The Best Range Of South African Wine: A Beginner’s Guide

Are you new to the world of South African wine types? If so, you’ve come to the right place! This beginner’s guide will provide you with an overview of some of the best South African wines available, as well as tips and tricks on how to select the perfect bottle. From crisp white wines to robust reds, South African wine has something to offer for everyone. So if you’re looking to explore the world of South African wine brands, this guide is your first step towards discovering a wealth of unique and delicious flavours.

Chenin Blanc

Chenin Blanc is a popular white wine varietal hailing from South Africa. It is known for its crisp acidity and floral notes, as well as its ability to age well. This versatile wine is produced in a wide range of styles, ranging from dry and light to sweet and full-bodied. Chenin Blanc is an ideal choice for any occasion and pairs well with poultry, pork, and seafood dishes.

The aromas of Chenin Blanc vary depending on the style. Dry wines have aromas of white flowers, citrus, green apples, and honey. Sweet wines may have intense tropical fruit aromas of pineapple, mango, and passion fruit.

On the palate, dry Chenin Blancs are crisp and acidic with flavours of green apple, citrus, and tropical fruit. Sweet wines are smooth and viscous with a rounded body and flavours of honey, peach, apricot, and ripe tropical fruits.

Sauvignon Blanc

Sauvignon Blanc is a light-bodied, acidic white wine that originated in the Loire Valley of France. It is one of the most popular white wines available in South Africa, and it has become a staple of many wineries’ portfolios.

The flavours of Sauvignon Blanc can range from herbal, grassy and herbaceous to fruity and tropical. This wide range of flavour profiles makes it an extremely versatile wine for pairing with a variety of foods. Additionally, its low levels of tannin make it enjoyable to drink on its own as well.

When selecting a Sauvignon Blanc from South African wineries, you will find that each bottle is distinctively different. The unique terroirs of each region are reflected in the wines’ flavour profiles, and South African Sauvignon Blancs tend to have a more pronounced herbal and grassy character than those from the Loire Valley.

The best Sauvignon Blancs from South Africa will often contain notes of lemon and lime, as well as aromas of freshly cut grass, green pepper, and sometimes even grapefruit or passionfruit. They are also known for their crisp acidity and light body, making them an ideal accompaniment to light dishes such as salads and seafood.


Chardonnay is one of the most popular white wines in South Africa. It is made from a green-skinned grape variety and is one of the main ingredients in South African sparkling wines. Chardonnay is light-bodied and low in acidity, making it a great choice for those who prefer white wines with a subtle flavour.

South African Chardonnays tend to be more medium bodied than their counterparts from other countries, and are known for their characteristic notes of citrus, apples, pears, and green melon. Many producers choose to age their Chardonnay in oak barrels which adds additional complexity, as well as a hint of vanilla and buttery aromas. Chardonnay from South Africa can range from light and crisp to rich and full-bodied, so it’s important to choose one based on your personal preference.

Overall, South African Chardonnay offers a great balance between fruity flavours and structure. It’s the perfect choice for white wine lovers who are looking for something with a bit more character than typical whites. Whether you’re looking for something to enjoy with a meal or on its own, you can’t go wrong with South African Chardonnay.


Pinotage is a unique South African wine varietal created by blending Pinot Noir and Cinsault grape varieties. It is one of the most distinctive wines from South Africa, with its own distinct flavour profile. Pinotage wines tend to be deep ruby red in colour, with a robust body and intense aromas of blackberries, plums, and smoky leather. These aromas give way to flavours of sweet cherries, roasted nuts, mocha, black pepper, and spice. The wine has moderate tannins and good acidity, giving it a refreshing finish.

When it comes to food pairings, Pinotage is an ideal match for grilled meats, hearty stews, and strong cheeses. It can also be enjoyed on its own as an aperitif or dessert wine. For those looking to try a new and exciting South African varietal, Pinotage is the perfect choice!


Wine tasting for dummies: A beginner's guide

Merlot is one of South Africa’s most popular wines, and for good reason! Merlot is a red wine made from the Merlot grape variety. It has a soft, smooth taste that can be enjoyed by both novice and experienced wine drinkers.

In South Africa, Merlot is grown in the Paarl, Franschhoek, Stellenbosch, Constantia, Walker Bay and Robertson regions. This produces a range of styles of Merlot, from dry to sweet. The flavour profile of Merlot is generally described as being fruity, with aromas of ripe cherries, plums, currants, and hints of cedar and tobacco. Its taste is mellow and soft on the palate, with moderate tannins and a good balance of acidity.

Merlot pairs well with foods like steak, poultry, stews, mushrooms, and other vegetables. Its mild tannin levels mean it won’t overpower lighter dishes like salmon or trout.

If you’re new to wine and want to try a Merlot, we recommend looking for one from the Walker Bay region. Here, the terroir produces a medium-bodied wine with plenty of ripe fruit flavours, alongside hints of chocolate and spice. Or if you’re feeling adventurous, why not try a late-harvest Merlot? These wines tend to have more intense aromas and sweeter flavours.

Cabernet Sauvignon

Cabernet Sauvignon is a red wine grape variety that is grown in many countries around the world, but it is particularly known for its contribution to some of South Africa’s most iconic and internationally renowned wines. Cabernet Sauvignon is a full-bodied, tannic variety that produces intense red wines with flavours of blackcurrant, cedar, and tobacco. Wines made from Cabernet Sauvignon are often blended with other varieties such as Merlot and Shiraz, which adds complexity and depth to the wine. South African Cabernets are typically rich and fruit-forward, with notes of black cherry, blackberry, and plum. They often have good acidity and balance, making them well suited for aging in the bottle. These wines pair well with robust dishes like beef, lamb, and game, as well as hard cheeses. So if you’re looking for a bold and complex South African red wine, Cabernet Sauvignon should definitely be at the top of your list.


Shiraz is a full-bodied, robust red wine produced in South Africa. Originating from the Rhone Valley in France, Shiraz is made with a blend of Shiraz and Cinsault grapes. Its aromas of ripe berries and spice make it an incredibly versatile wine for all occasions.

On the palate, Shiraz offers rich fruit flavours of blackberry, plum, blueberry and ripe cherry, complemented by notes of black pepper, licorice, cloves and leather. The tannins are soft and supple, making this wine easy to enjoy. Its vibrant acidity makes it perfect for pairing with heartier dishes such as barbecued meats or smoked fish. It also pairs well with tomato-based dishes like pizza or pasta sauces.