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Klein Karoo

Where in the World Klein Karoo?

If you said Australia, you may be thinking of a boxing marsupial called a kan-ga-roo. This “Roo” is a region of the Western Cape in South Africa that is a bit similar to parts of the Outback due its semi-desert climate. There are two parts of the Karoo area, the smaller Klein Karoo sits in a more fertile valley than its big brother to the north. In that valley exists a number of microclimates, which in turn results in a variety of wines.

The Wines of Klein Karoo

There are numerous varieties grown throughout the area including Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Shiraz, Chardonnay, and Sauvignon Blanc. Vineyard managers continue to experiment with other varieties as well but two grapes account for over half of the acreage planted here.

Colombar- Also known as Colombard in other parts of the world, this white variety does very well in Klein Karoo. The dry heat during the growing season is welcomed by the vigorous vine as the grapes are hardy enough to stand up to high temperatures. Depending on the vineyard, winemakers can use the grape for table wine, dessert wine, or brandy. The combination of high acidity and concentrated sugars lend themselves to the fortified wines of the area. Klein Karoo is well known for Brandy production with the grape, which is a delightful after dinner disgestif.

Chenin Blanc- Over the past decade the whole of the Western Cape has made a name for itself with this white grape that South Africans call Steen. Originally from the Loire Valley in France, winemakers in Klein Karoo tend to make the wine a bit different from their French counterparts. Table wines are usually fruity and have a touch more sweetness in Klein Karoo. Many wineries also choose to make brandy from the versatile fruit. The crisp dryness seen in many offerings will usually pair nicely with seafood and other fish. Grilled Mahi Mahi would certainly appreciate the match.

Grape Growing in Klein Karoo

Also known for sheep and ostrich farming, the semi-arid region stretches west to east flanked by mountain ranges. The area experiences extremes in temperatures and has the same fluctuation in terms of soil types. The low and unreliable rainfall poses a challenge for wine growers and most are forced to irrigate from nearby rivers. Nevertheless, vintners continue to craft award winning port styled wines and experiment with new varieties.

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·  Coastal Region
·  Cape South Coast
·  Overberg
·  Worcester
·  Robertson
·  Eastern Cape
·  Stellenbosch
·  South Africa
·  Chenin Blanc- Versatility sheathed in grape skin


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