Tag: south africa

Do you know Amarula liqueur?

Amarula is in fashion. It is a cream liqueur from South Africa that is especially popular among fans of the traditional Baileys. The liqueurs are similar when it comes to the sweet and creamy taste. It makes it easy to associate the two although they are two very different drinks.

Amarula, Marula, Elephant, Liqueur, South Africa

Amarula cream liqueur is made from the cream of milk and the fruit of the Marula tree. This tree only exists in the sub-equatorial plains of Africa. The mystery of this liqueur comes from its fruit. The fruit has a citrusy and creamy flavour and fibrous white flesh under its hard skin. It contains four times more vitamin C than an orange.

The Marula tree is protected in South Africa and it only grows in the wild. Humans have not been able to cultivate it so the gatherers must adapt to the whims of their roots. The tree only produces fruit once a year which makes the harvest even more difficult.

The Marula tree is also known as ”the tree of the elephants” because they love their fruit. Elephants can travel hundreds of kilometres when they detect the sweet smell of this delicacy. Perhaps that is why the Amarula liqueur is associated with these majestic giants. In fact, the brand supports elephant conservation efforts and co-founded an elephant research programme.

Amarula, Marula, Elephant, Liqueur, South Africa

Many other animals also enjoy eating the fruit. At times, when the fruit is very ripe, it will ferment on the ground in the heat of the sun. The fruit may then obtain an alcohol content of up to 38%. It goes without saying that animals eating the fruit from the ground may experience a bit of a buzz.

It is not a joke…

The production of Amarula is very basic. The fruit is fermented much like wine. It is then distilled twice and aged in French oak barrels for two years. At the end of the process, the liquor is mixed with the cream of milk to create the final product, the Amarula liqueur.

Amarula liqueur was created in 1989 which makes it a relatively new drink. Yet it is already distributed in 100 countries. It has won many awards, among others two awards for Best Liqueur in the World (2006 and 2008). It is steadily gaining new followers who like to drink it neat, with ice, mixed into cocktails, or they may even use it as an ingredient in cooking recipes.

We are also big fans… How about you? Have you tried it yet?

 

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Amarula

Amarula is a sweet cream liqueur from South Africa with 17% alcohol

 

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A Journey Through the Wines of Africa

African wine, Constantia, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Morocco, Northern Africa, Paarl, Stellenbosch, South Africa, South African wine, Tanzania, Tunisia

In recent years, the continent of Africa has experienced a growing interest in their different wines from different regions. The vineyards in South Africa already enjoy a great reputation and you’ll find many quality wines originating from here. But now more and more countries on this vast continent are experiencing a true wine revolution.

However, in many African countries alcohol is forbidden by law due to religious doctrine. For this reason, production and trade of wine have never developed as much as in other parts of the world.

Get on board and go on a journey with us to the African continent … You’ll have time to read this article on the way there!

South Africa

South Africa is undoubtedly the most famous – and most appreciated – area of the continent when it comes to wine. Viticulture has been practised here since 1600. Winemaking was introduced by the Dutch who dealt with trade between Europe and the East. Around 1680 the French and Dutch Huguenots made vineyards and orchards an important part of the country’s economy. The Huguenots had fled Europe after the French sovereign Louis XIV revoked the Edict of Nantes.

In South Africa, there are three very important wine regions, which today are conquering world markets. The first, and oldest, is Constantia which is located at the Cape of Good Hope. The first South African winery was founded here in 1685. Another important region is Stellenbosch which is famous for its fortified wines. The Paarl region produces sparkling wines and brandies.

The most cultivated grape in South Africa is the Chenin Blanc. Locally this variety is also known as Steen. It is spectacular in Chardonnay, Sauvignon, Riesling, Colombard and Cape Riesling, also known as Muscat of Alexandria. Among the red grapes the Cabernet Sauvignon, Cinsault, Merlot and Shiraz stand out. The local variety named Pinotage is also very important. This variety is obtained by crossing Cinsault and Pinot Noir.

Tanzania

Tanzania is a relative newcomer in the world of wine. In 2002, an engineer from Verona, Fiorenzo Chesini, decided to invest considerable resources in a project to promote local producers. Thanks to Chesini’s investments, avant-garde wineries have been built in the heart of the Dodoma region.  The grapes are cultivated on a plateau in the centre of the country at an altitude between 1,100 and 1,200 m.

