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A buyer's guide to South African wines

South Africa is the ninth largest wine-producing country in the world, and the country produces a wide range of wines. With this article, you can find out all that you need to know on South African wines.

Wine varieties

Wine-making in South Africa is very much concerned with "terroir" - ensuring that the quality of the soil is adequate to make good wine. This, and the astounding bio-diversity in the wine-making regions means that you will be able to sample many varieties of South African wine. White wine
Most South African wine is white, with chenin blanc being the most commonly used variety of grape. However, chardonnay and sauvignon blanc are also popular varieties of grapes in South African wine vineyards. Red wine
Red wine is becoming more popular across the globe. As South Africa exports a lot of wine to the UK, red wine production is developing in the country. Cabernet Sauvignon is the most popular red wine grape, although, South Africa is propably best known for Pinotage wine, which was developed in the country. This is a crossing between Pinot Noir and Cinsaut and has plum and blueberry flavours, with a hint of spiciness.

Food with wine

While most South African wine is produced in the Cape Peninsula, the bio-diversity of this region allows for numerous wine varieties to be devloped. When buying any of these wines, you should consider the food that you will be serving it with. Fish
If you are serving fish, you should get yourself a bottle of Chenin Blanc, which complements white fish wonderfully. Sauvignon Blanc is probably the best choice if you want a wine to go with shellfish, or fairly meaty fish such as tuna. Chicken
South African varieties of Chardonney go very well with chicken. The rich fruit flavours in this wine even compliment fairly spicy dishes, making it an excellent accompaniment to chicken curries. Beef
Whether you are having a steak or a beef stew, a red wine will go well with it. A Cabernet Sauvignon or a Shiraz are the ideal choice if you want a wine to go with red meat. Vegetables
If you are serving a vegetarian meal, a Pinotage is your best choice of wine. This complements the rich flavour of portobello mushrooms.

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