Chardonnay is a green-skinned grape variety that originated in the Burgundy wine region of eastern France and is used in the production of white wine. It is now grown wherever wine is produced, from England to New Zealand, making it the most widely planted and commonly produced white grape cultivar in the world. For new and developing wine regions, growing Chardonnay is seen as a “rite of passage” and the entry point into the international wine market. The character of wines produced by the Chardonnay cultivar depends on the climate and soil conditions where it is grown. This cultivar produces a well-balanced good quality wine, golden in colour with a citrus aroma. Flavours range from fruity to tropical with hints of butter and vanilla.
Pinotage is a dark blue-black skinned grape variety created in South Africa in 1925 by Abraham Izak Perold, the first Professor of Viticulture at Stellenbosch University, to combine the best qualities of the robust Hermitage with Pinot noir. In 1935, Perold’s successor, CJ Theron grafted them onto newly established Richter 99 and Richter 57 rootstock at Welgevallen. The first wine was made in 1941 at Elsenburg, with the first commercial plantings at Myrtle Grove near Sir Lowry’s Pass just outside Cape Town. Depending on the way this cultivar is grown and matured, this grape may produce lovely wines with berry, black cherry and fruity notes with a hint of cedar and vanilla.
Chenin blanc is a greenish yellow-skinned white wine grape variety from the Loire Valley of France. A widely planted grape variety in South Africa, Chenin blanc is a very popular cultivar, as its high acidity makes it suitable for producing everything from sparkling wines to well-balanced dessert wines. Outside the Loire, Chenin blanc is found in most of the New World wine regions. It is the most widely planted variety in South Africa, where it is also known as Steen, and may be one of the first varieties grown in South Africa. The wine character has tropical flavours with hints of honey and guava notes.
Colombard, also known as French Colombard in North America, is a medium-sized yellowish green-skinned white French wine grape variety that is the offspring of Chenin blanc and Gouais blanc, and the sibling of the Armagnac Meslier-Saint-François and the nearly extinct Cognac grape Balzac blanc.
Colombard is a white variety used to produce good table wines; as a blending component for other wines; and for the production of distilled wines, such as brandy and cognac. It is widely grown in South Africa, where it is known as Colombar, and produces brilliant brandy and wines with lovely crisp tropical flavours and hints of guava, melon and floral tones.