Change is in the wind for the wines of South Africa. A new cadre of bold winemakers are making their presence felt with the goal of making world-class wines.
I’ll admit, I’ve never been a big fan of South African wines. Yes, I have enjoyed chenin blanc, but their reds have always puzzled me. From a weird, Band-Aid-like medicinal smell in their pinotage to burnt rubber aromas in cabernet, much improvement was needed.
The new mantra for South African winemakers is “Person over Place.” They already have a beautiful, sun-kissed climate — what was needed was a new guard of winemakers. Winemakers who knew how to use their ripe “new world” fruit and combine it with finesse from the old world.
Adi Badenhorst is part of the new guard. He left a cushy and safe job with a prominent Stellenbosch winery to make wine his way. He purchased a run-down farm in the obscure area of Swartland, which happened to have a hodgepodge collection of old bush vines. It took a while to get the vineyards in shape and producing fruit. But the wait is over, and his wines are now hitting the market.
As I stated, I always liked South African chenin blanc, but I was really blown away by Badenhorst’s 2011 Secateurs Chenin Blanc. It has beautiful aromas of orange blossoms, white peaches and honey with a luxurious mouthfeel and lingering finish. This very complex chenin blanc that’s well balanced goes with a whole array of Gulf Coast seafood. It’s quite the deal at $12.49 and a great alternative to chardonnay.
Now for the red. No burnt rubber or medicinal smell here. The 2010 Badenhorst Secateurs Red Blend ($13.49) is a five-grape Rhone-style blend, with syrah being the predominant grape. California-wine lovers will appreciate the ripe red and black fruits, while French aficionados will enjoy the rustic flavors of five Rhone grape varietals. This would be perfect with an herb-roasted pork loin.
The future of South African wines is very promising. Winemakers such as Badenhorst will challenge the status quo and keep improving South African wines. Both wines are available at Seville’s Wine Shoppe.
Seville Quarter, 130 E. Government St. 434-6211, or visit www.sevillequarter.com.