In the town of Hombolo we find wineries which produce intense and exotic quality wines. The wines originating from here are easily compared to wines from other countries and continents. The Tanzanian vineyards mainly cultivate Marzemino, Teroldego, Aglianico and Syrah grapes. These varieties were introduced by European missionaries a long time ago.

Kenya

Kenya remains at the forefront of wine production. Currently, the best wines are those made from Colombard grapes. They are cultivated in the area of Lake Naivasha, northwest of Nairobi.

If you are curious and want to try a local specialty, we recommend you to try mnazi. It is a whitish wine which is made from coconut palm trees. Coconut wine is made by fermenting the sap of the palm tree and it has a rather acidic flavour. However, we must warn you: mnazi does not often agree with the taste buds of most European travellers!

Ethiopia

Unfortunately, the origin of viticulture in Ethiopia is linked to a dark part of history. It dates back to the Italian colonialism in Abyssinia. In fact, the Italian occupation troops began producing local wine near the capital, Addis Ababa. In 1947 Ethiopia gained their independence from Italy and the production of wine was nationalised. Unfortunately, this caused the production to stagnate for several years.

In 2012 the former president Meles Zenawi invited the French giant Castel to invest in the development of winegrowing in Ethiopia. Castel imported the varieties Syrah, Chardonnay, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. These varieties seemed to find their ideal environment in the Ethiopian highlands and green valleys.

African wine, Constantia, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Morocco, Northern Africa, Paarl, Stellenbosch, South Africa, South African wine, Tanzania, Tunisia

North Africa

Morocco predominantly produces red wines. The Meknes Valley, west of Fez, contains the largest concentration of vineyards. It is situated approximately 600 m above sea level. There are more vineyards to be found along the coast near the cities of Rabat and Casablanca. You will also find vineyards in the mountains of the Atlas range.

Tunisia, meanwhile, specialises in high-quality white wines. Tunisia is one of the few African countries where viticulture has a deep origin. In the past, the Phoenicians cultivated and vinified muscat here.

Egypt is a must-see on our tour. The cultivation and production of Egyptian wine has a long tradition and history. This is evidenced by the hieroglyphs that decorate the tombs of the pharaohs. Archaeologists have also found proof of winemaking in written documents. The ancient Egyptians intensely cultivated the Nile Delta with vines, and wine was the drink of the nobility. According to legend, it was the God Osiris himself who taught men to produce wine.

Over time, however, Egyptian winemaking had seized (about 90% of the population is Muslim). Today, some local producers show a willingness to invest in the production and exports of wines. They wish to bring Egypt to a competitive position in the international market by producing reds, whites and rosés.

Do you want to learn more? We recommend listening to “Africa” by Toto while enjoying a nice glass of wine from this great continent!

South African wines: to the infinity and beyond

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South Africa is becoming in recent years one of the emerging producers in the wine market, with a remarkable growth that has allowed it to conquer the palates of many consumers throughout the world, competing with the most traditional producers.

The climate of the South African wine regions is very close to the Mediterranean climate, a factor that allows the production of wines of comparable quality to the best, especially given the momentum that has lately taken the wine industry in this country, which has led to a substantial increase in sales.

In this sense it has recently expressed one of the major South African wine producers, Kleine Zalze, which owner and managing director Kobus Basson said to the website Drinks International that “South Africa generally speaking is at quite an exciting stage right now. We have a lot of positives at the moment and there is no ceiling in terms of quality”.

The representative of the South African wine company also remarked that the last harvest has been excellent and, although the production volume of grape could lower, its quality will not be compromised.

As for his outlook for the coming years, Basson said: “There are always challenges, and in South Africa we have ours. The main thing for our country is to move forward in terms of price in order to move solidly upwards to the upper segment of the market”.

The firm is present in 25 markets, with a strong growth in several of them, and relies on a gradual and slow, smooth progress, since “we can’t have the sales volumes of the majority, so it is about improving quality for us”.

Surely in the next few years we will see many more South African wines in our stores, so at Uvinum we will follow them carefully.

 TAGS:Arabella Cabernet Sauvignon 2013Arabella Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

Arabella Cabernet Sauvignon 2013:  a red wine from the Robertson DO made with cabernet sauvignon of 2013 and 13º of alcohol strength.

 

 

 TAGS:Diemersfontein Pinotage 2012Diemersfontein Pinotage 2012

Diemersfontein Pinotage 2012: a red wine Paarl which blend contains pinotage of 2012 and has a volume of alcohol of 14º. 

