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South African Wine
The first South African vineyard was planted in 1655 in the Cape, and in 1659 the first wine was made—a modest 15 liters from Muscadel grapes. In 2005, South Africa produced 593.1 million liters of wine.

South African Wine
Fairview Estate is one of my favorite South African wine producers. It offers consistent quality across the board. Fairview Estate's Goats do Roam Red, a name that sounds a lot like Côtes du Rhône and thus ruffled French feathers, could easily sell for twice its price. It's a juicy, ripe wine of weight and substance, berries and spice. Fairview Estates is both a cheese producing goat farm and a winery.

South African Wine
If you come across a wine called Oom Pagel from Fairview Estate, snap it up. It's a white wine made from Sémillon and tastes of citrus, cream, and almonds with a round, full mouthfeel and a lovely lingering finish. Lovable, fleshy sort of wine that you would want to curl up with after a hard day at work.

South African Wine
Pinotage is South Africa's flagship grape, and has a very distinct flavor of black licorice. It was created in 1925 when the Pinot Noir grape was successfully cross-pollinated with Cinsault.

South African Wine
Though Pinotage has long been recognized as South Africa's most distinctive red grape, South Africa is producing outstanding wines from Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache, and especially Shiraz/Syrah.

South African Wine
Kumala makes a good Cabernet Sauvignon that costs less than $10. The 2004 packs blackberry, black currant, pepper, and subtle puffs of warm smoke. Very well-balanced and deserving of every dollar spent.

South African Wine
Garagiste winemaker Tom Lubbe creates very small amounts of highly acclaimed Syrah, called The Observatory. He uses grapes from his own farm in the mountainous Paardeberg area northwest of Cape Town.Then, he makes the wine in a small converted shed.

South African Wine
Chenin Blanc is traditionally South Africa's best white, and it can age well. Morgenhof produces an outstanding one from vines more than thirty years old. The 2004 is scrumptious showing flowers and stones, lemon, and herbs, and spice and butter with good length. This Chenin Blanc will develop nicely in the bottle until about 2008 and keep longer.

South African Wine
The country is producing some excellent Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, and Sémillon. In fact, South Africa is one of the world's most exciting Sauvignon Blanc producers today. Look for those from Neil Ellis and Jordan Winery.

South African Wine
Neil Ellis Sauvignon Blanc 2005 is a pale, glossy wine with pure asparagus aromas wafting from the glass. It leads to an asparagus, lemon, and gooseberry palate. Reliable value and a delight with grilled prawns.

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