The sunny warmth of the Cape produces some European-style wines with a touch of New World fruit and texture. Savoury but rich Cabernet blends, stylish, opulent Chardonnays, and the fresh fruit salad flavours of top Chenin Blanc.
South African wine was first pressed from grapes grown on the Cape of Good Hope in 1659. Huguenot refugees fleeing from religious persecution in France, brought their knowledge of winemaking to their new home, giving South African wines a distinctly French ambiance. Britain was at war with France in 1806 when it first occupied the Cape, and so their access to French wines was limited; wine from South Africa as an excellent substitute. By 1859, over one million gallons of South African wine were being exported to Britain every year. The UK continues to be South Africa's biggest market for wine exports even today.
White grapes have dominated South African winemaking from the start: What wasn't consumed at home or exported was distilled to make brandy. Chenin Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc are the most popular white grape varieties. The most popular red grape varieties are Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinotage, a hybrid of Pinot Noir and Cinsaut - called Heritage grapes in South Africa.
In 1885 grape phylloxera finally hit the Cape of Good Hope where the aphid had the same devastating effect that it had had in Europe. Since then, wine from South Africa has typically been made from high yield varieties grafted on to American rootstock.
Today the focus in South Africa's winemaking industry is on producing a red wine that will gain an audience abroad. While white wine from South Africa is considered good enough for a sophisticated palate, many connoisseurs dismiss South Africa's red wines with the adjectives smoky and meaty. With a wine selection that's an oenophile's dream, Serenata is your Internet source for wine from South Africa or any place else for that matter. Whether you're shopping for a fine wine, delicious chocolates or a lovely bouquet for that special someone, you will find the finest quality at the lowest price at Serenata.