South African wines

Eight of South Africa’s most popular wine exports were recently exhibited in Nottingham – Photo: Nottingham Restaurants / Instagram

These EIGHT South African wines are going down a treat in the UK…

South Africa’s export industry is bouncing back after the pandemic – and these local wines are now flying the flag overseas.

South African wines

Eight of South Africa’s most popular wine exports were recently exhibited in Nottingham – Photo: Nottingham Restaurants / Instagram

The thriving Western Cape wine industry was brought to its knees not too long ago, due to devastating limitations imposed during the COVID lockdowns. When South Africa enforced an ALCOHOL BAN to help ease hospital pressures, the world looked on in horror.

South African wines going down well in the UK

Then, as the country entered into its FOURTH alcohol ban in 2021, that confusion descended into sheer indignance. The entire liquor industry – which forms a cornerstone of SA’s hospitality and tourism markets – was decimated by the draconian laws. Even wine exports were prohibited.

However, they say absence makes the heart grow fonder – which might explain the surging popularity of South African wines in the UK right now. Mzansi is holding its own in a competitive field, and although leading the Brits to booze is never too difficult, a clear preference is emerging.

Wines from the Western Cape winning over the world

Now, we may be biased here – but what do you expect? There’s a very literal clue in the name of this publication. We at TheSouthAfrican are passionate about our nation’s success overseas. And the comeback our international wine exporters have launched is one for the ages.

A roadshow of these popular South African wines ended up in Nottingham recently. Of course, we had to show our support…

Eight wines on a Monday night? The pleasure was ours

After all, a Premier League city deserves some Premier League wines. And, after shouting ‘Come On You Reds!’ at the City Ground just 24 hours beforehand, we were doing the same when a hearty Cabernet Franc made an appearance. More on that in a moment…

Another? Wine Bar is one of the best-named boozers you’re likely to find. The answer to the eponymous question will always be yes, when we’ve got these blends flowing throughout the evening. The full programme, put together by Liberty Wines, was a triumph of full-bodied flavour.

  • You can learn more about the venue and the wine providers here:

The SA wines proving to be VERY popular in the UK

So, what bottles of plonk make up the ‘tasteful eight’? We’ve got a comprehensive run-down for you here…

Fairview, Charles Back MCC Brut, 2017 – 11% ABV

This is what us armchair experts call ‘Rock N Roll Appletiser’. Fairview’s innovative styles date back more than 400 years, with a vineyard known for its classic AND unusual varieties. This dry, crisp, and delicious drop of MCC is a perfect ‘welcome drink’ for all occasions.

Momento, Grenache Gris, 2019 – 13.5% ABV

Marelise Niemann is the winemaker behind this smokey, silky-smooth blend – and my f*k, she’s got this right. Momento is adept at using South Africa’s warm, dry climate to produce a selection of rich, deep wines. This waxy white is the boozy equivalent of sticking your nose in a fruit bowl.

Thorne & Daughters, Cat’s Cradle, Chenin Blanc 2020 – 13% ABV

Fancy a white that could make a Frenchman purr? Look no further. This acidic, complex drop was created by the new-wave of winemakers at Thorne & Daughters. These young upstarts have created a vibrant and creamy offering, capable of ‘making your tabs laugh’…

That’s a Nottingham expression, by the way. When in Rome and all that…

Leeu Passant, Stellenbosch, Chardonnay 2018 – 13.5% ABV

Oaky, zesty, and even sexy. They were just some of the words filling the room when this Chardonnay was introduced. It has all the opulence of Johann Rupert doing his weekly shop in Woolies.

It doesn’t come as a surprise, though: Leeu Passant has a knack for producing such rich flavours…

Leeu Passant, Wellington, Cinsault 2017 – 13.5%

The Cinsault teases and tantalises with its fiery and complex offering from 2017. Consulting our notes, we described this wine as a ‘Rubiks Cube in a glass’. There’s so much going off, the flavours create a mystery in your mouth – and you can spend an age deciphering its secrets!

Gabrielskloof, Walker Bay, Cabernet Franc 2018 – 13.5% ABV

This gorgeous estate near Bot River is a favourite amongst residents of the Cape – and it’s now making waves 6 000 miles away. It’s light, fresh, savoury, and perfectly acidic. Hanging on every tastebud, the Cabernet Franc certainly has that ‘ohh la la’ factor.

Momento, Tinta Barocca, 2019 – 13.5%

This was our penultimate wine of the session. Speech was getting slurred, vision became blurred. However, no senses were dulled when this topped-up our glasses. Swartland’s finest winery has produced a refined, cherry-like taste that packs a hearty punch. One for the oenophiles, this.

Fairview, Paarl, Sweet Red 2020 – 18% ABV

With this being our eighth glass on a Monday night, we couldn’t really complain that this was also our last. A sweet desert wine carried us home: Think Ribena on steroids, or Cherry Coke distilled in a sugar silo. This was a delicious – and much-needed – show-stopper.