While I’ve gone to a lot of far out places to wet my whistle the furthest so far has got to be South Africa.

With a layover in London my trip last fall to the Western Cape took over thirty hours, but it was worth it to get some lips-on perspective as to what’s hot and happening in its unique wine regions. Both the shiraz and sauvignon blanc grapes have surpassed old school pinotage in popularity and cool mega blends of umpteen varietals are filling the glasses of those hip to what’s cutting edge.

Take KWV’s 2006 Roodeberg Red ($12.95 - $15.99). Though the brand is no spring chicken (it recently celebrated it’s 50th vintage) its rustic, big-fruited marriage of earth, smoke, spice and chocolate has influenced a whole new wave of ingenious South African blends like Fairview Cellars’ 2006 Goats do Roam Red ($12.95 - $15.99).

The Goat’s shiraz-led mix of six grapes shows off some nice juicy red berry fruit capped-off by a light candied finish that reminded me a bit of cherry Nibs.

While fresh springbok may be tough to find at your neighbourhood grocery; local game and grilled meats make a nice pairing for both wines.

Prices reflect the range across the country. Some products may not be available in all provinces.

– Peter Rockwell is the everyman’s wine writer, working in the liquor industry for more than 25 years and travelling the globe looking for something to fill his glass and put into words.