Summertime means weekend adventures, sunsets and toasting with friends and family. With so many wine options on shelves, selecting the perfect summer sip can be daunting. For those looking to impress guests with wine recommendations that extend beyond the the usual suspects, look no further than South Africa for inspiration with white wine varietal, Chenin Blanc.
Pairing perfectly with South Africa’s star white wine is the tradition of South Africa’s sundowner – a moment at the end of the day when everyone stops to watch the sunset while enjoying a cocktail or a glass of wine – synonymous with the American happy hour. Whether tipping back a glass of wine after a day at the beach or concluding a long work week, the sundowner offers a time to reflect, enjoy and celebrate amongst friends.
What gives Chenin Blanc rising star status?
Versatile: Whether pinot grigio or sauvignon blanc is your go-to varietal, Chenin Blanc is a worthy alternative to shake things up this summer, offering a crisp acidity that people love to enjoy during warm weather.
Bridges Old and New Worlds: While considered a New World region, South Africa has a rich history and tradition of winemaking, with the first vines planted in the 17th century. This is the only New World country with this rich heritage that contributes to the production of quality wines.
Value: You can get handcrafted Chenin Blanc at an accessible price point.
Chenin Blanc provides crisp refreshment on any summer day. Whether you’re pairing with a meal or enjoying a sundowner, here are three must-try wines:
Protea Chenin Blanc
Made with 100 percent Chenin Blanc grapes from select bush vine vineyards in the Swartland and Voor-Paardeberg regions of South Africa. These grapes contribute a balance of freshness and natural acidity to this light-bodied white wine.
Taste: Bright nectarine and stone fruit freshness on the nose. Crisp citrus flavor with tangy lemon vibrancy that is matched by more of the nectarine and stone fruit fleshiness in the mouth. Lively with lovely light body and a gentle persistence.
Ernie Els Big Easy White
The Big Easy White offers an amazing array of tropical fruits, showing the complexity and charm the Cape has to offer. This wine is crafted with 100 percent Chenin Blanc, and has an easy-drinking, unwooded style. Its big appeal is due to its flavors being so pleasant, refreshing and approachable.
Taste: The tropical palate is richly textured with hints of wild herbs and Indian spice, adding complexity and good depth. This wine is medium-bodied and unhindered by oak, giving a lively fruit structure and soft, easy finish.
Nederburg Heritage Heroes: The Anchorman Chenin Blanc
The Heritage Heroes is a gourmet collection of handmade, ultra-premium wines, each individually named to honor a personality who has played a role in shaping Nederburg’s history and reputation. The Anchorman is named for Nederburg’s founder, Philippus Wolvaart, who bought the farm in 1791 and planted Chenin Blanc, among other varietals.
Taste: Well-balanced, fresh and fruity with a beautiful minerality and an excellent structure.
You may not be traveling far this summer, but you can enjoy this South African tradition at home by stocking up on Chenin Blanc and planning a few sundowners with friends and neighbors.