South African wine grapes are a delightful treat for the senses. With its unique blend of indigenous and imported grape varieties, it offers a remarkable variety of flavour and texture that will tantalize the taste buds. Whether you are an experienced oenophile or simply looking to enjoy a glass of something special, South African wine has something for everyone. From fruity Chenin Blancs to full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignons and everything in between, this nation’s wines have something to offer even the most discerning palates. Read on to learn more about the delightful palette of South African wines types.

Chenin Blanc

The Chenin Blanc is one of the most popular and widely grown white wine grape varieties in South Africa. It’s also known as Steen, and it has been grown in South Africa since the 1600s. This variety is known for producing full-bodied wines that have a slightly higher acidity level. The flavour profile of Chenin Blanc wines is typically characterized by notes of citrus, green apple, honey, pear, and tropical fruit. The wines tend to be medium-bodied and generally have a pleasant balance between sweetness and acidity.

Chenin Blanc wines from South Africa are renowned for their exceptional quality and can be found in many styles. From dry to sweet, Chenin Blanc can be enjoyed as an aperitif, with light dishes, or as a dessert wine. The wine pairs especially well with food that is rich in herbs and spices, as its acidity helps to cut through the flavours of the dish. For those looking for something a bit more unique, some producers in South Africa produce orange or sparkling wines made from Chenin Blanc grapes.

No matter which type of Chenin Blanc you choose, you’ll be sure to enjoy the wonderful flavour and aroma of this classic South African white wine.

Sauvignon Blanc

If you’re looking for a unique, vibrant, and zesty flavour, look no further than South African Sauvignon Blanc. This aromatic grape is full of life and characterized by its herbaceous, citrus, and mineral notes. It’s usually pale straw in colour and the wine can range from bone dry too sweet. As such, it can be enjoyed in a variety of ways.

Aromas of fresh cut grass, lime, grapefruit, and passion fruit are commonly found in a glass of South African Sauvignon Blanc. On the palate, expect a crisp acidity with a tingling effervescence as well as notes of bell pepper, apples, and pears.

Due to its versatility, Sauvignon Blanc pairs nicely with most meals. For a light appetizer or snack, pair it with some lightly salted nuts and olives. Seafood dishes such as grilled squid and steamed mussels are also excellent choices. On the other hand, if you’re having a meal with more substantial flavours, like herbed roasted vegetables, then South African Sauvignon Blanc is the perfect companion.

If you’re looking for a refreshing and zesty white wine, South African Sauvignon Blanc is the perfect option for you. With its complex aroma profile and balanced acidity, it’s sure to please your taste buds. Whether it’s a light starter or an elegant main course, South African Sauvignon Blanc can easily be enjoyed all night long.


Chardonnay is a variety of white wine that is produced in South Africa with great success. This versatile and delicious grape has been a staple of the South African wine industry since it was introduced to the region in the late 19th century. The hot climate of South Africa and its excellent soil allow for full-bodied and intensely flavourful Chardonnays to be crafted with finesse.

Chardonnay grapes ripen slowly in South African vineyards, producing a highly aromatic and expressive variety. These full-bodied wines offer aromas of ripe stone fruits like peach and apricot, along with notes of citrus, butter, and nuts. On the palate, Chardonnay from South Africa can be light or medium-bodied, with smooth texture and balanced acidity. The flavour profile is usually quite rich and creamy, with flavours of tropical fruit, apples, pear, and honey.

South African Chardonnays are best enjoyed with food such as grilled fish, roasted chicken, and creamy pasta dishes. They are also perfect for sipping on their own, as the richness and complexity of these wines will leave you wanting more. Enjoy the wonderful flavours and aromas of South African Chardonnay and discover why this grape is so popular!


Pinotage is a unique and beloved South African wine varietal that has become a staple of the local culture. This grape variety is created from a cross of Pinot Noir and Cinsaut, two popular grape varietals, resulting in a bold and full-bodied red wine with an array of aromas and flavours. The typical Pinotage is known to have intense fruit flavours of blueberry, plums, and raspberry on the palate, backed by earthy notes of tobacco, leather, and coffee. Its deep ruby colour and smoky, spice-laden nose are also characteristic of this variety.

Pinotage is a great accompaniment to a variety of dishes from grilled meats to stews and casseroles. Its fruity characteristics make it an ideal partner for hearty dishes like lamb shanks or beef potjiekos, while its smoky notes give it a boldness that can stand up to rich and gamey flavours like venison and ostrich.

If you’re looking to expand your knowledge and explore the world of South African wines, Pinotage is an excellent place to start. With its unique flavour profile and delicious pairing options, it’s no wonder why this varietal has become such a favourite amongst local oenophiles.

Cabernet Sauvignon

When it comes to South African wines, Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the most beloved varietals. It’s one of the country’s “big five” red grapes, and many winemakers believe that South African Cabernet Sauvignon has some of the best flavour profiles in the world.

This dark-skinned grape is grown all over South Africa, from Stellenbosch and Franschhoek to Constantia and Elgin. When you taste a Cabernet Sauvignon from the Cape winelands, expect robust, full-bodied flavours with notes of cassis, blackberry, and plum. It often offers a smoky aroma, with hints of eucalyptus, mint, and tobacco.

In general, South African Cabernets are known for their generous tannins and bold fruitiness. They pair perfectly with rich red meats, especially dishes like beef bourguignon and steak au poivre. Enjoy them now or age them for a few years to soften their tannins and add even more complexity to their taste.


Merlot is a classic grape variety from South Africa that has been used to create some of the country’s best wines. Merlot grapes are medium bodied with soft tannins and a deep ruby hue. This variety is known for its berry-like aromas, such as raspberry, blackberry and plum, as well as its velvety texture and full body. Merlot wines are often aged in oak barrels to add additional flavour components such as coffee, tobacco, or chocolate. When it comes to food pairing, Merlot is great with poultry and red meat dishes, as well as rich pasta dishes.


Shiraz is one of the most popular wines in South Africa. It is a full-bodied, robust red wine that has a strong aroma and flavour of dark fruits such as blackberries, plums, and cherries. Its flavours are also accompanied by notes of spices, tobacco, liquorice, and sometimes a hint of leather. Shiraz is often aged in oak barrels, which adds complexity and additional notes of vanilla, toast, and spice to the wine.

Shiraz pairs well with many different foods and cuisines. It is especially popular with grilled meats, game dishes, pasta dishes with tomato-based sauces, and cheese boards. This versatility makes it a great choice for any dinner party or gathering.

The popularity of Shiraz in South Africa means that it is easy to find and available at a variety of price points. Whether you’re looking for a special occasion bottle or something to enjoy with dinner, you should be able to find a great South African Shiraz to suit your taste.