There is really no reason to tiptoe around this, so I will just blurt it out: South Africa is amazing!
If you have been living under a rock for the past 20 years and think South Africa is only about red wine, consider this a wake-up call. It’s here where you can find any kind of wine from cool and quirky to classic. To get you up to date with current affairs, here is a cheat sheet of South African white wines you should be drinking right now.
Reyneke - Reserve white
Sometimes Sauvignon Blanc just doesn’t do it for me but when it is well made, oh my! The Reyneke Reserve White is downright sexy. Just give me some nice seafood and a bottle of this - you've never seen a wine disappear so fast.
Alheit Vineyards - Cartology
Chris and Suzaan Alheit's Cartology is making waves in the wine world. The wine is mostly Chenin Blanc, from various sites around the Cape, blended with some of that good Franschhoek Semillon. If you are looking for a wine where the vineyards do the talking, this is it.
Sadie Family Wines - Skerpioen
There is not much you can say about winemaker Eben Sadie that has not been said already. The man is a legend. If someone would have said to me 10 years ago that one of my favorite wines on the entire planet would be a blend of Chenin Blanc and Palomino from South Africa, I would have laughed at your face. It only took an old vineyard near the village of Dwarskersbos and Eben's Midas touch, and voilá. I am hooked.
Paul Cluver - Chardonnay
South Africa is a warm country, no? It produces only super jammy and intense red wines, right? Wrong. The cool climate of Elgin, a wine appellation 70 kilometers southeast of Cape Town, is ideal for producing fantastic crisp whites such as the Paul Cluver Chardonnay.
Crystallum - Clay Shales Chardonnay
Beware! Brothers Peter-Allan and Andrew Finlayson are producing seriously good wine. Their single vineyard Chardonnay is a modern classic that shows you what can be done with this terrific grape variety in “the new world”. Finlayson is already a household name in the South African wine scene and I don't expect it to change.
Boekenhoutskloof - Semillon
Some of the oldest vineyards in South Africa are planted with Semillon, and boy do they produce some ridiculously tasty juice. This badass of a grape variety should be on your to-do-list if you have not tasted it before. Boekenhoutskloof is next to impossible to pronounce without weird facial expressions but it's worth it, because BHK friggin' nails it with this wine.
Mullineux & Leeu Family Wines - Quartz
Swartland just might be the greatest wine region in the world right now. Interestingly it is not just the wines that make it stand out, but the people behind the wines. Talented winemakers such as Chris and Andrea Mullineux, and their beautiful interpretation of Chenin Blanc, are putting South Africa on the wine map in a big way.
Silwervis - Chenin Blanc
Swartland. Paardeberg. The hype is real. Winemaker Ryan Mostert’s white Silwervis is yet another reason for you to stop whatever you are doing right now and just drink Chenin Blanc.
Savage Wines - Savage White
After an illustrious career at Cape Point Vineyards winemaker Duncan Savage is taking on the world with his own brand Savage Wines. With his white wines especially, it seems that the man can do no wrong. This wine is a blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Clairette Blanche and Chenin Blanc. If you come across this wine, consider yourself lucky.
Testalonga - El Bandito Mangaliza
Winemaker Craig Hawkin’s white wine made from a Hungarian grape variety called Hárslevelü will make you question everything you know about South African wine. The wines of Testalonga are many things but boring they are not. You might call it an acquired taste but there is something really addictive about these wines. Perhaps it’s just deliciousness, plain and simple.