A Cool South African White Wine For Early Spring

As the temperature rises and the sun slowly comes out of hiding, MARY DOWEY has a COOL SOUTH AFRICAN WHITE to sip on as we ease into the warmer months …

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Plenty of zesty white wines only taste respectable when chilled down to the sort of body-numbing temperature I’d prefer to avoid for for another month or two. (I’m thinking especially of Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio and Albariño.) Luckily others seem much more appealing when served slightly warmer; an extra degree or two can work magic when it comes to balance and harmony of flavour.

White Burgundies and other Chardonnays, white Riojas, white Rhônes and other expressions of grapes like Marsanne, Rousanne and Viognier all react well to being cooled rather than chilled. This deliciously unconventional South African should bear a label saying ‘please don’t freeze the life out of me’, too.

Cape winemaker Adi Badenhorst has developed an unusual blend, adding Roussanne, Verdelho and Viognier to the main grape, Chenin Blanc – a variety at which South Africa excels. Perhaps the inspiration for using Roussanne and Viognier came from Badenhorst’s work experience with Alain Graillot, the northern Rhône winemaker responsible for the superb white Crozes-Hermitage that was our weekly bottle a fortnight ago? Whatever about that, the result is terrific – a wine that combines pure peach and lemon top-notes with tangy, almost chewy depth.


850025 Cornelia Swartland White

Best with food, Cornelia would be lovely with chicken or pork, roast simply with some fruit. (Slip a quartered orange into the chicken cavity or put apples, pears or peaches into the roasting tin with the pork).  A light chicken curry, delicate pork stir-fry or creamy vegetable bake would be a great match too. But don’t pour the bottle straight from the fridge, remember. At 10-12 degrees it’ll taste infinitely more attractive than at 4-6 degrees – so give it half an hour on the worktop to come round.

From Marks & Spencer, €14.99

Mary Dowey @MaryDowey

This article appeared in a previous issue, for more features like this, don’t miss our March issue, out Saturday March 5.

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