 

 

Stellenbosch, the great South African wine area

 TAGS:Italy, France, Spain, United States … Now the big wine producers will have to count with countries referred as the ‘new world’, (talking about wine aspects). There are many areas of the world where good wines are made, and among them, South Africa is an emerging area that stands out for the quality of its wines. It has 100,000 hectares of vines, being the seventh largest producer of wine.

Among these areas, Stellenbosch, near Cape Town, is one of the most popular, where are made the Cape Town or Western Cape wines. Excellent and tasty white and red wines are made from Pinotage landraces for the red and Semillon for the whites, (depending on the area in which they are produced).

Stellenbosch has a diverse climate with mountains and sea, which creates rich varieties of wines with power, color, taste and personality. The climate is Mediterranean, with hot summers and cool winters and very clear skies.

The grapes that are grown are used for the production of wine, and not for table grapes. The vineyards of the region have heights of over 140 meters to 600 meters and you can visit it, which favors wine tours to see the countryside and visit the wineries of this beautiful area.

The promotion of these wines is getting bigger and stronger, and it is said that it is a region that is getting a very special place in the wines talks from now on. Those wines traveled many countries of the world and this export is getting bigger. A lot of growers are investing in foreign Stellenbosch, seeing in it a powerful and tasty wine that marries with all kinds of food.

Would you like to try different wines? Then do not miss our recommendations today:

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Pierre Jourdan Brut

 

 

 TAGS:Kleine Zalze Cellar Selection Chenin Blanc Bush Vine 2012Kleine Zalze Cellar Selection Chenin Blanc Bush Vine 2012

Kleine Zalze Cellar Selection Chenin Blanc Bush Vine 2012

South Africa Appellation

Vinos de Sudáfrica

South Africa is the pioneer of so-called New World countries, as far as wine is concerned; it was the first country to belong to this group.

The history of South African wine

It was by the hand of the Dutch colonist Simon Van der Stel, first governor of the Cape Colony (Dutch colony in South Africa), who introduced the culture of wine back in 1679, creating the first vineyard in this country, in order to quench the thirst of wine of the sailors who passed through the port of that small town. Groot Constantia vineyard is today, one of the most important in the African country, due to its history, tradition and fine wines.

South Africa Appellation

South Africa earned the designation of origin (DO) in 1973, in order to classify its different wine producing areas, either by its quality or by its quantity of wine produced in each one of them. It started by classifying the areas of Cape Town, which was divided:

• In Western Cape which includes Western Cape.
Coastal Region: (Coastal Region) comprising Constantia, Durbanville and Stellenbosch.
Overberg: comprising Elgin, Paarl y Tulbagh.
Breede River Valley which includes Worcester, Robertson and Swellendam.
• These areas are in turn divided into districts, among which highlights Calitzdorp, Cape Point, Robertson, Paarl, Worcester, Stellenbosch, Tulbagh and Overberg.
Within these areas, the designation of origin system in South Africa was established as it follows: Western Cape, Stellenbosch, Swartland, Walker Bay, Elgin, Robertson and Elim.

Currently 47% of the South African wine exportation is aimed to Britain, Germany 25% and the 28% to the rest of the world being Canada and the United States the main importers of the rest.

Being the UK market the highest destination of these wines, the appellation of origin is predominantly English, That is why the “Wine and Spirit Board” (English Setter drinks), has awarded to some wines the title of “Wine of Origin” (Designation of Origin), which have divided them into three classifications:

By region – which refers to the region where the wine was produced, and their different characteristics and unique properties.

By Ward (district) – Makes a reference to the small areas of cultivation, and to their owners.

By Estate (farm area) – Refers to a particular area and the grape who has been cultivated there.

Do you want to try South African wines? Let us guide you:

Golden Kaan Pinotage Classic 2009: The wine you should start to get to know South African wines. From the native grape Pinotage is a wine with 9 months of barrel aging that integrates perfectly the fruit tannins.

Golden Kaan Classic Chenin Blanc 2009: Chenin Blanc, a French variety, is a white grape grown widely here too, just like the Sauvignon Blanc. The difference in climate offers a unique singularity to this grape that you cannot find anywhere else in the world.

Hannibal 2005: Sangiovese, Pinot Noir, Syrah and Barbera, a blend of grapes with a great result, which gives us one of the best South African wines.

Won’t you try South African wines? Have you already tried them? Tell us your experience!