South Africa’s 20 most successful wines on the world stage in 2017

Bellingham The Bernard Series Small Barrel SMV 2014

5 Stars and 97/100 in Platter’s, double gold at Veritas, gold at Decanter Awards, winner in Shiraz SA Challenge
R275pb, DGB, Franschhoek Cellar
Blend of Shiraz (87%), Mourvèdre (10%) and Viognier, (3%), WO Agter-Paarl
Barrel-fermented and matured in French oak barrels for 14 months
Alc 14 % | RS 4.5 g/l | pH 3.5 | TA 5.6 g/l
WINEMAKER’S TASTING NOTES: Deep ruby, bright crimson rim… Berry and cherry aromas layered with dark chocolate, winter spice, rose and violet… Intensely fruited palate that is both powerful and graceful… Long, smooth, succulent finish…

Bouchard Finlayson Galpin Peak Pinot Noir 2015

Trophy at International Wine Challenge, 5 Stars in Platter’s, double gold at Veritas
R329pb, WO Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, Walker Bay
Matured in French oak barrels
Alc 14.3 % | RS 6.1 g/l | pH 1.5  | TA 3.48 g/l
WINEMAKER’S TASTING NOTES: Black-red. Explosive nose of red fruits and infused cherry. The palate projects cranberry and plum with smoky strawberry high tones. Good grip, velvety mouthfeel and considerable ageing potential.

Cederberg Shiraz 2015

5 Stars and 98/100 in Platter’s, winner at Shiraz SA Challenge, gold at Decanter Awards
R205pb, Cederberg Private Cellar
WO Cederberg, from vines 14 to 18 years old
15 months in oak barrels, 60% first-fill, 95% French
Alc 14.5 % | RS 5.6 g/l | pH 3.8 | TA 3.61 g/l
WINEMAKER’S TASTING NOTES: Complex… Intense red fruit, mulberry and cherries on the nose… Hints of sweet spice and vanilla. Red berries follow through on the palate… Finishes with smooth lingering sensation.

DeMorgenzon Reserve Chardonnay 2016

Top-scoring white at Trophy Wine Show, trophy at International Wine Challenge, 5 Stars in Platter’s
R350pb, WO Stellenbosch Kloof
Barrel-fermented and -matured in French oak (35% new) for 12 months
Alc 13.87 % | RS 2.5 g/l | pH 3.33 | TA 5.9 g/l
WINEMAKER’S TASTING NOTES: Golden, with green hues… Toasted brioche and zesty marmalade… Backbone of lime and lemongrass, with floral notes of honeysuckle and frangipani on the palate… Warm, rich vanilla and a creamy almond finish.

DeMorgenzon Reserve Chenin Blanc 2016

Trophy at International Wine Challenge, trophy at Chenin Blanc Top 10 Challenge, Highly Recommended in Platter’s
R350, WO Stellenbosch Kloof, from 45-year-old vines
Fermented using indigenous yeast and matured in French oak barrels (25% new) for 11 months
Alc 14.14 % | RS 3.9 g/l | pH 3.31 | TA 5.8 g/l
WINEMAKER’S TASTING NOTES: Aromas of white flower, stone fruit, honey and toast, which erupt into opulent flavours of pear, orange blossom, caramel and spice. A brilliant balance between lush fruit and crisp, mouth-watering acidity.

Kanonkop Black Label Pinotage 2013

Best Pinotage at International Wine & Spirit Competition, IWSC Winemaker of the Year
R1750pb, WO Stellenbosch (Simonsberg), from 60-year-old unirrigated bush vines
Fermented in open concrete tanks, matured in French oak barrels (100% new) for 18 months
Alc 14.5 % | RS 2.4 g/l | pH 3.7 | TA 5.8 g/l
WINEMAKER’S TASTING NOTES: Pronounced fruit but leaning more toward a Pinot Noir style. Big, structured wine with velvety tannins… Mouth-filling… On the aftertaste, different flavours open up and keep you guessing… 20 to 25 years’ ageing potential.

Klein Constantia Vin de Constance Natural Sweet 2013

5 Stars and 99/100 in Platter’s, platinum at Decanter Awards
R895pb (500ml), WO Constantia, Cape Town
Muscat de Frontignan
Aged in French oak (60%), Hungarian oak and French Acacia for 36 months
Alc 13.7 % | RS 172 g/l | pH 3.7 | TA 6.6 g/l
WINEMAKER’S TASTING NOTES: Bright gold, with aromas of citrus marmalade and frangi pani… The palate is full-bodied and complex… Long, spicy, grippy finish.

