SA suipers will try anything, as long as it’s wine

Lifestyle

SA suipers will try anything, as long as it’s wine

If you have the time and patience, there are certainly wines worth tracking down and leaving to age

Michael Fridjhon

Many countries have their go-to grapes, and the red and white varieties that perform well are popular among local consumers and reflect in some way domestic market tastes — or the expectations of export markets.

In Spain, you would find tempranillo and Grenache (or garnacha, as it’s called there), in Argentina it would be Malbec, in Australia it’s shifted from Grenache to Shiraz in the past 50 years, and in New Zealand it’s still sauvignon blanc.

Old World wine producers are less likely to have a single national grape and more likely to have regional ones. This is partly because of geography, but also because most of these countries were not united politically at the time preferences became entrenched. Sangiovese is the most important red variety in Tuscany, but it is one of many cultivars with ancient credentials. In the first half of the 19th century the land from the Alps to Sicily was divided into numerous political entities, with regional dialects, regional cuisines and regional wine styles. Even if it had been possible to cultivate Sangiovese successfully in Puglia or Piedmont, there were cultural reasons militating against its acceptance...

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