With summer in full swing, there’s nothing quite like a chilled glass of white wine. Our wine writer Greg Landman has put together a list of his top white blends to help you with your bottle store choices this season.
Wine is one of the greatest gifts that Mother Nature can give us. What would a day be like without a glass or two of something really delicious which she has provided and a talented winemaker has reworked into a divine nectar? Well anyway that is how I, and millions of other people, think. The rest don’t know what they are missing.
Single varietals are great but where a winemaker shows where he is really coming from is in the art of blending. The aim is to make something that is greater than the sum of its parts. Think of a Van Gogh painting with all those brilliant yellows and how even better they look with his vibrant blues contrasting. The element of “what if” plays a part in this as well, bringing out the artist in the maker, with some superb results. Just like a good marriage where the personalities of each partner have to fit perfectly to make it work, the characteristics of one kind of grape will go perfectly with another. Here are some of the hundreds we have in SA – try them and seek out others. I am sure you will like them.
If you’re not so keen on a white wine blend then take a look at our other lists:
- Our Pick of the Best Bubbly for the Festive Season
- Best Rosé Wines for this Summer
- 20 of the Best Chardonnays in South Africa
20 White wine blends we love this summer
Groot Constantia Gouverneurs Reserve White
It’s a complex knockout from master winemaker Boela Gerber who blends Semillon and Sauvignon, with flavours from new oak like marmalade, caramel, baked apple spice and a grape or two – a cracker. Find it at Makro for R259 a bottle.
TOKARA Director’s Reserve White 2016
Made from 70% Sauvignon and 30% Semillon, TOKARA’s Director’s Reserve White is one of the best we white blends on offer. It features subtle oaking supporting plenty of delicious ripe fruit. They say it has staying power and its flavours will continue to improve and develop for the next eight years, but leave a bottle in my house and there’s no chance it’ll see the next day let alone the next decade. Head over to the cellar and find yourself a bottle for R270.
Simonsig The Grapesmith Die Kluisenaar 2016
Tuck into the new Grapesmith range from 50-year-old Simonsig and its winemaker Johan Malan. In SA, it’s an unusual blend of Roussanne ( at 60%) and Marsanne (at 40%) that has been carefully sourced with a very limited release. Its fabulously delicious flavours and aromas from lees fermentation in oak barrels are surprisingly understated, but perfectly support all that succulent fruit.
Simonsig The Grapesmith Mediterraneo 2016
To my knowledge, Simonsig’s Mediterraneo must be the only blend in SA that uses Rousanne, Marsanne, Grenache Blanc and a splash of Verdelho from the oldest planting in the country. It’s zesty fresh with lime notes, subtle oak toastiness with some nuttiness lurking. A beguiling and irresistible white blend that’s not for sharing.
Cape Point Vineyards Isliedh
Named after the owner’s granddaughter, this magnificent 5-star Platter charmer is a blend of the very best from winemaker Riandri Visser. Barrel fermented, the Sauvignon is perfectly matched by rich Semillon resulting in flavours of tropical fruits and the wonderful aromas of a Cape Summer. Enjoy a bottle for R248.
GlenWood Grand Duc Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc 2016
This Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc blend is from 22 year old vines and matured in new French oak small barrels with 11 months on the lees. The result is something really special with buttered toast and marmalade tang – a gorgeous nose making it a knockout.
GlenWood Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon 2017
It’s the nwooded “baby brother” of the above that has a fresh and cheeky youthful zip – just the thing to knock back a bottle or two of on the weekend with some sushi.
Waverley Hills Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon 2018
This unoaked blend is delightfully fresh and perky making it the perfect summer quaffer. It is best enjoyed chilled and by the pool. It also goes well with roast chicken and pork. Buy it by the case for R85 a bottle from the cellar.
Allée Bleue Isabeau
The winning combination of mostly Chardonnay with some Semillon and a smidgen of Viognier makes for a fresh bottle of vino. The winemaker has used 25% new oak which is perfectly controlled to bring some caramel notes to the table. It’s well suited to accompany a meal of light, creamy pasta dishes as well as fish and chips. Pick up a bottle direct from the cellar for R128.
