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15 Best Wines From South Africa: Tested & Ranked (2023)

Last Updated on November 5, 2023 by Lydia Martin

South Africa is known for its beautiful wine-growing regions and exquisite wines.

Although regarded as a “New World” wine country, it has produced top-quality wines since the 17th century.

So if you want to explore other countries’ wines, why not try South Africa’s wines?

Our team tasted the best wines from South Africa and listed what these wines can offer.

Top 15 South African Wines You Shouldn’t Miss 

15. 2016 Beeslaar Pinotage Stellenbosch 

2016 Beeslaar Pinotage Stellenbosch Bottle with Glass and Cheese

Average Price: approx. $37 per 750ml

Alcohol Content: 14.5 percent ABV

Why We Like It: Upon trying this red wine, we outright knew it exudes quality and character, proving that Pinot Noir wines can stand out from the rest.

If you like complex and juicy reds, this is a must-try. There are flavors of black cherries, blackberries, and a lovely sense of perfume and floral notes on the nose.

Expert Tip: The sweetness of wines is reduced when they are chilled. Red wine, however, loses its fruity flavor if it becomes too warm.

14. 2018 Mother Rock White Wine Swartland

Bottle of  2018 Mother Rock White Wine Swartland

Average Price: approx. $20 per 750ml

Alcohol Content: 12.9 percent ABV

Why We Like It: We find good white wines at The Good King Tavern in Philadelphia, including this Mother Rock Swartland, made from various grape varieties: Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chenin Blanc, Semillon, Viognier, and Grenache Blanc.

Actually, it tastes almost like cider. We also get Granny Smith apples, walnuts, a hint of a tobacco leaf, and spice notes. But it has good acidity overall.

13. 2017 Terre Brûlée “Le Rouge” Shiraz Cinsault Swartland

Bottle of 2017 Terre Brûlée “Le Rouge” Shiraz Cinsault Swartland

Average Price: approx. $16 per 750ml

Alcohol Content: 14.4 percent ABV

Why We Like It: The combo of the Northern Rhone and the South coast of France’s wine region is noticeable in this wine. Its deep purple color is enticing.

The earthy notes and meaty aromas complement the juicy palate of black cherries and spices, along with hints of sandalwood and white pepper.

12. 2016 Savage White Sauvignon Blanc – Western Cape 

2016 Savage White Sauvignon Blanc - Western Cape Bottle with Glass on a Desk

Average Price: approx. $30 per 750ml

Alcohol Content: 14 percent ABV

Why We Like It: This South African wine blend is proudly made with Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, and Semillon.

So, it exudes the flavors of lemon, dark chocolate, and white licorice mingling with the vibrant palate, providing a delightful wine experience. If you are a wine enthusiast, you shouldn’t miss this one.

11. 2016 Storm “Ignis” Pinot Noir Hemel-En-Aarde 

Bottle of 2016 Storm “Ignis” Pinot Noir Hemel-En-Aarde 

Average Price: approx. $40 per 750ml

Alcohol Content: 13.5 percent ABV

Why We Like It: This is a delicate wine full of notes of wildflowers and strawberries, such as iris and wild strawberries. It has a long and earthy finish that works well with food.

Ignis is one of the best South African red wines, especially if you are into something a bit more savory. Other must-tries from this brand are their “Vrede,” “Ridge,” and “Vorde” Pinots.

10. 2016 Sadie Family Wines “Palladius” Swartland 

2016 Sadie Family Wines Palladius Swartland  with glass and partly sliced brie cheese on saucer

Average Price: approx. $134 per 750ml

Alcohol Content: 13.5 percent ABV

Why We Like It: This blend of various grapes is made with Chenin Blanc, Grenache Blanc, Semillon, and South African whites such as Clairette Blanche and Viognier.

Sadie is one of the best South African wines we have tried. It is a bit sweet, bursting with fennel bulbs, nectarines, and yellow apples. The fine tannins and velvety palate are desirable.

9. 2020 Origin Wine, Tesco Finest Shiraz 

Bottle of 2020 Origin Wine, Tesco Finest Shiraz with Grapes on a Wooden Table

Average Price: approx. $7 per 750ml

Alcohol Content: 14 percent ABV

Why We Like It: What we like the most about this South African wine is its signature grape ingredient. So, it gives the aromas of black fruit and flower, followed by black cherry and white pepper.

The palate is full of black currant and red cherries with a hint of spice. This is a wonderful wine overall, with a captivating long finish – made with the traditional method.

8. 2015 Klein Constantia “Vin de Constance” Constantia

Bottle of 2015 Klein Constantia Vin de Constance Constantia with Box on a Table

Average Price: approx. $139 per 750ml

Alcohol Content: 13.9 percent ABV

Why We Like It: This delicately sweet South African wine is made from Muscat de Frontignans, aged in Frenc, German, and Hungarian oak.

Wine lovers will surely like the aromas of honey, melon, and jasmine, followed by a hint of citrus on the refreshing finish.

7. 2019 Bouchard Finlayson, Galpin Peak Pinot Noir

Man Drinking 2019 Bouchard Finlayson, Galpin Peak Pinot Noir

Average Price: approx. $40 per 750ml

Alcohol Content: 14.34 percent ABV

Why We Like It: One of the excellent South African reds, Bouchard Finlayson, is full-bodied with soft tannins and ripe black fruit notes.

This South African wine from Walker Bay has a smooth finish but with an old-world complexity like vintage wine styles – one of the best wines from this wine region.

