Our next instalment of our exclusive Big Five blog series is delving into the fascinating world of South African wines and present our Big Five of South African wine varietals.
South Africa is known for its rich viticultural heritage and 30 different wine-growing regions. The majority of these are in coastal areas around Cape Town, with Stellenbosch as the centre. There are 2690 wineries in South Africa, some of which offer unique varietals showcasing the terroir and local winemaking expertise. Morukuru Family supports local wine farms and producers, and the cellars of the Morukuru Family are well stocked with carefully selected South African bottles.
Here are five distinct wine varietals that have their unique origins in South Africa:
1: Pinotage: Often considered South Africa's signature grape, Pinotage is a unique cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsaut (also known as Hermitage). It produces wines with a deep purple colour, robust tannins, complex flavours of red and black fruits, earthiness, and smokiness. Pinotage wines can range from medium-bodied to full-bodied and pair well with a braai and game dishes.
Michelle Le Roux, group sommelier at Morukuru Family, chooses Rickety Bridge Pinotage to go with Grilled Impala fillet served with Parsnip fondants, a creamy parsnip puree, roasted beetroots and caramelised leeks topped with a beetroot Jus
2: Chenin Blanc: Widely grown in South Africa, Chenin Blanc is a versatile white grape variety. It yields wines with a range of styles, from crisp and dry to lusciously sweet. South African Chenin Blanc exhibits flavours of tropical fruits, citrus, and honey, often accompanied by refreshing acidity. It pairs well with seafood, salads, and creamy cheeses.
Food & Beverage Manager Mauritz Greef has selected Villiera Barrel Fermented - Chenin Blanc to go with one of his favourite seafood dishes, Kingklip a la vongole with cream of king carrot, burnt baby leek confit tomato and charred baby corn rib with a creamy white wine sauce.
3: Cape Riesling (Crouchen Blanc): Despite its misleading name, Cape Riesling (also known as Crouchen Blanc) is unrelated to the German Riesling grape. It produces aromatic white wines with floral and tropical fruit notes. Cape Riesling wines are generally dry, with bright acidity and a light body. They pair well with seafood, spicy dishes, and Asian cuisine.
Chef Esmaralda Kloeck is a wizard with spices and lists Jordan Riesling to accompany Spiced Pork “Poke” bowl with a Soy Ginger dressing
4: Pinotage Rosé: Building upon the popularity of Pinotage, South Africa also produces Rosé wines from this unique grape. Pinotage Rosé wines offer a beautiful pink hue and display vibrant fruit flavours like strawberries, raspberries, and watermelon. They are crisp, refreshing, and perfect for enjoying on warm summer days or as an aperitif.
Owner of Morukuru Family, Ed Zeeman, loves a local rosé - and he wouldn’t miss an opportunity to pair Painted Wolf the den Pinotage Rosé with a classic Caesar salad.
5: Hanepoot (Muscat of Alexandria): Hanepoot, also known as Muscat of Alexandria, is an aromatic grape variety known for its sweet and musky flavours. It produces luscious dessert wines with intense floral aromas, honeyed notes, and hints of exotic spices. Hanepoot wines are often enjoyed as a dessert on their own or paired with fruit-based desserts and cheeses.
Michelle le Roux tells us that one of her favourite ways to end a meal is with a glass of Boplaas Hanepoot and a cheese platter created by Chef Geofrey.
We couldn’t limit ourselves to just fine wine varietals, we had to add one more, the Méthode Cap Classique! In a nutshell, Méthode Cap Classique or MCC for short, is the South African version of Champagne – these are South African Sparkling Wines made by the traditional Champagne method. Ed Zeeman says, “I always think the beach lends itself to rose or white wine, and if we are celebrating or welcoming friends or guests, I select some bubbles”.
These unique wine varietals from South Africa reflect South Africa’s diverse winemaking landscape and offer an exciting exploration of flavours and aromas. Whether you prefer reds, whites, or something in between, Morukuru Family has something for everyone. We believe that variety is the key.