Wine from South Africa has come a long way in the past 30 years. Quality wine production from the Cape became more widespread only in the 1990s, but by 1995 top historic estates were already earning outstanding scores from Wine Spectator—some even showing up on its annual Top 100 list.
At the entry level, a number of affordable bottlings provide good examples of the primary grape varieties grown in South Africa, including Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah among the reds and Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc among the whites. Several versions available for $20 or less are perfect for stocking up on for casual, everyday enjoyment.
Value prevails even among the best wines from South Africa. In this year’s report, the median price point of wines rated 90 points or higher is $40 per bottle, and only seven of the wines under review carry price tags surpassing $100. Get senior editor Alison Napjus' analysis of recent vintages, as well as top performers and values from the nearly 175 wines reviewed in Wine Spectator blind tastings over the past year.