Favorite wines are largely a matter of individual taste, however awards and peer recognition, as well as export orders can usually be used as yardsticks to measure the success of a country’s wine production.
In the case of South Africa widespread international recognition has been a mark of the success of its wine production and the excellence of its many different types of both red and white. this been the case for generations and has only accelerated since South Africa came out from under the dark cloud of Apartheid.
The South African region most often recognized for the excellence of its wines can be found in the Cape Province, South Africa’s most southerly province – which is also home to what many South African’s regard as the Mother City – Cape Town.
The Cape Winelands (as the area where wine production is widespread) boasts many areas of excellence, centered around the towns of Franschoek, Stellenbosch, Wellington, Robertson, Somerset West and Paarl. It is these areas where some of South Africa’s best wine farms are situated.
It’s a difficult choice to make, but if one were forced to identify five wine farms that should be on every international visitors the following 5 would certainly be in contention.
#1 Rust en Vrede.
Rust en Vrede has been around for over 300 years and produces some of the Cape’s most well respected Merlot’s, Cabernet’s and Shiraz (internationally know as ‘Syrah’) wines. Nelson Mandela has a keen appreciation for the wine produced at this estate and today it’s also known for it’s namesake restaurant which is consistently rated as among the best in South Africa.
Established in 1700 that wine farm consistently produces wines that score extremely highly in the top 100 wines of the world. The scenic gardens are an added attraction for visitors. The Cabernet Sauvignon V has won multiple awards across the world and is perhaps the star of the extremely attractive Vergelegen lineup. As far as white wines are concerned those in the know will always take the opportunity to stock up on the very well regarded the reserve Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc range available from the estate, it is however the red that has been favorably compared to the best that France has to offer.
#3 La Motte.
For some the La Motte Chardonnay can stand head to head with the best in the world – and the Sauvignon Blanc’s and Shiraz offerings are extremely well regarded as well. The Franschoek estate also plays host to the ‘Pierneef à la Motte’ restaurant – winner of multiple awards.
A well loved and regarded estate Meerlust was established in 1693 and it’s Bordeaux blend Rubicon can be found in some of the finest restaurants across the globe. Other notable reds are the Pinot Noir and Merlot offerings. It also has a wide variety of very impressive white wines available. A visit to this estate will simply not disappoint lovers of red wine – while the whites are elegant and subtle.
#5 Rust en Vrede.
This is one of South Africa’s most venerable wine estates being established in 1694. The estate produces only red wines and that focus has enabled it to built a reputation as one of the premier red wine producers in the world. The rich and velvety Shiraz, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon wines are an absolute delight.
A visit to the Cape Winelands will provide a rich and varied experience for any lover of wine. As a bonus the value of South African wine due to favorable exchange rate is simply very hard to beat.