A winemaking history dating back more than 300 years blends the restrained elegance of the Old World with the accessible fruit-driven styles of the New, making for wines which eloquently express the unique terroir of this great wine producing nation.
The Western Cape is cooler than its position might suggest, with ideal conditions for growing a wide range of noble grapevine varieties. The traditional winegrowing areas along the coastal zone are seldom more than 50 km from the ocean. The Cape mountain ranges form a backdrop to one of the most beautiful wine-producing areas of the world. The vineyards lie mainly on the valley sides and mountain foothills, benefiting from the many different mesoclimates offered by the mountainous terrain and diverse terroir. There's constant interaction between the rugged peaks and multi-directional valley slopes and the proximity of two mighty oceans – in particular the Atlantic, chilled by the icy Benguela current which flows northwards up the west coast of Africa from Antarctica – moderates the summer warmth. Cooling breezes blow in from the sea during the day, fog and moisture-laden breezes are prevalent at night. Adequate sunshine plays an important role too. Soil Types
South Africa is recognised as the cradle of mankind. The ancient soils of the Cape wine regions are highly varied, mainly due to pronounced differences in topography and geology.
Below are facts on some of the most important red and white wine grape varieties: Cabernet sauvignon has become our most widely planted red wine variety, accounting for over a quarter of the hectares planted to red wine grapes. It is grown in almost all the regions of the Cape but most extensively in Paarl and Stellenbosch Cape Sauvignon blanc, which has gained international recognition, flourishes in cooler areas like the Groenekloof ward near the Atlantic Ocean.
Many new vineyards have been planted to Chardonnay in recent years. The wines are made in a variety of styles and, whether oak-fermented and matured or left unwooded, Cape Chardonnay makes elegant wines full of fruit flavours. The most extensively planted white varietal in the Cape, food-friendly Chenin blanc is becoming increasingly popular. Traditionally blended with Cabernet sauvignon, Merlot is now increasingly bottled as a single varietal. Plantings of this fruity, rich variety are found mainly in Stellenbosch, Paarl and Worcester, as well as along the West Coast. In 1925, a South African viticulturist named Professor Perold crossed Pinot noir with Cinsaut (formally known as Hermitage) and Pinotage was born. This local variety is celebrated worldwide for the fruity wines it produces. Plantings of Rhône varieties have increased as they prove their worth at the Cape. Shiraz is emerging as one of South Africa's star players. It is made in a variety of different styles.
Passionate young winemakers today are aiming for a style which eloquently expresses our unique terroir.
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