(2019) From the Western Cape, this at first looks like another cutely commercial SB to please the masses, its label festooned with jokey cartoon sheep. And while the wine is indeed a crowd-pleaser, it's also cleverly made with partial skin contact and around 30% fermented in 500-litre French oak casks, to give a little more weight, texture and ultimate interest than many at this price point. An undertow of toast and nutty aromatics to the bright citrus fruit, the palate with a bit of real concentration and salty character adding to the sense of freshness and length. The name and those sheep? Apparently a herd of wandering sheep did some early-morning leaf thinning as they munched their way through the vineyards.
(2018) Partner to the newly-introduced Chardonnay, and also bottled with the innovative twist off cork, this is a very nicely-pitched Sauvignon, showing both grassy, herbal zing and a ripe fruit profile. Touches of lychee and mago give an exotic flair, and the acidity balances that ripe fruit nicely into the finish.
(2018) For many, the main interest in this wine might be the closure on the bottle: the innovative 'Helix', an unscrewable cork, featured on wine-pages four years ago when it was announced, but appearing on a commercially available wine in the UK for the first time - watch the video for information and a demonstration of the cork, which is also on the Sauvingnon Blanc partner to this wine. The wine itself is a nicely fresh and crunchy Chardonnay, very lightly-oaked, and focused on succulent pear and more tropical fruit, with a herbal tang and lemony-fresh acidity. It's a nice example of restrained but ripe Chardonnay, and the cork is certainly a talking point.
(2018) Michel Rolland is consultant for this estate, and presumably this blend of Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinotage. The latter is fairly obvious on the nose, somewhere between smoky and a tiny bit rubbery depending on you viewpoint, but the meatiness of the Syrah and black fruit cassis of the Cabernet are there. In the mouth it is a big, bold but savoury style, the stripe of tannins drying the mouth, the alcohol a tad prominent, and in some ways this is an old-fashioned feeling Cape red - once again, a good or bad thing depending on your viewpoint.
(2018) There's a small but growing fashion for Southern Hemisphere winemakers to blend together aromatic white grape varieties that wouldn't normally sit together in classic European regions. This is a delightful example featuring mostly Sauvignon Blanc, along with Viognier and Semillon, blended to lovely effect as the grassiness of the Sauvignon, peach of the Viognier and buttery lemon of the Semillon combine. Zingy and vibrant, it's a silky charmer with lovely balance. On offer at £8.99 at time of writing.
(2018) Plenty of bangs per buck in this Western Cape Shiraz - though of course those bucks are buying Fairtrade's guarantee of good conditions and a fair wage for the farm workers too. Big, deep and smoky from its six months in oak, there's a chocolate depth and hints of sizzling bacon fat on the nose, before a full, powerful palate, brimming with black fruit and clove spice to deliver one helluva mouthful of wine at the price.
(2017) Named after the 5600 guilders the original Dutch settler paid for the Nederburg estate, a purchase of this wine generates a small donation to the #DoYourPart charity providing bicycles to some of South Africa's most underprivileged citizens. It opens with good generic pear and apple fruit, a little touch of exotic lychee and passion fruit, in bright style. In the mouth it has a touch of sweetness, but it is vivacious and flavourful, nodding towards the tropical, with enough acidity to balance and make it slip down very easily. Watch the video for more information on this wine and the charity.
(2017) Getting a Pinot Noir on the shelves at under £6 is a rare thing these days, and Nederburg have done not a bad job with this cherry cola-like, light and easy-drinking version. Cherry pits and briar on the nose, a touch of twiggy character, then the palate of modest red fruits - raspberry edged - light earthiness and a sour lemon acidity. It's no great Pinot by world standards, and a bit abrupt, but it is quaffable.
(2017) It is still relatively rare to see a single varietal Petit Verdot: one of Bordeaux's minor varieties rarely gets star billing. In Bordeaux small amounts are used to add spice to the blend, but here under the South African sun it gains extra fruit concentration, ripeness and smoothness. The colour is deep and saturated, and the nose shows plenty of spice and pepper, a clove and nutmeg character and glossy black cherry and plum. In the mouth that spiciness continues, and despite its 14.5% alcohol, it is braced by tight, fine tannins and a pert cherry pit acidity, that works against a creaminess and depth to very nice effect.
(2017) KWV is one of the great old names of South African wines and spirits, but today is a very modern winery with a youthful winemaking team, access to great fruit, and some excellent wines. They are also part owned by a Black Empowerment business, so represent the modern South Africa too. This is exuberant, explosive stuff with fruity and bright aromas of stone fruits and red apple, before a palate overflowing with fruit - more of that nectarine juiciness - and a good bedrock of acidity to offset the ripe sweetness of the fruit. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.