Steenberg Magna Carta 2016
For the hefty price of R575 a bottle, you can enjoy a true masterpiece from one of the oldest setups in the Constantia Valley. Steenberg never fails to impress year after year with fabulous flavours like this classic Bordeaux Sauvignon/Semillon blend supported by well-handled oaking. It’s packed with plenty of fresh clean citrus and melon flavours.
De Krans Tritonia (White)
This unusual Malvasia Rei (Palomino) and Verdelho blend, typically Portuguese, is deliciously intense. Plucked from vines planted in 1947 which yield small berries of excellent quality, Tritonia is fresh and zippy with well controlled acids. You can find it for R145 a bottle from De Krans.
Wolftrap White 2017
This white blend from Wolftrap is very popular for good reason and well price. The Boekenhoutskloof team who know a thing or two about making great wine have over delivered by combining Viognier, Chenin, and Grenache Blanc to make it all happen. Add it to your wine bucket for R59 a bottle from Cyber Cellar.
Constantia Glen Two
This is a classic Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc blend with plenty of tropical fruit, some minerality to give it an edge, and is both creamy and delicious. It can be bought for R270 a bottle direct from the cellar.
Groote Post The Old Man’s Blend 2018
This ever popular West Coast charmer from Master winemaker Lukas Wentzel is a superb food wine that goes especially well with fish and chicken. This Sauvignon Blanc-Chenin blend has some Semillon components. Who is The Old Man, you ask? None other than Groote Post’s patriarch Peter Pentz. Pick up a bottle from the cellar for R67.
Lady Ann Darling 2017
This 50/50 mix of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon presents with a smoky intensity while still keeping a crisp and fresh flavour. The nine months on the new French oak makes it a delicious and intense white wine blend. Gorgeous. A bottle goes for R160 direct from the cellar.
Darling Cellars Lime Kilns Blend
Darling Cellars ups the ante with this 60% Chenin, 30% Viognier, and 10% Chardonnay blend. It’s gorgeously fruity and also benefits from nine months in new French oak creating an intense and voluptuous flavour – incredibly seductive in its own way. You can buy a bottle for R143 direct from the cellar.
Boplaas Family Reserve – Gamka Branca 2016
Personally crafted by Boplaas patriarch Carel Nel and daughter-cum-winemaker Margaux, this intriguing blend of French varietals including Chenin (49%), Chardonnay, Viognier, and Grenache Blanc with a soupcon of Portuguese Verdelho, is packed with stone fruit freshness, oaky intensity and has a nice long finish – superb. Find it for R177 a bottle from Boplaas.
1707 Reserve White
This multi-award winning blend of Chardonnay, Semillon and Viognier from Stellenbosch Hills is very aromatic on the nose and leads into crisp acidity supporting masses of fruit . It’s got a nice long finish that’s elegant, but make no mistake – this is no shrinking violet. For R100.25 a bottle, it’s an absolute steal.
Haute Cabrière Chardonnay Pinot Noir
Pinot Noir? Yes, you’re right. It’s technically not a white blend but a perfect example of the miracle of blending brought to its ultimate conclusion. It’s the first in SA to be made in this style and has been so successful that they cannot make it fast enough for its eager market. It’s packed with tropical fruit flavours and supported by gentle acids. Enjoy it for just R90 a bottle.
Sijnn White 2017
A spectacular blend of Chenin, Viognier and Roussanne, Sijnn’s white blend is complex and refined. If ever a wine could be called elegant this is it. With a long lingering finish, it’s packed with intense citrus flavours. It’s 10 months in oak is just enough to support all that lusciousness. Pronounced Seine – appropriately. Tuck into a bottle for R280.
Photography Valeria Boltneva; Supplied
As the wine writer for Country Life magazine for the last 15 years, Greg has met and interviewed more than 150 of the country’s top wine makers. His articles offer unique insights into where to eat, what to drink, and where to go all over the Western Cape. With his dining companion Beryl Ormsby Browne, he has also reviewed more than 60 country restaurants for the magazine and has been a reviewer for the prestigious Eat Out Guide for 12 years. His passion for everything the winelands has to offer has led him into the world of wine tours. To find out more, visit his website Magic Grape Tours.