South African Finds at the Miami International Wine Fair

This article is part of my series of posts from the Miami International Wine Fair.

South Africa isn’t usually high up on my list of countries I gravitate toward when selecting wine but that is likely to change after trying some nice wines at the fair.

I really enjoyed the wines of Kleine Zalze, in particular the Chenin Blanc and a red blend. The Chenin Blanc had bright tropical fruit flavors of pineapple and guava, along with white peach. It was smooth with a long crisp finish. The Cellar Selection SMV is a blend of Shiraz, Mourvedre and Viognier. My first thought when tasting it was “yummy!” It has great flavors of raspberry, plum and black currant with a touch of cocoa on the finish. It has fairly light tannins making for a silky mouthfeel. It was one of my favorite red wines at the fair.

Whalehaven, also from South Africa, had some really nice wines. The Viogner Chardonnay was light and refreshing, with flavors of lemon, grapefruit, peach and honeysuckle. It’s not aged in oak so those fruit flavors really stand out. I’m not normally a fan of Pinotage but I had to try it, knowing how popular it is in South Africa. It’s the country’s signature grape variety and is a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsault. Whalehaven’s Pinotage was bold and complex. Chocolate was the first taste that popped into my mind, followed by ripe dark cherries and smoke. It’s full bodied with a thick and smooth mouthfeel. It’s a wine that you won’t want to drink on its own. I’d pair this with foods that are big in taste, like beef, lamb and venison.