At a seminar on South African wines early this year, several winemakers said that a big chunk of the country’s future lay in blends. Their idea was that, while varietals offered a chance to compare their wines, and therefore, terroirs, with other wines of the world, the still-developing perceptions of South African wines offered them considerable freedom in creating interesting blends.
Not all the wines on offer right then made the point, but two wines I drank last week did, most
emphatically. Over dinner at Lime Wood, a thoroughly splendid new country-house hotel (http://www.limewood.co.uk/), and at enough leisure to savor the wines, I tried Sadie Family Vineyards “Palladius” 2007, a white blend of Chenin Blanc, Grenache Blanc, Clairette,
Viognier, and Chardonnay that ought to have been a muddle but was, instead, a freshly delicious and persistently flavored, vibrant wine, and then a Cape Chamonix 2008 “rouge,” which turned out to be a sort-of Bordeaux blend, though with Merlot leading the way and Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, and Petite Verdot following along. It’s inexpensive, and deeply savory, ready to drink and eminently drinkable. Point taken!