Hello forumites. My daughter is completing an overseas internship for her MA in which she studied in South Africa, China and travelled through Eastern Europe. As part of a congratulatory gesture, and because she loves wine, I am preparing a case of wine from each location she has visited. 8 bottles have already been purchased however unfortunately I have no knowledge of wine from these two areas, other than searching online and reviewing scores. Would anyone recommend from personal experience, wines from these two countries? Varietal is of little importance. She loves red, white and sparkling, but does not like dessert or late harvest wines. Thank you for any information!
There are so many good whites (Chenin Blanc, primarily) and reds (esp. syrah) from South Africa that it is hard to know where to start. I suggest doing some research on reviews, ratings, etc., then come back here with some ideas to discuss and get feedback. I'm sure others will chime in with their favorite producers. Many of better ones I have had there are not available in the US and are very inexpensive by our standards.
As for China, I have had a few (Great Wall, Chengdu, and one from Henan Province whose name escapes me at the moment). None have been memorable; however, which some French, US, and Australian consultants in China, things are looking up. But for now, I would buy only as a novelty, not to drink.
I agree with Haggis' suggestion on Chenin Blancs from South Africa.
If you can find them, Sadie Family makes three excellent versions; Skurfberg, Skerpioen and Palladius. The first two are part of their Old Vine series and might be difficult to find. The Palladius is actually a blend but should be easier to find, albeit not cheap.
A.A. Badenhorst. He makes a 100% chenin blanc called The Golden Slopes. Outstanding stuff.
Ken Forrester, The FMC. His top of the line chenin blanc. Great stuff.
Keermont. They make a chenin dominant blend called Terrasse. Not quite as good as the above, but should be half the price of them. Closer to 25% of the Palladius.
Thorne & Daughters. Their Cat's Cradle is 100% chenin blanc. I don't have a lot of history with this one but the 2017 is killer.
De Morgenzon also makes excellent chenin blanc.
If you'd rather get a Chardonnay...Hamilton Russell.
Sadie Family makes several. Columella is a syrah dominant blend. Soldaat is old vine grenache. Treinspoor is tinta barroca.
Reyneke makes good reds, mostly syrah.
As does Keermont. A standard bottling and the single vineyard Topside.
De Toren makes an excellent Bordeaux style blend called Fusion V. It used to be a steal but I don't see it in our market anymore.
I like the Chardonnay from South Africa, in addition to Hamilton Russel I like Rustenberg and Meerlust.
There is a rose sparkler from Graham Beck from S. Africa that is quite pleasant. It's under $20 a bottle.
I would also add the mullineux chenin/syrah's and the alheit chenin's - their cartology is pretty nice.
Recently had the following in China and it was really quite good (had it every day):
2017 Legacy Peak Chardonnay (Estate Grown) From Ningxia Helan Mountain
I've never tried any wine from South Africa, but after reading this thread I realized that I have to do that hehe
Thank you for the detailed replies! I have been out with a terrible flu (remind me to get my flu shot next year). Below is an udpate, much of which was a result of recommendations of replies to my inquiry.
Ken Forrester - I purchased 2 bottles of FMC Chenin Blanc
De Toren I found online. I have never seen a wine described as 200% New Oak (Book XVII)! I purchased a botte of 2017 Fusion V.
S.A. is covered now with a red and a white.
Chateau Changyu Blue Diamond Icewine. This may be a gamble but at $50 I am not worried.
Legacy Peak Chardonnay I was able to easily secure a bottle of the 2017 vintage.
The Chinese reds are mostly costly or difficult to find so I may end my search and keep these two whites in the package.
I was turned on to K and L wines online store and found 2009 Keltis Mario Brut from Slovenia for $24
The family my daugher was staying with in Ukraine was kind enough to purchase and send me a bottle of Kolonist 2019 Riesling and "Bisser" sparkling wine and I reimbursed them.
Thank you again for your recommendations. Since I have since collected 16 bottles (4 over a case) the gift will now include two cases. I'm interested in more Eastern European and Russian wines, and anything easily accessible from China if it is of reasonable quality.