South Africa’s Top 20 wineries vary big time in size, range, location

THE 2017 SA Cellar Classification confirms the ‘who’s who’ of the Cape winelands when it comes to those producers whose wines have been most fancied most often by panels of experts around the world during the 10-year period 2007 to 2016. And in this regard, obviously, the Top 20 outfits overall make for a rather special bunch.

In general, the reputation of the cellar as a producer of top quality, interesting wine is based on the standing of a particular flagship or two. In some cases the winery’s status has to do with a large portfolio – although it’s quite possible in terms of the Classification system for a boutique producer of a single wine to rank alongside the high and mighty.

With some exceptions such as Kanonkop and Rustenberg, the scroll of champions today is rather different to that of 20 or 30 years ago. And more and more, it seems, you have to delve deeper than the address of the winery to gauge where the country’s premier vineyards are located: for example, Boekenhoutskloof Syrah is more Swartland than Franschhoek, David Nieuwoudt’s Ghost Corner wines are completed in the Cederberg but start out near Elim, Franschhoek’s La Motte Pierneef red blend stems mostly from grapes grown in Cape Agulhas and Walker Bay, and the Reserve Sauvignon Blanc from Tokara’s cellar alongside the Helshoogte pass in Stellenbosch originates in Elgin…

Boekenhoutskloof – Franschhoek

SA TOP 10: Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah
SA TOP 20: Noble Late Harvest
ALSO CLASSIFIED: Porcupine Ridge Syrah, The Chocolate Block (Red Blend)

Cape Point Vineyards – Cape Peninsula

SA TOP 10: Sauvignon Blanc, Isliedh (White Blend)
SA TOP 20: Sauvignon Blanc Reserve
ALSO CLASSIFIED: Chardonnay, Woolworths Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, CWG Auction Reserve (White Blend)

Cederberg Private Cellar

SA TOP 10: Sauvignon Blanc, Ghost Corner Sauvignon Blanc, Five Generations Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz
SA TOP 20: Cabernet Sauvignon
ALSO CLASSIFIED: Chenin Blanc, Five Generations Chenin Blanc, Ghost Corner Wild Ferment Sauvignon Blanc, Ghost Corner Semillon, Ghost Corner The Bowline (White Blend), Waitrose Foundation Chenin Blanc, CWG Auction Reserve Teen die Hoog Shiraz

Chamonix – Franschhoek

SA TOP 10: Reserve Chardonnay, Reserve Pinot Noir
SA TOP 20: Troika Reserve (Red Blend)
ALSO CLASSIFIED: Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Reserve (White Blend), Greywacke Pinotage

Eagles’ Nest – Constantia, Cape Peninsula

SA TOP 10: Shiraz
SA TOP 20: Merlot

Fleur Du Cap (Bergkelder) – Stellenbosch

SA TOP 10: Unfiltered Cabernet Sauvignon, Unfiltered Merlot, Noble Late Harvest
SA TOP 20: Unfiltered Chardonnay, Unfiltered Sauvignon Blanc
ALSO CLASSIFIED: Unfiltered Limited Release Sauvignon Blanc, Unfiltered Semillon, Unfiltered Viognier, Unfiltered White Blend Limited Release, Laszlo (Red Blend)

Groot Constantia Estate – Cape Peninsula

SA TOP 10: Chardonnay
SA TOP 20: Pinotage, Shiraz, Grand Constance (Natural Sweet)
ALSO CLASSIFIED: Sauvignon Blanc, Gouverneurs Reserve (White Blend), Cabernet Sauvignon, Gouverneurs Reserve (Red Blend)

Hamilton Russell Vineyards – Hemel-en-Aarde Valley

SA TOP 10: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir

Jordan Wine Estate – Stellenbosch Kloof

SA TOP 10: Barrel Fermented Chardonnay, Nine Yards Chardonnay, Cobblers Hill (Red Blend)
SA TOP 20: The Outlier Sauvignon Blanc
ALSO CLASSIFIED: CWG Auction Reserve Chardonnay, Inspector Péringuey Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, The Real McCoy Riesling, Cabernet Sauvignon, The Prospector Syrah, CWG Auction Reserve Sophia (Red Blend)

Kanonkop Wine Estate – Simonsberg-Stellenbosch

SA TOP 10: Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinotage, Paul Sauer (Red Blend)

