South African wine is becoming one of the most popular New World varieties and this country offers a number of exquisite wines. There is no need to travel all the way to South Africa to taste this wine – a few choice varieties are offered to be sampled at the famous London hotel the Montague on The Gardens. Let’s delve into the vineyards of South Africa and explore this unique New World wine.
The Emergence of South African Wine
South Africa is one of the most popular producers of wine in the New World. The history of wine production here dates back to 1659 in Constantia – a vineyard located near Cape Town. It was purchased by a Cape Governor named Simon van der Stel who founded one of the most well-renowned wine estates in the world.
South African wine received little attention for most of the 20th century, since many countries boycotted the wine as a way of protesting Apartheid. It was not until the late 1980s and 1990s that South African wines started to experience a renaissance after Apartheid ended. The producers in South Africa began to experiment with new winemaking techniques and technologies.
Recently New World Wines have experienced a surge in popularity and this has unleashed a new interest in investment. Production of South African wine is concentrated around Cape Town, but there are also major production centres in Stellenbosch, Worcester and Paarl. Wine makers have come to this region from abroad and have brought their international influences, as well as a focus on Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz and Chardonnay.
The winemaking traditions here are a blend of Old World and New World wine making techniques. Many of the winemakers here are from Spain, France and California and they have brought new styles and techniques. For example, the use of oak barrels for ageing became popular in the 1980s.
The Montague Offering Exclusive South African Wines
The Montague on the Gardens is proud to be one of the very few hotels in the world selected to showcase an exclusive collection of wines from Bouchard Finlayson, a South African estate. These wines are thought to be the best in the Cape and they will please even the most discerning wine lover.
For example, the hotel showcases the Hannibal Blend, which was rated 99/100 by the very prestigious South African Wine Index. The wines from this celebrated South African estate are not only superb, they are also quite difficult to come across in the UK – so The Montague on the Gardens offers a very exclusive treat.
The wines are available to be sampled as part of a London wine tasting experience within the Terrace Bar and Conservatories, which is a tranquil and relaxing oasis to retreat to after a busy day of exploring the capital.
The Montague on the Gardens
This four star hotel is located next to the British Museum and it is in one of the most bustling and touristic parts of London. However, once you walk through the rear of the hotel you will find yourself in a private garden – a tranquil and quiet retreat from the busy city. The hotel offers wonderful old world British hospitality while still being right in the centre of the action in downtown London.
If you read the TripAdvisor reviews for the hotel, you will find enormous amounts of praise for the hospitality, atmosphere, amenities and professionalism of this high end hotel. 2,121 reviewers have rated it excellent and it is ranked #8 in over a thousand hotels in London. The Montague is known for the superb experience it offers for its guests.
The location of the hotel makes it ideal for exploring London. From the Bloomsbury neighbourhood, you can walk to Russell Square, the University of London, the British Museum, Covent Garden and the Royal Opera House all within 15 minutes.
South Africa’s Ideal Wine Climate
There is a reason why wines from South Africa are so excellent: the climate is ideal. The regions of South Africa have a Mediterranean climate with dry heat and intense sunlight. The Cape Wine Lands span the distance from the rugged mountains and scenic slopes of the coastal region, to the riverine valleys of the Klein Karoo.
There are currently around 99,680 hectares of vines producing wine grapes over six different regions in the Western Cape. The country is within the top 10 wine producing countries in the world and it produces approximately 10 million hL of wine every year.
Traditionally typical South African wines are known for having rustic flavours and being course in texture. Winemakers also experimented with temperature control fermentation and focused yield control for better ripeness.