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The Nine Types of South African Wine

You can learn the different types of wines according to their styles. The nine styles of SA represent all the red, rose, white, sparkling and dessert wines.

The first vineyards to be planted were Groot Constantia, Buitenverwachting, Klein Constantia and Constantia Uitsig, which were all part of the Van der Stel’s original Constantia Estate. Upon their establishment, the wine industry grew steadily in the South African country which resulted in the establishment of various brands of wine. However, with the rise of the apartheid regime, the industry came to a standstill with the major farms collapsing or reducing their production. The wine industry is now experiencing a surge of new growth. South Africa recently beat Chile with production figures. It is also reported that South Africa produces half the total amount of wine produced by the U.S.

Wine is made from special grape varieties and other ferment-able materials. Wine making is considered more of an art than a science. The best winemakers have built their experience over time. Using both the nose and the palate. Making them masters in the art of producing the superb wines that we drink today.

Typically, there are two distinct ways to understand wines; by the variety or by the origin. For anyone new in the wine industry, you can start learning the different types of wines by classifying them according to their styles. The nine wine styles represent all the red, rose, white, sparkling and dessert wines.

The 9 Types of South African Wines

  • The full red wine
  • Medium Red wine
  • Light Red wine
  • Rose wine
  • Rich white wine
  • Zesty White wine
  • Sweet white wine
  • Dessert wine
  • Sparkling wine

Wines also come with distinct aromas. The primary aromas are due to the type of the grapes and the environment where they are grown. The primary aromas are described as fruit flavors, earthiness, herbal flavors, floral notes, and spices. Secondary aromas are as a result of the fermentation process that is influenced by the yeast used and flavors produced by other microbes. Proper wine aging can remove or reduce the secondary aromas. Tertiary aromas result from wine aging. Tertiary aromas include the vanilla aroma, nutty flavors and dried fruit aromas that are associated with older red wines.

Syrah (Shiraz) wine

Syrah wine is a good example of the full-bodied red wines. The wine contains high amounts of healthy antioxidants. It is has blackberry, blueberry, and boysenberry flavours. Syrah has dark fruit flavors that range from sweet blueberry to savory black olive. When placing your nose to a glass of Syrah, be sure to be greeted with a punch of flavor that tapers off and a spicy, peppery aftertaste. Syrah is blended with grapes that add more mid-palate, for instance, the Cabernet Sauvignon to make the wines taste more complete. Traditionally, Syrah was blended with the light bodied Grenache and richer Mourvedre to create the classic Cotes du Rhone blend.

Zinfandel wine

This is the wine that most beginners are introduced to making it popular among wine fanatics. It has a low alcohol content of 9-10%, low in calories and a pleasant sweet taste of strawberry, blackberry, sweet tobacco and five spice powders. The wine goes well with various foods that include chicken, cured meat, pork, lamb, barbecue, American, Thai, Chinese and Indian foods.

Pinot Noir Wine

Pinot Noir wine falls into the category of light body Red wines. It is one of the highly priced wines in the world. It is pale in color, translucent and with a very subtle flavor. It has Cranberry, Raspberry, and Cherry fruits. Pinot Noir wine takes 2-18 years to age depending on the style. It is best served at 170c

Garnacha Rose

Rose wines are typically the midpoint between Red and White wines. They, however, resemble the white wines more than the Red ones. Garnacha Rose is obtained when the juice of a Red wine is strained off before it becomes too dark. Garnacha Rose combines the brilliant ruby red hue with notes of strawberry, hibiscus, and orange and sometimes allspice. Garnacha Rose is best served well chilled.

Oaked Chardonnay

Rich white wines have often been confused with Red wines mostly when served with dark glassware. A well-aged Chardonnay has flavors that resemble pineapple, mango and guava. The wine is best served when chilled. The common food pairings include Pasta with Cream Sauce, Crab & Lobster, Tarragon Chicken, soft cheeses and all kinds of poultry. A new modern favorite is unoaked or unwooded Chardonnay. Give it a try and let us know if you prefer the old or the new style.

Riesling Wine characteristics

Sweet wines have perfumed aromas that fly off the glass upon sipping. The primary aromas of this wine include the apricot, nectarine, honey-crisp apple, and pear. They are best served together with Indian Cuisines, Citrus driven foods, Thai food, cake, cream sauce and ice cream. Though they are lowly priced, Riesling wines are very popular with wine enthusiasts from all over the world.

We hope that by explaining the types of South African wines in a little more details will encourage you to try as many wines as possible. South Africa truly produces some of the best wines in the world at some of the most affordable prices. So why not start your South African wines journey today.