How to choose South African wines to celebrate with this summer

Celebrate with these South African wines this summer

By Renate Engelbrecht

Tuesday, Dec 13

If you’re starting to stock up on wines for the summer holiday and you need some suggestions, look no further. Below, I give you various options to choose from – some rather exclusive South African wines, others ideal for light summer drinking. They all come with their own uniqueness, as it should be with wine and I cannot hear which ones you choose and what you think of them!

Never hold back with these South African wines

“She teaches me that they world is made to be pounced on and enjoyed and that there is absolutely no reason at all to hold back.”

– French author, Annie Ernaux, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, 2022

Laborie South African wines

If you’re ready to pounce on the new year, then Laborie’s your match! Laborie is a South African wine brand with an affinity for French traditions since the farm had been granted to French Huguenot, Isaac Taillefert in 1691. Isaac came from the district of La Bri in the Poitou-Charentes area in France and today, the Tailleferts still make magic on the Paarl-based wine estate.

Laborie’s Chenin Blanc 2022 has recently won a Platinum award from the Michelangelo Wine Awards, flanked by a suitably impressive Double Gold for their Rosé 2022.

The pursuit of quality is woven into the very DNA of Laborie’s wines. Winemaker, Kobus van der Merwe says: “…We are honoured to make wines that consumers love to engage with, wines that they often pick to include in their most treasured memories. Wines that need to be pounced on and enjoyed!”

Be Good Natured

As Spier’s organic winemaker, Tania Kleintjes says: “When nature is in a good place, so is everything. Wine included.”

For those of us who are all about organically produced products, being good and staying healthy, Spier’s got your back this summer with their four brand-new Good Natured South African wines.

Spier Good Natured organic South African wines

Good wine starts with good, healthy soil and for Spier, that meant waiting patiently for seven years before they could launch this organic range. The launch of the Good Natured range marks a milestone, highlighting Spier’s commitment to working with long-term partners in the Cape to increase organic sourcing.

The range consists of four wines – two whites and two reds – and is made with fruit that grew in organic vineyards free of synthetic pesticides, herbicides, and fertilisers. Nature was invited back into the vineyard, encouraging a diverse ecosystem of plants, insects, and microorganisms.

If you’re looking for vibrant, flavourful wines that are organic, Spier’s Good Natured wines are it.

Choose the vineyard that makes the wine

Three South African wine estates have been listed in the prestigious World’s Best Vineyards Top 50 2022. Tokara ranks 47th on the list, while Creation and Klein Constantia lists 38th and 39th respectively. Italy tops the list with Antinori nel Chianti Classico in Tuscany taking the number one spot.

celebrate with these South African wines this summer

Needless to say, you can’t go wrong with wine from top vineyards like these. In fact, Tokara’s Cabernet Sauvignon once again took a bow amongst nine other Tokara wines in this year’s Tim Atkin’s South Africa 2022 Special Report. Both Tokara’s flagship 2019 red and white wines – the Director’s Reserve Red and the Director’s Reserve White – achieved 94 points. Tokara Reserve Collection Elgin Sauvignon Blanc 2021 and both the 2020 and 2021 vintages of the Reserve Collection Chardonnay all got 92 points.

Tokara’s TELOS 2017 got 97 points. It is the third vintage of Tokara’s pinnacle Cabernet Sauvignon, and it is due for release in 2023. Exciting!

Nostalgia on the nose

With its meaningful story, Diemersfontein’s old vine Chenin Blanc, the Clockmaker, is sure to leave you nostalgic this summer. The wine has just been launched and it comes with an old, but true story, fit for an old vine wine and one that takes you back to early years on the farm. As far back as 1941 to be exact.

Diemersfontein The Clockmaker summer wines

In that year, three Italian soldiers were captured in Libya and sent to South Africa, where they were put to work on the Wellington farm, Diemersfontein. Among them was Cesare Zanardi. He was born in 1917 in a small village near Parma, called Noceto. The three soldiers stayed in a small worker’s cottage on Diemersfontein and were mainly occupied in tending the farm’s dairy cows and working the apricot orchards or fruit drying business. Zanardi grew fond of the Sonnenberg family who owned the land, and long after the war, he told his family that despite the sad circumstances of being a prisoner of war, he had many good and warm memories of his years at Diemersfontein. After returning to Italy, Zanardi joined his siblings in their shop in the main square in Bolzano, Italy, where he introduced the importation of cuckoo clocks from the Black Forest in Germany – something that became very successful. He later even brought in his own artisans and other external producers, assembling grandfather clocks, exotic porcelain or bronze clocks, as well as wristwatches.

