We are passionate about South Africa wines. For example, in the last few weeks, we discovered five remarkable bottles from MAN Family, Stark-Condé, Lievland and Boekenhoutskloof. All four are well-known South African producers. Three lovely Chenin Blancs paired nicely with our patio on these dwindling warm evenings. Meanwhile, two rich Cabernet Sauvignons graced our dinner table. Read on for details.
South Africa Wines: 2022 MAN Family Free-Run Steen Chenin Blanc ($12)
First, MAN Family Wines 2022 Free-Run Steen Chenin Blanc drinks way above its $12 price point. Next, it’s a perfect sipper or apéritif. But it also pairs well with seafood and poultry dishes. Therefore, we enjoyed it with freshly caught crab. This is a crisp, expressive and mouth-watering Chenin Blanc with minerality and vibrant acidity from grapes grown in Malmesbury shale. Moreover, Steen, the traditional South African word for Chenin Blanc, thrives in the climate and deep soils of the region. Aromas of pear and pineapple lead into beautiful flavors of apples and hints of citrus, peaches and tropical fruits.
2021 Lievland Vineyards Old Vines Chenin Blanc ($19)
Lievland Vineyards 2021 Old Vines is 100% Chenin Blanc, made from 38-45-year-old vines, and certified sustainable. Its light straw color has a golden-greenish hue, with flavors of stone fruit, lemon, lime, orange peel, and tropical fruit, with hints of spices and hazelnuts. Further, this Chenin Blanc is clean and refreshing, with vibrant acidity and minerality. We paired it with a delicious crab dip, however it would also complement other seafood dishes, chicken, pasta with a cream sauce, and mild cheese. Lievland, directly translated, means “love of land.” José Conde and Tyrrel Myburgh, partners in MAN Family Wines, purchased Lievland estate in 2017.
2021 Stark-Condé Monk Stone Chenin Blanc ($30)
Stark-Condé planted Chenin Blanc 14 years ago on higher, cooler slopes and granite soils of their organically grown, high-altitude vineyard block in the Jonkershoek Valley of Stellenbosch. Likewise, the winery named the Monk Stone Chenin Blanc for the large boulder that punctuates the vineyard. Matured in a combination of handmade clay amphorae and French oak barrels, this spectacular Chenin Blanc features a steely, stony purity and intensity. Aromas of honey, herbs and Crème Brulée lead into flavors of lemon, lime, stone fruit, melons and apples, with salinity and a mineral backbone. In addition, stellar winemaker Rüdger Van Wyk describes this beauty as a complex, mineral-driven, fresh, textured and age-worthy wine.
2019 Stark-Condé Stellenbosch Cabernet Sauvignon ($30)
Stark-Condé calls 2019 Stellenbosch Cabernet Sauvignon the bedrock of their winery, which is “first and foremost a Cabernet producer.” Generally referred to as their “Estate Blend,” this vintage comprises 87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Petit Verdot and 3% Malbec. That is to say, Stark-Condé sources the grapes from four different Cabernet blocks and their best Malbec, and Petit Verdot vineyards. For instance, while the elevations and soil textures vary, the soil type is consistently decomposed granite and iron-rich red soils typical of Stellenbosch mountain vineyards. Aromas of blackberries, tea leaves and cedar lead into flavors of dark fruit and mocha. In other words, this is an approachable, food-friendly Cab to pour at dinner with good friends.
2019 Boekenhoutskloof Franschhoek Cabernet Sauvignon ($69)
Boekenhoutskloof 2019 Franschhoek Cabernet Sauvignon is an exceptional wine for a special occasion. This Cabernet is luscious, smooth and impressive. Marc Kent is the owner and highly regarded chief winemaker, with a commitment to quality. With this wine, he says, his intention is “to create a classic Cabernet Sauvignon, and respect the signature Boekenhoutskloof style.” Marc blended 10% Cabernet Franc with the Cabernet Sauvignon from vineyards that have been organically farmed for 12 years. Aromas of dark berries, cherries, cassis and spices are mirrored on the elegant, rich palate along with red licorice, nutmeg, hints of dark chocolate, and minerality. Consequently, this Cab will go marvelously with steak.
Summary: South African Wines
In conclusion, we are always delighted to experience South Africa wines. Certainly, we recommend all five of these bottles of Chenin Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon. We can’t wait to taste more from this exciting wine region.
Thank you, Vineyard Brands, for the samples.
Margot and Dave