Following South Africa’s deserved Rugby World Cup victory I felt it was about time that I featured some of their wines. The first SA wines imported here in the ’90’s (after the boycott) struggled to compete with offerings from Australia and Chile but improvement came in leaps and bounds.
One wine we all fell for in the late 90’s was Fairview’s Goats do Roam (GdR), stocked by O’Briens. Others from Fairview Estate are stocked by Baggot St Wines, Sweeney’s and www.wineonline.ie but sadly not the sister wines of GdR - Goat Rôtie and Bored Doe.
The exciting news from South Africa in the last decade is the upsurge in quality from regions we heard little about in the 1990s such as Swartland and Franschoek. Old vines are very much in vogue (partly thanks to the work done by Viticulturist Rosa Kruger who created an old vine database on her website www.iamold.co.za). Established producers such as Sadie and Mullineux are making wines to match anywhere in the world but younger winemakers are also in on the act.
Kinnegar Wine imports a fascinating range of these new stars and a recent tasting of Mullineux’s range (including the Leeu and Kloof Street labels)- was hugely illuminating, especially their elegant complex Syrah and Chenin.
Mullineux recently won winery of the year for the fourth time in the 2019 Platter Guide. Kinnegar also imports Richard Kershaw, Sijnn, David & Nadia, Lismore and Paul Cluver - www.kinnegarwines.ie.
Pieter Walser of BLANKBottle is another star from South Africa who visited recently. He is based 45 minutes south of Cape Town in Somerset West.
He has 47 wines from 58 varietals sourced in 60 vineyards scattered all over the Western Cape. Everything is done in small batches so Wine Mason (www.winemason.ie) get a tiny allocation but anything with BLANKbottle on it should be snapped up. Watch out for: Boberg, My Koffer, Oppie Koppie and Kortpad Kaaptoe