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Golden Grape: South African Stunner

SA StunnerIn the latest Golden Grape Awards, Majestic staff chose their South African Stunner.

From the flagship Pinotage to a host of more mainstream grape varieties and a winemaking history stretching back to the 17th century, South Africa is a country of bewildering variety. So how did we choose from such a diverse selection…? Did Pinotage reign supreme, or was there an uprising from one of the many other contenders?

A clear winner with more than half of the vote at 55%, Majestic staff really do love recommending:

Bellingham ‘The Bernard Series’ Old Vine Chenin Blanc, Winner!

Bellingham 'The Bernard Series' Old Vine Chenin Blanc 2010 Western Cape

“For an alternative to Chardonnay look no further than this decanter award winning Chenin Blanc. Made from low-yielding 40 yr old vines, and matured in French oak for 12 months it’s no surprise that this is a complex and bold wine, layered with tropical fruit, peaches and citrus fruit, with the added punch of creamy vanilla and toasty oak that lingers in the mouth beautifully. Enjoy with pan-fried monkfish or with a creamy chicken dish.”

Arfon, Assistant Manager, Majestic Cheltenham

In a merry second place with 18%:

John X Merriman 2008 Rustenberg, Stellenbosch

John X Merriman 2008 Rustenberg, Stellenbosch

William, Manager, Maidstone“Named after the last Prime Minister of Cape Colony, this is truly a Premier wine! It takes its inspiration from France using all five permitted Bordeaux grape varieties, and maturing in barrel for 20 months. With concentrated toast and blackcurrant notes on the nose, the palate has all the structure, complexity and length of a fine claret, but with an additional dark berry twist. At this price, it must be considered a bargain!”

William, Manager, Majestic Maidstone

An appetising third place with 14%, Majestic staff are smitten with:

The Caracal 2006 Neethlingshof, Stellenbosch

The Caracal 2006 Neethlingshof, Stellenbosch

“As the dusty Shiraz‘ and Pinotage from SA remain divisive amongst many, my favourite Saffa wines are the Bordeaux style blends. Neetlingshof’s Caracal is a perfect example. Smooth tannins and juicy blackcurrant flavours make it a beauty with any red meats, and its refined character is bound to impress friends. It comes from a wine farm steeped in history, and is named to celebrate the return of the pest-controlling Caracal to the estate after a pro-longed (and enforced) absence. You’ll be hard pressed to find better value from SA at £11.99.”

Graham, Ecommerce Analyst

Another popular Bordeaux Blend with 9% of the votes, a fully justified presence amongst the final five:

Vergelegen Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2008 Stellenbosch

Vergelegen Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2008 Stellenbosch

Sven, Manager, Fleet“From my favourite SA producer, whose winery is set in its own award winning gardens and even has a gourmet restaurant on site, this Bordeaux mix punches well above its French rivals, offering juicy plum fruit and hints of pencil shavings on the nose and a silky, autumnal fruit palate. You even get smooth tannin, something that’s difficult to find with similarly priced Bordeaux’s. Would match with spaghetti and some chunky homemade meatballs.”

Sven, Manager, Majestic Fleet

Fancy a change to NZ Sauvignon? From all our South African wines, 4% of the vote went to this little gem:

Vergelegen Sauvignon Blanc 2009/2010 Stellenbosch

Vergelegen Sauvignon Blanc 2009/2010 Stellenbosch

“Bored of Sauvignon or a Sauvignon junkie? This South African Stunner will give you lots to smile about! With the fruitiness of New Zealand SB balanced out by a steely minerality representative of the Loire this wine is the perfect balance between old and new world. Stand out flavours of gooseberry and elderflower with a racy lemony finish make this a delight to drink.”

Kate, Systems Support Analyst

Lots of tempting wines there! Have you had any South African Wines you think deserve a mention? Post your Wine below or tweet me @majesticwine and I’ll pass on the word!