South African wines to get you in that summer mood

There is a tendency among wine enthusiasts to constantly refer to the beauty of vineyards and wine regions, but some of this I think comes from the fact that we feel so at home in these magical places that produce our favourite sustenance.

The hills of Tuscany are no more beautiful than the Knockmealdown mountains but only one of these places produces Brunello di Montalcino.

To get an idea of the beauty of South Africa’s vineyards check out www.waterfordestate.co.za. Waterford Estate nestles in the shadow of the Helderberg Mountain and was a fruit farm but began growing grapes seriously in the late 1990s around the time winemaker Kevin Arnold arrived.

About half the 120-hectare estate is under vine but a good portion is left to the natural flora and fauna — biodiversity is a watch word on the estate and in the Cape generally given the diversity of flowers and plants here.

Waterford Estate grow what they can but will also outsource where needed such as to Elgin for their Sauvignon Blanc (€24.99).

The Sauvignon is worth seeking out for its pristine lemon verbena scented freshness and elegance. Similarly the Kevin Arnold Shiraz (€36 — Whelehans) has freshness as well as elegant berry fruit flavours and tinges of spice, leather and mint.

All the wines this week are from either Paarl or Stellenbosch in the Western Cape just a few miles east of Cape Town.

This is the oldest geology in the wine growing world with the oldest soils mainly based on granite or sedimentary rock such as sandstone and shale.

These soils inhibit the vines somewhat and discourage vigour so are excellent for grape growing. It is cooler in this region than you would expect and all the wines this week have a fresh quality.

I also have a Bellingham Estate wine below a company whose wines seem to have jumped in quality in recent years and are still fairly competitively priced — also watch for their Old Vine Chenin and their surprisingly drinkable and elegant Pinotage.

Boland Cellar and Meerestein are the other guys below — both entry level producers that punch above their weight. All these wines are from independent off-licences so shop local.

BEST VALUE UNDER €15

Boland Cellar Five Climates Sauvignon Blanc, Paarl, South Africa —€13.99-14.99

A blend from five different climates in Paarl, some used to bring freshness, others for ripeness. Cool fermented and left on its lees for up to three months and this comes through in the rich texture. A bright clean and tropical fruit tinged sauvignon with admirable freshness and intensity.
A blend from five different climates in Paarl, some used to bring freshness, others for ripeness. Cool fermented and left on its lees for up to three months and this comes through in the rich texture. A bright clean and tropical fruit tinged sauvignon with admirable freshness and intensity.

Stockists: JJ O’Driscolls, Matsons, O’Donovans, Vintry, Sheils Londis, Daybreak Churchtown

Boland Cellar Five Climates Chenin Blanc, South Africa — €13.99

 Also from the Paarl this is a good example of how well Chenin can grow in South Africa with a richer character than you will usually find in the Loire. This is fermented and given less contact like the sauvignon but has a touch of Parmesan cheese on the nose. Riper tropical flavours and lime leaf character but finishes with bracing crisp acidity.
Also from the Paarl this is a good example of how well Chenin can grow in South Africa with a richer character than you will usually find in the Loire. This is fermented and given less contact like the sauvignon but has a touch of Parmesan cheese on the nose. Riper tropical flavours and lime leaf character but finishes with bracing crisp acidity.

Stockists: As above

Meerestein Cinsault Rosé, Western Cape South Africa — €9.99-10.99

This was silver winner in the NOffLA awards last year and has a pretty pale pink colour, aromas of cranberries and raspberries with a hint of peach melba and a touch of dried strawberries on the finish. Meerestein wines are consistent, good value and tasty so watch also for others in the range.
This was silver winner in the NOffLA awards last year and has a pretty pale pink colour, aromas of cranberries and raspberries with a hint of peach melba and a touch of dried strawberries on the finish. Meerestein wines are consistent, good value and tasty so watch also for others in the range.

Stockists: Matsons, No. 21 Blarney and Midleton, O’Donovans, Roches Whitechurch, Gala Blackpool, Vintry, Martins

BEST VALUE OVER €15

Bellingham Homestead Series Shiraz, Paarl, South Africa — €16.99

The Homestead Series celebrates the Franschhoek Valley Homestead of the founders of Bellingham. Syrah/Shiraz grows well in South Africa and typically takes on darker flavours than elsewhere — this has chocolate tinged dark fruits with touches of clove and lingering bramble fruits
The Homestead Series celebrates the Franschhoek Valley Homestead of the founders of Bellingham. Syrah/Shiraz grows well in South Africa and typically takes on darker flavours than elsewhere — this has chocolate tinged dark fruits with touches of clove and lingering bramble fruits

Stockists: Matsons Grange and Blarney, No. 21 Off-Licences, Ardkeen Stores

Waterford Estate Single Vineyard Chardonnay 2014, Stellenbosch, South Africa — €29.99

From a single 5.8-hectare red clay and sandstone vineyard planted in 1988 at a time when virtually nobody else was growing Chardonnay. This has mouth-watering rich vanilla and sweet lemon flower aromas, fullbodied and fruity with spice touches and a textured limpid mouth-feel.
From a single 5.8-hectare red clay and sandstone vineyard planted in 1988 at a time when virtually nobody else was growing Chardonnay. This has mouth-watering rich vanilla and sweet lemon flower aromas, fullbodied and fruity with spice touches and a textured limpid mouth-feel.

Stockists: Ardkeen, World Wide Wines, Whelehans, McHughs, Donnybrook Fair, Jus de Vine.

Waterford Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2014, Stellenbosch, South Africa — €39.99

Grown on selected sites on Helderberg Mountain which seems to particularly suit this grape. There is a fresh herbaceous character on the nose but also cedar and red and black fruits and an elegant and approachable mouth-filling blackberry and blackcurrant textured finish.
Grown on selected sites on Helderberg Mountain which seems to particularly suit this grape. There is a fresh herbaceous character on the nose but also cedar and red and black fruits and an elegant and approachable mouth-filling blackberry and blackcurrant textured finish.

Stockists: Ardkeen, World Wide Wines, Gibneys, On The Grapevine, Whelehans, McHughs, Donnybrook Fair, Jus de Vine, McHughs


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