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Online Tasting – Discover South Africa

August 21 @ 19:00 - 20:30


If you thought lockdown in the UK was having it bad, spare a thought for wine lovers in South Africa, where there is now a ban on all domestic sales of alcohol. It’s an extreme measure which looks set to have a major impact on the local wine industry. 20,000 people have lost their jobs, and over the next 12 months, it’s estimated that dozens of wineries and hundreds of grape growers will go out of business.

A lone ray of sunshine is that wine exports are still allowed, so we’re going to see if we can do our bit for the South Africans with an online tasting.  We’ll be tasting Chenin Blanc, South Africa’s most widely planted grape, the quirky and South Africa’s very own Pinotage and Shiraz, which can perform as well here as it does in Australia.

I would recommend buying in advance:

  • 1 bottle of South African Chenin Blanc – the upmarket versions from supermarkets are usually respectable, as is the widely available Zalze Bush Vine Chenin. Others worth tracking down are Bellingham The Bernard Series (Tesco) and the Kaapzicht Bush Vine, Reyneke Organic and Morgenhof Estate (all Waitrose)
  • 1 Bottle of Pinotage – Beyerskloof Pinotage (Sainsburys) , Bellingham Pinotage (Tesco)
  • 1 bottle of South African Shiraz/Syrah – candidates would be Porcupine Ridge Shiraz (Sainsbury’s, Waitrose), Bellingham The Bernard Series Syrah (Sainsbury’s) and the Zalze Shiraz/Mourvèdre/Viognier (Asda, Waitrose, Co-op)

With each of them, don’t be tempted by cheaper versions – a false economy…As an accompaniment, many supermarkets now stock that South African speciality biltong. If you can’t find it, or don’t fancy it, lay in some salami and/or some cheese – goat’s cheese for the Chenin, mature gouda for the Shiraz.


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