Finally the largest wine region of South Africa is Klein Karoo, which is also the most easterly area. It is very hot in summer here and irrigation is essential. Klein Karoo is famous for its sweet fortified wine but also for the surprisingly fresh and fruity Steen (Chenin Blanc).


In spite of the name this is not Riesling as we know it in Europe but a different grape, the Crouchen Blanc, of which the origins are unclear. It is often used to make very acceptable table wines but also produces some good firm wines with interesting vegetal aromas such as straw and grass. Drinking temperature is 46.4-50°F (8-10°C).

COLOMBARDAfrican Chardonnay

This grape variety hails originally from the French south-west, origins of most of the Huguenots. Its yields fresh and fruity wines that are excellent as an aperitif or to served with grilled fish. Drinking temperature is 46.4-50°F (8-10°C).


These grapes originate from the Loire. The grape is particularly used for its fine acidity. In South Africa though it delivers surprisingly mellow wines that are almost sweet as well as dry as chalk examples that are fresh and fruity. Drinking temperature is 46.4-50°F (8-10°C).


Also known on occasion as Pume Blanc as in the United States. South African Sauvignon Blanc wines are very herbal with definite notes of grass, with peppery undertones. The taste is fresh, dry, aromatic, and beautifully rounded. Drinking temperature is 46.4-50°F (8-10°C).


This Burgundian grape also thrives in South Africa. The special cuvees in particular, that are aged in oak barrels, are extremely exciting. Chardonnay is fruity, rich, and rounded with a robust taste. Drinking temperature is 50-53.6°F (10- 12°C).


This grape is the true South African speciality. It was formed from a cross based on old root stock with Pinot Noir, and Cinsault (known locally as Hermitage) about which little is known. The variety was created by Prof. Abraham Perold in 1925 and it combines the reliability of Cinsault in terms of volume and quality, even in poor years, with the finesse of Pinot Noir.

Most of the wines are drunk still too young but there are certain top quality Pinotage wines such as Kanonskop which aged well (five to ten years).

 Pinotage smells and tastes of dark ripe fruit with hints of spices. Some of the best Pinotage wines contain quite substantial tannin when they are young. A local speciality is 'Beesvleis Pinotage', which is a beef stew cooked in Pinotage. Drinking temperature is 60.8°F (16°C).