South African Wines now more Readily Available in the USA

Five years ago, I went to South Africa to learn about South African wines on the spot.  From my efficiency apartment in downtown Stellenbosch, I was in a great position to visit the wine region of the Cape area.  So many good wines!   And sadly, at that time, so many of these good wines did not make it to the West Coast of the USA.   At that time, Sweden and the UK were the top countries to import these fine wines,  and the USA (in toto) was far down on the list.

This has changed.  You can now find many excellent South African wines in wine shops, and also on the wine lists of restaurants that take the time to offer their patrons a selection from the best wine regions of the world.

In May, I found enjoyment in three wines from a winery situated in the Stellenbosch Hills, Mulderbosch.  It's one of South Africa's finest producers.  All of their wines are in fairly wide distribution.

I started with the 2011 Mulderbosch Sauvignon Blanc, the wine that first built this winery's international reputation.  With just a touch of Semillion (4 percent), this very drinkable wine stacks up to some of the finest Sauvignon Blancs I have tasted to date.  Watch out Duckhorn ... this has just replaced your Sauvignon Blanc in my wine-drinking heart!  In fact, it was good enough to make it to my Mother's Day brunch table!

Nicole enjoys her
Sauv Blanc!
The winemakers at Mulderbosch successfully preserved the fruit character of this Sauvignon Blanc throughout blending and bottling by using reductive winemaking techniques.  The final result is a medium-alcohol wine (13.6 percent) which can easily cellar for up to 7 years.  It's a bright lemon-green color with aroma of citrus, lemon zest, fig and black currant and has some nice floral notes too.  The taste is also citrus, melon and there are some herbal undertones to add to the minerality and mouthwatering finish.  Suggested retail price is $17.99.

Chenin Blanc, the legendary grape of South Africa, is sometimes referred to as "Steen."  The 2011 Mulderbosch Chenin Blanc is touted as a "new wave" Chenin and is vinified from low-crop grapes from Stellenbosch and the Swartland wine grape growing regions.  It has a reach-out aroma of guava, lime and ripe pair, with honeysuckle and orange blossom reaching out too.  The taste includes tones of passion-fruit and a finish of somewhat tart grapefruit.  A nice acidity, creamy mid-palate, and spice from a bit of oak used in the aging results in a very accessible wine that is mouth-watering.  13.9 percent alcohol.  Suggested retail price is $13.99.

Mulderbosch's 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Rose just might be the ticket for a refreshing summer wine.  I loved the pink color, and was delighted at the aroma of ripe blood-oranges, black currant, cherry and a bit of sandalwood.  The taste balances juicy fruit blavors with a racy acidity, and the finish is zesty.  12.5 percent alcohol.  Suggested retail price is $11.00.   When you find it, stock up!

Good news is ahead for those who love South African wines, as the 2013 wine grape harvest was a bumper crop.  A drive in recent years to improve quality has been extremely successful.  Last year, exports to the USA increased by 37% so your chances of enjoying a taste of Africa in your glass are better than ever before.

I enjoyed it looking out over San Francisco Bay on a beautiful May day!