WorldWine Tasting Report


South Africa "alla grande"

Our top wines             

More than three years have passed since we last published a comprehensive overview of South Africa's top wines, but the waiting has been worth it. On three different occasions, in Berlin, London and in our Hamburg office, we were able to convince ourselves of the extremely high standard of performance of the Cape viticulture. Already our tasting in 2008 had resulted in a very good overall level of the wines tasted, but this time we were even more impressed by the roughly 300 wines tasted: four "dream wines", more than we sometimes find in a complete year of tastings, and a total of 80 five star wines prove that South African wines do not have to fear any competitor in the wine world.

The area overlooked by the Helderberg Mountains (top) hosts - together perhaps with the Simonsberg area - the greatest density of top producers in Stellenbosch: Ernie Els, Guardian Peak, Dornier, Waterford or Kleinood are only some of them. Tania and Willi de Waal (below) of Scali winery in the Voor-Pardeberg have ranked, for some years already, among the absolut top producers of the country, with their white blend and their monovarietal Syrah. (photos: E. Supp)

Particularly impressing was the progress made on the white side of the wine offer. Monovarietal Chenin blanc, white blends and even Sauvignon blanc, which we had always treated very sceptically have achieved a level which equals that of the red side. South African Sauvignon blanc has finally outperformed even its former benchmark, New Zealand Sauvigon, and ranks at level with the best French and Styrian/Friulian Sauvignon blancs. It would be quite thrilling to organize a world wide comparison of that variety and I am not sure if South Africa could not finish, quite like in our Chenin blanc SA - Loire comparison, as a winner.

On the red side, we were particularly impressed by the quality of the blends, with (Cape Blend) or without Pinotage, and by the monovarietal Syrah/Shiraz wines, but this is nothing really revolutionary in comparison to our last tasting. Yet, even the red Bordeaux blends have achieved a quality standard which brings them very close to their Grand Cru benchmarks, and it would also be extremely interesting to compare both sides in a direct face-to-face tasting. The only question is, if Bordeaux would dare to participate in such a challenge.

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Our complete tastings (comments in German)

Anwilka-Guardian Peak
Guardian Peak-Perdeberg
Quoin Rock-Waterkloof


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ENO WorldWine's 25 top scorers

*****Anwilka Wines (Stellenbosch) - Stellenbosch Anwilka 2008
*****Reyneke Wines (Stellenbosch) - Stellenbosch Reyneke Reserve red 2008
*****Glenelly Estate (Stellenbosch) - Stellenbosch Lady May 2008
*****Ernie Els Wines (Stellenbosch) - Stellenbosch Signature 2007
***** +Muratie Wine Farm (Pty) Ltd. (Koelenhof) - Simonsberg-Stellenbosch Ronnie Melck 2007
***** +De Trafford (Stellenbosch) - Stellenbosch Elevation 393 2007
***** +Reyneke Wines (Stellenbosch) - Stellenbosch Cornerstone 2009
***** +Stark-Condé (Stellenbosch) - Jonkershoek Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Three Pines 2009
***** +Glenelly Estate (Stellenbosch) - Stellenbosch Lady May 2009
*****Kleinood Winery (Stellenbosch) - Stellenbosch Viognier Tamboerskloof 2011
*****The Sadie family (Malmesbury) - Swartland Columella 2007
*****Rijk's Private Cellar (Tulbagh) - Tulbagh Pinotage 2007
*****Cederberg Private Cellar (Clanwilliam) - Cederberg Shiraz Teen Die Hoog CWG 2009
*****Springfield Estate (Robertson) - Robertson Cabernet Sauvignon Méthode Ancienne 1999
*****Warwick Wine Estate (Muldersvlei) - Stellenbosch Cabernet franc 2008
*****The Spice Route Wine Company (Malmesbury) - Swartland Malabar 2006
*****Cirrus Wines (Stellenbosch) - Coastal Region Syrah 2007
*****Ernie Els Wines (Stellenbosch) - Western Cape Engelbrecht Els Proprietor's Blend 2009
*****Beyerskloof (Koelenhof) - Stellenbosch Synergy Cape Blend Black Label 2009
*****Scali - W. & T. De Waal (N-Paarl) - Vor Paardeberg Syrah 2008
*****Mont du Toit (Wellington) - Coastal Region Le Sommet 2003
*****Kanonkop Wine Estate (Elsenburg) - Stellenbosch Paul Sauer 2008
*****De Trafford (Stellenbosch) - Stellenbosch Chenin blanc 2009
*****Reyneke Wines (Stellenbosch) - Stellenbosch Chenin blanc 2009
*****Ken Forrester Wines (Stellenbosch) - Stellenbosch Chenin FMC 2009


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