Liverpool gets the lowdown on SA wine

Andrew Campbell is wine columnist on the Liverpool Echo and his latest column on SA wine supplies a fascinating vignette of how the home town of the Beatles views SA wine.

20120704 200322 Liverpool gets the lowdown on SA wine

“SOUTH Africa’s wine industry dates back to 1659 when the founder of Cape Town produced his first brew.

With so much history the country’s wine-making should have flourished yet Apartheid plunged the industry into international isolation. Since the fall of white rule, South African wine-making – still mainly based around Cape Town – has improved dramatically with a programme of vine improvement and the country is once again producing world-class vintages.

One of the country’s very oldest producers, Boschendal from the Western Cape, is a familiar sight on our supermarket shelves. Tesco is selling their Lanoy Cabernet sauvignon 2010 reduced by £2 to £6.99 until July 17. It has an earthy nose of berry and spice with rich flavours and a fair amount of tannin. It’s a Decanter Bronze medallist though its complexity may not appeal to some.

Chenin blanc remains South Africa’s most planted grape variety but sauvignon blanc accounts for nearly 10% of vines and is the second most planted white grape. Tesco is selling Firefinch sauvignon blanc 2011 from South Africa’s Robertson region at £7.29 – reduced by £2 until July 17. Made by Springfield Estate, it’s typically New Zealand in style with smooth and moderately intense flavours of ripe tropical fruit and grapefruit. It’s good but better New Zealand sauvignons are available at the price.

A couple of months ago I raved about Tesco’s Finest Voor Paardeberg roussanne 2011, made by Boschendal in South Africa’s Paarl region. At the time it was reduced to £5.99. Well there’s even better news: the rich, complex wine with flavours of peach and pineapple is now reduced to a too-good-to-leave-on-the-shelves £4.49.”

Some points for marketers to ponder:

Jan van Riebeeck’s first vintage was a “brew.”
SA winemaking is still mainly based around Cape Town.
Boschendal seems to have lost the terroir battle with its appellation the all embracing Western Cape.
The complexity of the Lanoy Cabernet “may not appeal to some.”
A Robertson Sauvignon Blanc is criticized as being worse value for money than Kiwi Sauvignon Blanc.
Voor Paardeberg has yet to emerge from the shadow of the Paarl appellation.

Let’s hope WOSA adds Andrew to its list of invitees for Cape Wine 2012.