Klein Constantia – Cape Peninsula

SA TOP 10: Vin de Constance Natural Sweet
ALSO CLASSIFIED: Perdeblokke Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, KC Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot, Estate Red (Blend), Brut Cap Classique Sparkling

Kleine Zalze – Stellenbosch

SA TOP 10: Cellar Selection Bush Vines Chenin Blanc, Vineyard Selection Chenin Blanc, Family Reserve Sur Lie Sauvignon Blanc, Family Reserve Shiraz
SA TOP 20: Family Reserve Old Bush Vine Chenin Blanc, Family Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
ALSO CLASSIFIED: Vineyard Selection Chardonnay, Cellar Selection Sauvignon Blanc, Vineyard Selection Cabernet Sauvignon, Vineyard Selection Shiraz, Vineyard Selection Shiraz Mourvèdre Viognier, Chardonnay Pinot Noir Vintage Brut (Sparkling Cap Classique)

La Motte – Franschhoek

SA TOP 10: Pierneef Collection Syrah Viognier (Red Blend)
ALSO CLASSIFIED: Chardonnay, Pierneef Collection Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Millennium (Red Blend)

Nederburg – Paarl

SA TOP 10: Private Bin D234 Sauvignon Blanc, Ingenuity (White Blend), Private Bin R163 Cabernet Sauvignon, Private Bin Edelkeur Noble Late Harvest, Private Bin Eminence Noble Late Harvest, Winemasters Noble Late Harvest
SA TOP 20: II Centuries Cabernet Sauvignon, Private Bin R181 Merlot
ALSO CLASSIFIED: Private Bin D270 Chardonnay, The Anchorman Chenin Blanc, Winemasters Chenin Blanc, The Young Airhawk Sauvignon Blanc, Winemasters Riesling, Private Bin D252 Sauvignon Blanc Semillon, Manor House Cabernet Sauvignon, Manor House Shiraz, Private Bin R121 Shiraz, Ingenuity Italian Blend (Red), The Brewmaster (Red Blend), The Motorcycle Marvel (Red Blend), Winemasters Special Late Harvest

Paul Cluver Wines – Elgin

SA TOP 10: Estate Chardonnay, Seven Flags Pinot Noir, Riesling Noble Late Harvest
SA TOP 20: Sauvignon Blanc, Estate Pinot Noir
ALSO CLASSIFIED: Gewürztraminer, Dry Encounter Riesling, Marks & Spencer Riesling Noble Late Harvest

Rustenberg Wines – Simonsberg, Stellenbosch

SA TOP 10: Five Soldiers Chardonnay, Peter Barlow Cabernet Sauvignon, Buzzard Kloof Syrah
SA TOP 20: Stellenbosch Chardonnay, Straw Wine
ALSO CLASSIFIED: Stellenbosch Syrah, John X Merriman (Red Blend)

Saronsberg – Tulbagh

SA TOP 10: Syrah, Full Circle (Red Blend)
SA TOP 20: Brut (Sparkling Cap Classique), Provenance Syrah
ALSO CLASSIFIED: Viognier, Provenence Seismic Rooi, Seismic

Simonsig Wine Estate – Koelenhof, Stellenbosch

SA TOP 10: Redhill Pinotage, Merindol Syrah, Cuvée Royale Blanc de Blancs (Sparkling Cap Classique), Kaapse Vonkel Brut (Sparkling Cap Classique)
SA TOP 20: Chenin Avec Chêne
ALSO CLASSIFIED: Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Frans Malan (Red Blend), Tiara (Red Blend), Brut (Sparkling Cap Classique)

Tokara – Simonsberg-Stellenbosch

SA TOP 10: Reserve Collection Stellenbosch Chardonnay, Reserve Collection Elgin Sauvignon Blanc, Director’s Reserve (White Blend), Director’s Reserve (Red Blend)
SA TOP 20: Reserve Collection Sauvignon Blanc Noble Late Harvest
ALSO CLASSIFIED: Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Reserve Collection Walker Bay Sauvignon Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon

Vergelegen – Somerset West

SA TOP 10: G.V.B (White Blend)
SA TOP 20: V Cabernet Sauvignon
ALSO CLASSIFIED: Reserve Chardonnay, Schaapenberg Reserve Sauvignon Blanc, Reserve Semillon, Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, G.V.B (Red Blend)


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