|South African wines offer impressively good value, and feature styles and tastes that are food friendly, blending elegance and power. South Africa has been producing wine since the first vines were planted in the 17th century, brought by the Dutch governors of Cape Colony. At one time, the sweet wine of Constantia was the most prized in the world.
The most important South African wine regions are around the two cities of Stellenbosch and Paarl. A range of wine styles are made, from stunning blockbuster reds to full bodied Chardonnay and crisp, refreshing Sauvignon Blanc. Chenin Blanc, also known as Steen, is the local white workhorse grape capable of making impressive dry and sweet wines. Pinotage, South Africa’s own red grape (a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsault) still leaves wine critics divided, but can make great single-variety offerings as well as being a key component in Cape Blends. Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Bordeaux-style red blends are also among the country’s top reds.