Are white blends SA’s best wines?

In a recent feature for the drinks business Tim Atkin MW asserted that South Africa’s best wines are its white blends.

South AfricaIn what is a strengthening category, South Africa’s blended white wine is a flagship for the country’s overall offering, underscored by the release of Cartology’s 2011 Alheit.

Described by winemaker Chris Alheit as “an exploration of the Cape’s heritage”, it had critics purring with pleasure, according to Atkin. A blend of mostly Chenin Blanc with 12% Semillon, he said it set a “new benchmark for South African whites.”

He said: “With hindsight, Cartology may come to be seen as a milestone in the history of Cape wine, and this for two reasons. First, it focused people’s attention on the quality of some of the country’s old vines – a scarce and, until comparatively recently, dwindling resource thanks to the uprooting of venerable parcels of Chenin Blanc; and secondly, it underscored something that insiders have known for some time: South Africa’s best wines are its white blends.”

South Africa’s blended white category is still an incredibly new category, but is home to “some of the most exciting and best value wines in the New World”, writes Atkin.

With such high expectations set, we asked a number of South African winemakers “are white blends South Africa’s best wines? And if so, why?”

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