A South African wine just won the Platinum Best In Show Award at the prestigious Decanter World Wine Awards in the U.K. DeMorgenzon Chardonnay Reserve 2015 (Stellenbosch) is officially one of the best in the world, beating out 16,000 others from France, the U.S. and Australia. South Africa is staring down a recession, but its wine industry didn’t get the memo, with a 5 percent increase in wine exports in 2015, and no slowdown expected. The country’s vineyards produce 4 percent of the world’s wine. Here are 8 of the best South African wines to drink in 2016.
Boschendal Elgin Pinot Noir 2014, $20
The Boschendal Elgin Pinot Noir won the Double Gold International Wine Challenge 2016. The wine comes from one of the highest planted vineyard sites in the Elgin valley, has an alcohol content of 13.5 percent and is on the dry side. It is ready to drink and all the notes are in full bloom, but wine experts suggest it will continue to get better for up to a decade.
Creation Merlot Reserve 2014, $22
Creation Merlot Reserve was named one of the top 100 wines in South Africa in the 2016 National Wine Championship. The wine comes from the Hemel-en-Aarde (Valley of Heaven and Earth) area in Walker Bay in the Western Cape. It has notes of dark chocolate and mocha along with berry flavors. It’s also slightly spicy.
Brampton Pinotage 2014, $4.50
This affordable wine has won three trophies between 2015 and 2016 including the 2016 Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show Most Successful Producer Award. The wine has notes of deep ruby with more vibrant red and black berry fruit aroma and flavor like raspberry and cherry. It also has the typical tobacco spiciness of a pinotage. It’s best enjoyed within five years of vintage.
Paul Cluver Riesling Noble Late Harvest 2014, $13
The Paul Cluver Riesling Noble Late Harvest 2014 won the Platinum Award at the 2016 Decanter World Wine Awards. The Noble Late Harvest collection—years 2012 through 2014—has done extremely well. Wine expert Tim Atkin calls the collection one of the top 12 best sweet wines, with lovely fruit flavors and remarkable complexity.
Boschendal Elgin Sauvignon Blanc 2015, $16
The Boschendal Elgin Sauvignon Blanc 2015 won the double gold at the International Wine Challenge in 2016. The unique wine has notes of asparagus, lime, peach, gooseberry and lemon, making it a wonderful summer wine. It’s on the dry side and is ready to drink now with a promise to develop deeper notes within five years of vintage. It goes particularly well with vegetables, noodles, and white fish dishes.
Cloof Crucible Shiraz 2014, $30
The Cloof Crucible Shiraz 2014 is an International Wine Challenge 2016 bronze winner. The wine is from Darling and has tasting notes of intense pepper and violet aromas. It boasts a 14.5 percent alcohol content and has a dense palate.
Glen Carlou Gravel Quarry Cabernet Sauvignon 2011, $25
Glen Carlou Gravel Quarry Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 won the gold at the Decanter World Wine Awards. It has a 14.5 percent alcohol content and tastes best with rich meats like ostrich or venison. The wine has notes of blueberries and blackberries, balanced with oak, cedar and tobacco leaf.
Jordan Nine Yards Chardonnay 2014, $25
The Jordan Nine Yards Chardonnay 2014 won the silver medal at the 2016 International Wine Challenge and won several awards in 2014 and 2015 like the silver medal at the Sommelier Wine Awards in London in 2015. This delightful wine has notes of clove flower, butterscotch, and lime oil and tastes best with rich foods like poached veal with bearnaise sauce or butternut ravioli with mushroom sauce and truffle oil.