South African wines are making a splash in the city. Here few places where you can indulge in a sip of white, red or sparkling.
According to Nielsen data, South Africa is earning the attention of the US wine industry. The research has shown a 25-percent growth in value for total sales over 2016. Northern California is one of the nation’s biggest markets for South African wine. “This means that people are not only drinking a lot more South African wines in this area, they’re also drinking more wine in general,” said Jim Clarke, who recently taught a wine class at the Town Hall restaurant in San Francisco.
Among the regional varietals, the white Chenin Blanc seems to be one of the most requested. Even wine critic Matt Kramer listed Chenin Blanc as one of the best bottles to try in 2017. “Chenin Blancs are leading the way in California, which makes sense since it’s not a variety that competes directly with California wines. There isn’t much Chenin grown here,” says Clarke.
Fairly new to the palates of wine novices, South African bottles are starting to pop up more on menus at Bay Area restaurants and tasting rooms. For those who are curious to try them, here our favorite spots in the city to experience the South African wines.
Maritime Wine Tasting Studio
Graham Beck Demi-Sec Light and Graham Beck Brut, both from the Western Cape region, are favorites among the staff at this North Beach tasting room. “The light version, with its yeasty aromas and hints of butterscotch, honey, and praline, goes perfectly with a meringue cake served with figs and nuts. When pairing sweet wines with desserts, the wine should be sweeter than the dessert. The brut has a creamy complexity on the palate and can be paired with oysters and red onion mignonette,” says Pieter Ferreira, cellar master at Graham Beck. // Maritime Wine Tasting Studio, 222 Columbus Ave. (Jackson Square), maritimetasting.com
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