Great expressions of the classic grapes will happily rub shoulders with eminently drinkable everyday wines and it is this breadth of choice that has enabled the Coastal Region to become an export success in the days that have followed apartheid.
Styles of Wine
In common with the rest of South Africa, the Coastal Region is a traditional stronghold of white wines with the perfect climate for reds. This imbalance is beginning to be redressed and the region is now producing very fine examples of both. The reds can be fruit driven and immediate or complex and demanding of age, whilst at their best the whites are fresh, well-balanced and laced with tropical flavour. The reds, in particular, have been blended with imagination and great aplomb. Sweet and fortified wines are also produced.
The versatile Chenin Blanc was once the prominent white, and it still produces enjoyably undemanding wines to this day, but Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc have emerged as the white grapes of quality. Muscat is grown in Constantia for the sweet Vin de Constance. Bordeaux is unashamedly the influence when it comes to the reds, with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot at the forefront of these. Shiraz has been very successful, as have Cinsault and Pinotage, South Africa's very own grape. One curiosity is the Tinta Barroca (sometimes spelt 'Tinta Barocca'), a grape used for Port that is producing varietal wine in the district of Swartland.
Climate and Conditions
Swartland is hot, as is Paarl, but irrigation is only generally required in the former of the two. Stellenbosch and Constantia are kept cool and moist by the influence of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans and are ideal environments for the growing of quality grapes. Soil types vary considerably and the new wave of winemakers have the expertise to exploit them to their full potential.
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