th century, but it took rather longer for the rest of the world to catch up. Today, there is plenty of interest in South Africa’s extremely impressive variety of wines, which means lots of different wines to choose from.

 

Which South African wines are the best?

Many South African wines hail from the coast and come with the crisp acidity a sea breeze brings to grapes. The coastal areas also boast sauvignon blancs that more than measure up to New Zealand’s versions.

Elsewhere in South Africa, you’ll find rich, fruity shiraz and merlot. Bruce Jack Shiraz 2018 is a good example of a decent South Africa red wine. It has very plummy and rich flavours and is made by a winemaker who prides himself on producing “little bottles of joy”. Expect to taste hints of dark fruits, chocolate and some spiciness.

For a crisp white try Leaf Plucker 2018 from winemaker Thys Louw. Apparently named after the sheep that munch his vines every morning, this sauvignon blanc is everything you want from a sauv blanc. It’s fruity, crisp and zingy, with the always popular notes of gooseberry that you expect from sauvignon blanc.

 

Other wines from South Africa

If you want a sweet, richly flavoured dessert wine, go for something like Rustenburg Straw Wine 2017. It’s called ‘straw wine’ because of the drying process used in its manufacture. The grapes are placed on straw to dry naturally. As the straw soaks up the grape juice, the fruit doesn’t rot. The wine is then further aged in barrels to produce this richly flavoured dessert wine. It’s delicious with puddings, desserts or blue cheeses.

A celebratory fizz that will please everyone, the Pongracz Brut Sparkling Wine Method Cap Classique is a great choice. It’s made, as the name suggests, in the classic French champagne style with a 60/40 split between chardonnay and pinot noir grapes. This sparkling wine is award-winning and hails from the Stellenbosch region. It’s a delicious blend of fruity and crisp apple flavours that make idea for any celebration or special meal.

For an organic wine, try Waterkloof Circumstance Syrah. This is made at a vineyard that is family-owned, biodynamic and organic. The winery is also a WWF Biodiversity Champion farm and can be found on the edge of the wine producing region of Stellenbosch. This wine is packed with flavour and character with plenty of dark berry flavours. It goes well wit all kinds of meaty or flavourful dishes.

Another organic choice is Stella Organics No Sulphur Added Fair Trade Merlot 2017. As its label spells out, this red is organic, certified Fair Trade and has no sulphites added. It’s vegan and rammed with red berry, plum and cherry flavours. It would go very well with a hearty veggie or vegan pasta dish.