6. 2016 Hogan “Divergent” Carignan Cabernet Sauvignon 

Average Price: approx. $37 per 750ml

Alcohol Content: 13.5 percent ABV

Why We Like It: This blend is made from various grape varieties: 33% Cinsault, 33% Carignan, and 33% Cabernet Sauvignon.

The aromas start with some meat, black tea, and black pepper, backed by the ripe fruit flavors of red cherries and boysenberry. It is smooth with structured tannins, plus hints of wood and spice.

5. NV Boschendal Method Cap Classique Brut Rosé – Western Cape

NV Boschendal Method Cap Classique Brut Rosé - Western Cape

Average Price: approx. $16 per 750ml

Alcohol Content: 12.5 percent ABV

Why We Like It: The estate has appointed two new winemakers to work on this sparkling wine. One of these is the talented Danielle Jacobs – responsible for this MCC Brut Rose.

This sparkling wine is a perfect example of sophistication, which bursts with flavors like blood oranges, strawberries, and multigrain toast, all with apricot preserves.

4. 2016 B Vintners “Black Bream” Pinot Noir 

Bottle of 2016 B Vintners Black Bream Pinot Noir 

Average Price: approx. $30 per 750ml

Alcohol Content: 13 percent ABV

Why We Like It: This is a part of the Bruwer Raats and Gavin Bruwer Slabbert’s Terroir-Specific label, which we like for its Burgundian style.

“Accept what life offers you and try to drink from every cup. All wines should be tasted; some should only be sipped, but with others, drink the whole bottle.”

– Paulo Coelho, Brazilian Lyricist

We enjoy the aromas of fresh mushrooms and earthy notes and the flavors of pomegranates and cranberries.

Read: Top Wines In California

3. 2014 Momento Chenin Blanc – Western Cape 

Bottle and a Glass of 2014 Momento Chenin Blanc - Western Cape 

Average Price: approx. $22 per 750ml

Alcohol Content: 12.5 percent ABV

Why We Like It: This white wine [1] has aged well, and we like how it’s more concentrated and luscious.

The pear and stone fruit, as well as the touch of almond, lingers on the finish. If you’ve tried the 2015 version, you don’t want to skip the 2014 expression.

Fun Fact: 2014 Momento wines blend 85 percent Chenin Blanc and 15 percent Verdelho from a combo of Darling fruit and Bot River, slightly vinified in 400L French oak barrels with a touch of lees. 

2. 2016 The Foundry Roussanne Cape of Good Hope 

Person Holding Bottle of 2016 The Foundry Roussanne Cape of Good Hope 

Average Price: approx. $17 per 750ml

Alcohol Content: 13.5 percent ABV

Why We Like It: The aromas of fresh pineapples, honey, and fallen leaves mingle with the flavors of apple fritters, honey, and nuts on the palate.

“South Africa’s wines: a symphony of flavors, a testament to nature’s artistry, a taste that captivates and lingers.”

Liquor Laboratory

This wine is full-bodied and supported by a beautiful combination of mineral and lemon notes. The finish is harmonious, with tropical fruit flavors and crisp acidity.

1. 2017 AA Badenhorst “Ramnasgras” Cinsault Swartland 

3 Bottles of 2017 AA Badenhorst Ramnasgras Cinsault Swartland 

Average Price: approx. $41 per 750ml

Alcohol Content: 12.5 percent ABV

Why We Like It: The aromas of rose, nutmeg, red berries, and clove are all prominent on the nose of this fresh, vibrant wine [2]. The palate is full of vibrant acidity, hints of Dr. Pepper, and red currant for a great finish.

On the nose, the aromas of cherries, raspberries, and cranberries are accompanied by floral spice and a light yet intense flavor. This South African wine is well-balanced and offers a good savory finish.

**Average prices are based on the suggested retail price. Price may vary by store.

FAQs 

What wines are South Africa known for?

South Africa is known for its own red variety (grown from their own wine regions, Western Cape) – Pinotage, a blend of Cinsault and Pinots.

But wine lovers also like South Africa’s Bordeaux blend [3], Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Sauvignon Blanc, and Shiraz.

Are wines from South Africa good?

Yes, wines from South Africa are good. South African red wines and whites are known for their good value and taste. South Africa’s wine styles and characteristics match well with the food.

Final Verdict 

South African wines have plenty of great wines to choose from, including a variety of Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot, Shiraz, South Africa’s Pinotage (from the Western Cape) [4], and more.

South Africa’s wines showcase unique characteristics, distinct from those of other regions due to the absence of a cool climate.

However, the presence of a refreshing sea breeze within their territory contributes to the cultivation of vineyards, giving rise to a remarkable array of South African wine varieties.

All the South African wine bottles in this list are must-haves. They only differ in price tag, flavors, and style.

But if you ask where to start – we highly recommend the 2017 AA Badenhorst “Ramnasgra” for an ultimate sipping experience.

References:

  1. https://recipes.howstuffworks.com/food-facts/wine-basics-ga1.htm
  2. https://www.britannica.com/topic/wine
  3. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-wine-bordeaux-idUSL307242620070530
  4. https://robbreport.com/food-drink/dining/gallery/south-africa-wine-pinotage-best-winemakers-1234575473/lavenier-single-block-pinotage-bottle/

Lydia Martin

Lydia Martin hails from Redmond, Washington, where you’ll find some of the best cocktail bars and distilleries that offer a great mix of local drinks. She used to work as a bar manager in Paris and is a self-taught mixologist whose passion for crafting unique cocktails led her to create Liquor Laboratory. Lydia can whip up a mean Margarita in seconds! Contact at [email protected] or learn more about us here or feel free to give Lydia a tip.

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