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Unless you’ve been living in a nuclear war bunker since February 2020, it won’t come as much surprise that the past year or so has eclipsed everyone’s perceptions of what a ‘bad time’ constitutes.
But fewer globally have had it tougher than in South Africa. And with numerous lockdowns have come repeated alcohol consumption bans. Now before we get into the detail, we aren’t trying to claim that this the greatest area of concern for the country, but the impact has been far wider reaching than simply lay claiming to obstructing the purchase of booze.
The wine industry in South Africa provides jobs for over 200,000. The numerous bans on alcohol consumption has meant that winemakers have been left with inordinate amounts of surplus stock. The first ban back in March 2020 even impacted the ability to export, with several other countries moving to replace the chasm left by the dwindling supply of South African wines worldwide.
Unsurprisingly, with cripplingly low levels of imbibing, many winemakers were left with an existential dilemma as the 2021 harvest came around in April of this year. As storage became limited due to far greater amounts of stock on their hands, the crushing decision had to be made on whether to can previous vintages and accept a loss on them, or just not even pursue a 2021 vintage owing to lack of available space – no choice a winemaker should ever have to make. This crisis has even cast doubt over the ability of hundreds of producers to continue being able to make wine altogether.
Now we aren’t saying that trying to fire up the South African wine industry is the solution to all problems faced in the country, or that this movement takes priority over supporting those communities hit worst. But the wine industry is an area we feel we can influence and we’re truly passionate about the survival of the winemakers we work with down there. So, we want to champion a few of our favourite producers, and urge you to drink South African wine over this summer!
Thorne and Daughters, Wanderer’s Heart Cape Red Blend 2019
A winemaking force that was created in 2012 by John and Tasha Seccombe, with the aim of producing wines that were authentic to the captivating Western Cape region.
The Wanderer’s Heart Cape Red blend is a seriously complex beast, with aromas that jump out at you in a nigh-on carnivorous manner. It's fresh and lively but with a lot of layers. Super spicy back palate with a long and delicate finish.
AA Badenhorst Secateurs Chenin Blanc 2020
Adi Badenhorst's Secateurs Chenin Blanc is probably the best bang-for-buck white wine we've ever sold. Why is this wine so special? Why does it win so much rapturous admiration? Because it surprises people with its quality.
You just don't expect to find an organic, old-vine Swartland chenin (yields as low as 4 tons/hectare - about the same as much premier and grand cru Burgundy), with this much character, texture and interest, at this price level. We firmly believe that Adi Badenhorst is the most exciting winemaker in South Africa.
Lourens Family Wines Howard John 2019
Led by Franco Lourens, one of the pioneers of the New Wave movement in South African wine, this outfit is producing outstanding quality down in Hemel-En-Aarde.
This wine is fruit-forward, but with lots of complex spiciness. A long-scented length and all together layered and balanced. The bang for buck value here is just immense. £24.95 but drinks like 50 notes. Top-quality fruit, delicate touch in the winery, handcrafted and totally smashable.
Mullineux Signature Old Vine White Blend 2019
Mullineux Signature Old Vine White Blend 2019 is wine made from 7 different sustainable vineyards across the Swartland area. Sometimes Old Vine isn't used correctly, part of what we specialise in is actual wine buying, not just wine listing.
For Mullineux Old Vine represents vines of ages 40 to 60 years old. Which is pretty impressive really. The breakdown of the blend is 74% Chenin Blanc, 8% Clairette, 7% Viognier, 6% Grenache Blanc, 2% Semillon Gris, 2% Viura, 1% Verdelho. A bit of fruit salad, but super delicious.