The famous quote goes “Life is too short for bad wine”. I would like to add that “Life is too short to only drink one style of wine”. There is wide variety of wine styles in SA but some people just get stuck on one cultivar of wine.
South Africa has a great wine variety and the consumers are spoiled with choice but it seems that many consumers have their preconceived ideas and are reluctant to change.
The other day at a dinner party one of my guests insisted that he only drinks Sauvignon Blanc and no other white wine. This rigidness is typical of many South African wine consumers.
Sauvignon Blanc has become the go-to white wine and when in doubt; wine drinkers go for Sauvignon Blanc. In America it seems that Chardonnay is their go-to white drink. In a recent American article I read that the most versatile white wine is Sauvignon Blanc , yet most Americans drink Chardonnay.
But South Africa has another alternative and very versatile cultivar , Chenin Blanc.
According the John Platter guide, this white cultivar accounts for 19% of SA vineyard area.
Edward Deitch ,an American wine columnist, wrote that ” Chenin Blanc is to South Africa what Chardonnay is to California”. He added that “there is no better source for good, inexpensive Chenin Blanc than South Africa.”
So the Americans perceive SA to make great (value for money) Chenin Blancs, yet South African wine consumers are still stuck in their rigid white wine preferences.
With the economic hard times, the consumers will probably be more conservative and will stick to what they know. So, in the immediate future, Sauvignon Blanc will remain the go-to dry white wine for South African wine drinkers.
My suggestion to my , dear I say , narrow-minded guest , is to try something new. Come on , live a little. There is great dry Chenin Blancs, white blends and Rosé wines on the market. Try it.
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