Though South Africa’s wines continue to improve, there doesn’t seem to be any discernible pattern. It’s a two steps forward, one step back, one step sideways kind of thing -- especially for cheap wines.
But there has been progress, and especially with chenin blanc. The South Africans used to call it steen, and it was often greenish and sour. But the Simonsig chenin blanc (about $10) is a fine example of the improvement. It’s crisp, dry, clean and with apple fruit and a nice mineral finish. It’s lighter than chardonnay (no oak), and has the makings of a classic New World chenin blanc. Serve this chilled: Either before dinner, with salads, Chinese takeout or whenever you want a pleasant glass of white wine.