Today we will take a look at wines from a place that is not widely known — the Paarl region of South Africa. The Paarl is home to a wide variety of white, red and sparkling wines.
The Paarl wine region is located by the coast on the western part of the Cape of Africa, near the foothills of the Klein Drakenstein and Simonsberg Mountains. The town of Paarl defines the region, and is located near the large granite mountain called the pearl (or Paarl) of the region. The mountain has a glowing luminosity that is created by its granite composition.
The Berg river flows through the wine region, and the climate of the Paarl is excellent for wine growing. The region has a cool summer and warm breezes in the fall, much like the Rhone wine region of France. The soil in the Paarl is free-draining and creates a fantastic terroir for wine.
A variety of wines are grown in the Paarl, including Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chenin Blanc, Semillon and Chardonnnay.
Although it is less well-known, the wines from South African are highly regarded and are becoming more and more available worldwide. South African wine has only recently come onto the worldwide wine scene, although wine has been produced in the area since the 1600s.
The Franschhoek valley is the home of many immigrants from France, and their knowledge from the home country has led to some of the success of the region. Italian and German immigrants have also contributed to the success of the region.
Paarl Wine Recommendations
We can recommend Paarl wines on the basis of some of the best known vineyards in the region, although prices and availability will vary by locality.
The Under Oaks Wine Farm is a family farm in the Paarl valley. The vineyard was founded in the 1600s. The white wines are particularly well rated, including the 2012 Sauvignon Blanc and the 2013 Chenin Blanc.
The award winning wines from the Rudera vineyard are also a great find. The vineyard is on the Eastern slopes of the mountains. The red and white wines from the Rudera are rich and pure and are well worth a try if they are available to you.
A third possibility, if you can find them, are wines from the highly-rated Simonsvleih vineyard. A good choice is the Simonsvlei Pinotage Reserve. This pinotage varietal is spicy, rich, and full of chocolate, with hints of cherry.