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The magical places and remarkable people
behind the wines
Maria ElenarI'm a big fan of South African wine and admire the passion of the people in the industry, their desire to constantly improve and innovate.
At Waitrose we work hard to extend the range of styles we offer, and earlier this year I visited South Africa to expand our selection.
My trip was all about inspiration; I wanted cracking winemakers with delicious wines and interesting stories, and that’s what I found.
South Africa is renowned for producing wines of beautiful purity and finesse, and our new additions affirm this. We’ve added fresh, crisp whites and fruit-driven reds, as well as some extremely elegant fine wines. Discover what makes them so special below.
Named after the native South African ‘Coral’ tree - a fiery looking plant with bright red flowers - the Coral Tree range is as spirited as its name. Located in the Worcester region, the vineyards sit on the slopes of the Langeberg Mountain range and produce wines that are fresh, fruity and vibrant in flavour. The Sauvignon Semillon is a lively blend with aromas of pear drops and ripe lime, balanced with a honeysuckle creaminess on the palate. The Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot is deliciously concentrated with black cherry and raspberry finishing with an enticingly sweet spice.
Deep underground in the hillside above Stellenbosch sits a secret wine cellar. Inspired by the historic cellars of France and Germany, this location harnesses nature’s natural cooling elements and keeps its exclusive wines at a constant temperature, even in the fiercest African summers. Hidden away, this charming cellar is still used to store wine. The red is a velvety soft blend of spicy Shiraz and succulent Grenache with lovely peppery notes and juicy black fruit flavours, while the Pinot Grigio shows delicate floral and fresh apricot notes followed by delicious white peach and citrus fruit on the palate.
Recently launched in 2009, Trizanne produce wines that are a little different – a quality that is prevalent in the talented chief winemaker Trizanne Barnard. At one with nature, she can be found either checking her vineyard or surfing the perfect wave. Her love of exploration is evident in her choice of winemaking areas; from hot and dry to cool coastal regions such as Elgin and Elim, her parcels are bespoke blends that typify the varietals and regionality of South Africa, and truly represent the contrast that this country offers.
Douglas Green wines have been around since the 40’s and are known for producing constantly excellent wines - a legacy they are proud to continue. When not busy producing great wine, the current chief winemaker Jaco Potgieter can be found diving for crayfish in the shark infested waters of the Cape; this glint of daring is mirrored in the wines. With vineyards scattered around South Africa, Jaco favours multi-region fruit sourcing to create complex wines with an interesting flavour profile. Both slightly oaked, the Cabernet is driven by berry fruit flavours and smooth tannins, while the Chardonnay has peach and tropical fruit flavours.
Sourced from the ‘up and coming’ cooler regions of Elim and Elgin in the South Cape Coast, this stunning Pinot Noir is one of the best from South Africa. It’s interestingly named after the mysteriousness of the treacherous waters on the southernmost tip of South Africa which have claimed over 130 ships. Made by renowned winemaker David Nieuwoudt, this wine demonstrates the difference climate and soil can make. A truly elegant wine, it has prominent aromas of ripe cherries, sweet raspberries and hints of mushroom with a silky smooth palate with well integrated oak.
Journeys End is instantly inspirational because of the view – the most southerly vineyard in the Stellenbosch region, it sits on the mountain slopes of Somerset West overlooking the magnificent False Bay. This wine is named after Sir Lowry’s Pass – a road which sits just below the vineyards and leads from Cape Town and on to the Garden Route and is owned by an English family, the Gabb’s, who are committed to producing top quality wines. With 18 months barrel ageing this full-bodied and richly curvaceous wine is packed with dark plums, chocolate and sweet spice.
Fairtrade is a concept we fully support at Waitrose with a defined premium from the sale of each item going back to the producers to help better their lives. With a Fairtrade Chenin already in our range, it made perfect sense to add a red partner. Sourced from the same producer in the Olifants River, just north of Cape Town, this delicious Merlot serves to strengthen the links we have with the workers on this farm and bring you updates on how they’ve used their Fairtrade money. Soft and juicy with bramble fruit flavours and a touch of spice, this is a fantastic Merlot and is an excellent partner to food.
Creating blends with different varietals is where winemakers get to have their most fun, and there’s no better example than the award-winning Creative Block wines from Spier. Head winemaker Frans Schmidt takes small blocks from different vineyards and cleverly blends them so that, in his own words, “the final wines are greater than the sum of their parts”. Creative Block 3 blends Shiraz, Mouvedre and Viognier, and after 18 months barrel ageing is complex and rich with a wonderful texture. Creative Block 2 is a Sauvignon Semillon blend bursting with green apple, ripe kiwi and a hint of peach.