In praise of sunny days, Cape Wine Master Allan Mullins rounds up a bevy of beauties that best offer the aromas of spring in a glass.
Spring is nature’s way of saying, “Let’s party!” So declared actor Robin Williams and I couldn’t agree more.
In celebration, then, of new blooms, garden parties and all that’s best about spring, here’s a selection of both fun crowd-pleasers for everyday entertaining, and serious sippers to complement fine fare at an elegant alfresco lunch.
No spring party would be complete without the popping of corks and the frothing fizz of bubbly.
The newly released Naughty Girl Sparkling Rosé Non-Vintage (approximately R49.99) from Alvi’s Drift Private Cellar lives up to its label’s claim of being “lustily luscious, seductively sweet and promiscuously pink”.
A mouthful of sweet grapey muscat is well balanced with fresh acidity.
Pair it with: Crystallised rose brownies
Also try: Woolworths No Sulphur Added Limited Release Pinot Noir Rosé 2010 (R99.99)
Visions in white
With its flavours of new grass, gooseberry and passion fruit, plus lively acidity, Sauvignon Blanc is the ideal wine for spring quaffing.
At Robertson winery Arendsig, Lourens van der Westhuizen makes single-vineyard wines from blocks of exceptional quality.
He is particularly proud of his Arendsig Sauvignon Blanc 2011 (R60 from the cellar), which he says is an expression of the deep lime stone soils of the vineyard. It’s fresh and lively with a grassy, green pepper and lemon-lime nose and racy acidity.
Pair it with: Goats cheese with mustard, carnations and broad bean vinaigrette
Also try: Black Oystercatcher Sauvignon Blanc 2010 (R69) and Springfield Life from Stone Sauvignon Blanc 2010 (R73 from the cellar)
When spring hits South Africa it is impossible to overlook the charm of our most popular variety.
From each new vintage the first wine on Woolworths' shelves is Woolworths Longmarket Chenin Blanc 2011 (R26.95) – a customer favourite for 20 years.
The Pentz family has certainly not regretted making the move from livestock to wine on Groote Post, their 4 000 ha farm outside Darling.
A favourite in their ever growing range is Groote Post Chenin Blanc 2011 (R46 from the cellar), with a bouquet of citrus, melon and tropical fruits and a firm textured palate with good minerality.
Pair it with: Corn and beer bread
Also try: The Winery of Good Hope Vinum Chenin Blanc 2010 (R155 from the cellar)
Peter Finlayson of Bouchard Finlayson in the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley makes three Chardonnays, with the unwooded one being Bouchard Finlayson Chardonnay Sans Barrique 2010 (R108 from the cellar).
His 15th release of this wine has a nose of lime, citrus and kiwi fruit and a concentrated palate from maturation on the lees. It is a fine match for the vast variety of line fish found off the coast near the winery.
Pair it with: Salmon tartare and marinated prawns with coppa
Also try: Waterkloof Circumstance Chardonnay 2008 (R155 from the cellar)
The ever-innovative Thys Lourens of Durbanville’s Diemersdal Estate has come up trumps with his Diemersdal Sauvignon Rosé 2011 (R42 from the cellar).
A clever blend of 93 percent Sauvignon Blanc and seven percent Cabernet Sauvignon.
It has a bright coral colour and a nose that combines the passion fruit of the Sauvignon with the cranberry and blackcurrant of the Cabernet.
With its colour and juicy berry sprightliness, it epitomises spring fever at its finest.
Pair it with: Smoked-trout terrine with shallot dressing
Also try: Grangehurst Cape Rosé Blend 2009 (R44.50 from the cellar)
Gyles Webb has made quality wines at his Stellenbosch winery, Thelema Mountain Vineyards, for over 20 years. With the help of his son Thomas, he has branched out and bought a farm, Sutherland, in Elgin.
Among the impressive wines emanating from there is the Sutherland Pinot Noir 2009 (R90 from the cellar). It has a nose of wild strawberries and cranberry and is elegant rather than powerful.
Gentle oak treatment has added vanilla and soft ripe tannins make it a most appealing wine – wonderful with prawns or seared salmon.
Pair it with: The ultimate tuna-and-gorgonzola melt
Rounded and elegant Pinot Noir
Lucky seven - Boekenhoutskloof
Trio of reds - Constantia Valley