Wines are often named with a story attached to it. Hence, it’s only fitting that Diemersfontein has named this wine after someone that has formed such an integral part of the farm’s history. The wine was named in remembrance of Cesare Zanardi, his time and now Diemersfontein’s time.

“We can think of war and peace and friendship that endures and can be rekindled,” they say. Join in on the nostalgia and raise a glass to the memory of the late clockmaker and hope for a better world this summer.

P.S. This is also a great story to tell to those you share the wine with.

What’s your year?

According to the Chinese Zodiac, 2023 is the year of the rabbit. José Conde from Stark-Condé says he is a rabbit-year child himself, which is why he likes to think that there’s a wave of good fortune heading his way. Considering the new release of Stark-Condé’s Round Mountain Sauvignon Blanc 2022, this might just be true. This is the very first bottling of this specific wine since Stark-Condé was certified as a 100% organic wine estate. The vintage also marks seven years of making this wine – a Sauvignon Blanc more in line with his personal preference of a fruit-intense and mineral style. If you’re keen on a Sauvignon Blanc with a touch of age, this one might just be it.

South African wines to celebrate with this holiday season

Opt for summer exploration

Waterford Estate offers a lovely estate collection for summer, including favourites like the Waterford Rose-Mary – an elegant incarnation of a Blanc de Noir made with Shiraz, Mourvèdre, Malbec, Cinsaut, Tempranillo and Sangiovese cultivars. Chenin Blanc lovers can also enjoy the Waterford Old Vine Chenin Blanc this season, boasting grapes sourced from some of the oldest Chenin Blanc vines in Stellenbosch (dating back to as far as 1966). Or, opt for the Waterford Estate Chardonnay 2019, one of WineMag’s top 10 wines and a singular wine produced from a special and unique vineyard on the property. These vines were planted in 1988, making it one of the oldest Chardonnay vineyards in South Africa. They also have their Waterford Grenache Noir Single Vineyard which should make for the perfect sunset companion this summer. And, for the perfect summer braai combination, their Waterford Estate Cabernet Sauvignon should go down very well since it is the leading varietal at the estate.

Waterford Wine Estate summer explore

P.S. If you’re looking for something to do in the Cape this holiday season, consider visiting Waterford Estate for their Wine Drive Safari – a three-hour trip on their Land Rover through the beautiful slopes of the Helderberg mountains where you get to taste a host of award-winning wines amongst the vineyards of their origin. They also have an impressive Wine & Chocolate Tasting.

South African wines for enjoyment among friends

Epicurean Wines recently launched two exciting wines – a 2015 red blend, as well as the new Epicurean Chardonnay 2021 at Marble in Rosebank. The wine brand’s story is all about friendship. In fact, they say: “We should look for someone to eat and drink with before looking for something to eat and drink.”

For me, that is one of the main reasons why I’ve come to love wine so much. It’s about the conversation around a glass of Bordeaux-style red or a Chardonnay. Epicurean’s new vintages are the ideal conversation starters for this summer.

Epicurean wines

Choose something different

I recently tasted a couple of very fine wines from Ónoma Private Cellar, who use Greek methods to make their wines. You can read all about the wines and the estate here.

celebrate this summer with onoma private cellar's South African wines

South African wines from the top

If you follow the news on best wines to buy, you’ll know that this year’s top 10 Sauvignon Blancs have recently been named. So, Sauvignon Blanc fans, look no further than the list below. According to the panel of leading wine experts who had to select the best ten out of 161 wines during the prestigious 2022 FNB Sauvignon Blanc SA Top 10 competition, these are the best Sauvignon Blancs for summer:

Bonnievale The River Collection Sauvignon Blanc 2022
Cilmor Winemaker’s Selection Sauvignon Blanc 2021
De Grendel Sauvignon Blanc 2022
Diemersdal Sauvignon Blanc Reserve 2022
Kleine Zalze Vineyard Selection Sauvignon Blanc 2022
KWV Cathedral Cellar Sauvignon Blanc 2020
Paul Clüver Village Sauvignon Blanc 2022
Spier 21 Gables Sauvignon Blanc 2021
Strandveld Pofadderbos Sauvignon Blanc 2022
Zevenwacht Z Collection Sauvignon Blanc 2021

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