Wine of the Month: Arniston Bay Chenin Blanc Chardonnay 2009

Posted on: 02 August 2010 by Mark O'haire

South African wines have consolidated their already promising position in the wine market following a successful football World Cup. Pieter Rosenthal picks his favourite wine for August.

As the vuvuzelas have fallen silent once more, the South Africans are looking back at a successful World Cup. The big questions after these gigantic sporting events is always; will there be some financial payback to the economy?

South Africa was already a popular wine country and first reports are that the World Cup has done that no harm at all and has in fact helped to increase awareness and more importantly sales. We won’t really know for sure until next year but in the meantime South Africa has consolidated it’s fifth place in world rankings with a slightly increased UK market share of just short of 11% according to a recent Nielsen report.

In volume terms, South Africa is actually more popular than France right now.

So is this all as a result of the World Cup you ask? Well, not really. As I said, it certainly doesn’t harm South Africa’s standing but its popularity was already high due to other factors, such as favourable exchange rates (although this has started to change), easy to pronounce names, catchy labels and above all - very competitive pricing.

The same report puts the average bottle price at £3.89, which isn’t necessarily impressive but it does mean we can get a very decent deal out of South Africa.

Among the big players, Arniston Bay is now the fourth brand to come out of South Africa and it has again strengthened its position over the past year. Made by ‘The Company of Wine People’ the range of wines is fairly extensive.

The company has also made some laudable steps in cutting their carbon footprint by experimenting with alternative packaging, lighter bottles and increased use of recyclable materials. Interestingly they are also responding to a general mood for lighter alcohol wines with the ‘Lighthouse Collection’.

My choice for everyday easy-drinking:

Arniston Bay Chenin Blanc Chardonnay 2009

Arniston-Bay-Chenin-Blanc-CWestern Cape W.O. £5.49

Fresh green apple and zesty lime dominate the nose with melon providing a little tropical ripeness and richness. Very clean and fresh on the palate, again the lime and apple from the chenin blanc providing the backbone with a bit of richness and creaminess added by the Chardonnay to balance it all out.

A good value and versatile wine that works equally well as an aperitif or as a partner to seafood pasta.

Wine selected by Pieter Rosenthal at

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