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Why South African Wines?

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By Gina Trippi

South Africa can boast more than 300 years of wine making history.

And South African winemaking is often said to link Old World Style characterized by lighter-bodied, lower in alcohol content with brighter acidity, and more earth-driven flavors with New World Style that shows fuller-bodied, higher in alcohol with lower acidity making the wines much riper and richer on the palate.

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South African wines are made following New World techniques but are Old World in style!

Most South Africa’s wine-producing regions have a Mediterranean climate resulting from the meeting of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. With vineyards close to the coast, cooling breezes bring moderate temperatures dissuading frosts in the crucial stages of vine development.

Varietals that have been widely available in this country from South Africa include:

Pinotage, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. But there are so many more!

The history of South African wine making starts with Dutch settlers planting vines in the 1650s. Three decades later, the Huguenots arrived from France bringing viticultural skills and setting up shop. The South African wine industry was severely impacted by phylloxera in the 1860s with farmers surviving by planting easy to grow varietals.

As producers worked to improve quality, the industry was dealt another blow, reaching an all-time low due to apartheid politics. Nelson Mandela’s release from prison in 1990 and subsequent election as President reinvigorated the industry.

Since the end of apartheid, the South African wine industry has found international acclaim for its wide variety of styles and varietals and is now one of the most prominent wine-producing countries in the Southern


Today, traditional varietals are still grown but farmers have added more French varietals including Semillon, Malbec Roussanne and Tannat. Metro Wines has found quality expressions of these varietals through Sa-vor, a small import and distribution business, passionate about promoting South African wine and the people that produce it.

The 2021 Malbec from Mt. Vernon presents a dark, magenta core with a wide, bright rim and a ripe berry nose packed with mulberry and blackberry followed by earthy and oaky notes.

Deep, rich and full on the palate, chocolate and ripe plum add complexity to this full bodied wine with a solid backbone packed with flavor. Mt Vernon is a small but frequently awarded winery in the Western Cape.

The 2021 Single Vineyard Pella White Granite Sémillon offers crisp acidity and aromas of citrus and melon when young and, when matured, the wine develops honey and nutty flavors with a rich creaminess. This Sémillon is good now but can age deliciously up to 20 years in a bottle!

The farm where the winery sits dates back to 1682. Pella focuses on handcrafted wines from specially chosen single vineyards throughout the Western Cape. Pella, meaning “place of gathering”, refers to the union of hand chosen terroirs and old vines.

The importer encourages you to follow their work on Instagram @sa_vor_wines. And we encourage you to try South African wines @MetroWines.

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