Lisha Nelson Cabernet Franc 2014

Top score at Michelangelo, double gold at Veritas, gold at Cab Franc Challenge, winner at Terroir Awards
R400, Nelson Estate, Paarl
85% Cabernet Franc, 5% Petit Verdot, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Merlot
Aged in French oak barrels (100% new) for 20 months
Alc 13.5 % | RS 4.2 g/l | pH 3.42 | TA 6.1 g/l
WINEMAKER’S TASTING NOTES: Complex aromas of blueberries, blackberries and mocha… A massively-structured, complex wine with intense flavours of all-spice and liquorice that linger on the finish.

Nederburg Two Centuries Cabernet Sauvignon

5 Stars and 99/100 in Platter’s for 2014 vintage, trophy at IWSC and gold at Veritas for 2013 vintage
R385pb, WO Paarl, unirrigated vines
2014 matured in new French oak barrels for 22 months
2014 vintage: Alc 14.91 % | RS 2.29 g/l | pH 3.59 | TA 6.08 g/l
WINEMAKER’S TASTING NOTES FOR 2014 VINTAGE: Ruby Red. Signature notes of dark fruit, tobacco leaf and cigar box nuances… Rich, ripe, dark-berried fruits dominate the palate and harmonise with the oak to produce a generous, mouth-filling profusion of flavours tempered by firm tannins.

Paul Cluver Seven Flags Chardonnay 2016

Platinum at Decanter Awards, gold at Six Nations Challenge, winner at National Wine Challenge
R550pb, WO Elgin, from vines one to 30 years old
Wild-fermented in selection of French oak barrels (28% new) for nine months
Alc 13.6 % | RS 2.1 g/l | pH 3.25 | TA 6.8 g/l
WINEMAKER’S TASTING NOTES: Hints of buttered toast/brioche with some citrus on the nose… Tangerine fruit and citrus blossom fragrances are apparent, with hints of vanilla pod and ruby grapefruit at the end – characteristics that follow through onto the palate… Fine, fresh acidity adds poise and focus.

Paul Cluver Seven Flags Pinot Noir 2015

Judged Best SA Red at International Wine Challenge, gold at Trophy Wine Show, winner at National Wine Challenge, listed in Sommeliers Selection, 92/100 on Winemag.co.za
R550pb, WO Elgin, vines 13 to 25 years old
Aged in French oak barrels (20% new) for 11 months
Alc 13.6 % | RS 2.2 g/l | pH 3.48 | TA 5.7 g/l
WINEMAKER’S TASTING NOTES: Purity of fruit and balanced acidity give structure… The colour is luminous… The aroma has elegant red and dark fruit expression ending with lovely floral notes – the flavours following through onto the palate, with some savoury notes… Length and complexity with freshness…

Rustenberg Red Muscadel 2015

Platinum at Decanter Awards, gold at International Wine & Spirit Competition, winner at National Wine Challenge
Fortified Muscat, WO Western Cape
R80pb (375ml), Stellenbosch
Matured in old French oak barrels for three months
Alc 16 % | RS 213 g/l | pH 3.52 | TA 4.3 g/l
WINEMAKER’S TASTING NOTES: Upfront scents of Turkish delight, musk, spice and ripe red fruits follow through to a lush, opulent palate balancing the wine’s fruit, sweetness and acidity.

Saronsberg Full Circle 2015

Platinum at Decanter Awards, one of  top ratings at Drinks Business Syrah Masters, double gold at Veritas, gold at International Wine Challenge, gold at International Wine & Spirit Competition, gold at Mondial, one of winning blends at Shiraz SA Challenge
R380pb, WO Tulbagh, vines 11 years old on average
Blend of Shiraz (82%), Grenache Noir (9%), Mourvèdre (7%), Viognier (2%)
Open fermenters; total of 19 months in French oak barrels
Alc 14.41 % | RS 4.6 g/l | pH 3.44 | TA 6.0 g/l
WINEMAKER’S TASTING NOTES: Deep, dark purple colour with prominent ripe plum, red berry flavours combined with floral notes and undertones of spice. Full, firm yet accessible tannins. A wine of depth, complexity and grace.

Saronsberg Shiraz 2015

Trophy at International Wine Challenge, one of top wines at Drinks Business Syrah Masters, winner at Shiraz SA Challenge, double gold at Michelangelo
R200pb, WO Tulbagh, vines 10 years old on average
Open and closed fermenters; total of 20 months in French oak barrels (85% new)
Alc 14.66 % | RS 4.2 g/l | pH 3.49 | TA 5.8 g/l
WINEMAKER’S TASTING NOTES: Deep, dark purple colour with succulent ripe fruit flavours… Floral notes with scents of violets and spice… Depth and clarity of fruit with integrated oak flavours… Layered fruit-infused finish.

Simonsig Cuvée Royale Blanc de Blancs 2012

Winner of Cap Classique Challenge, double gold at Six Nations Challenge, double gold at Veritas, gold at Mondial
Sparkling Cap Classique (bottle-fermented) from Chardonnay
R300pb, WO Stellenbosch
Alc 12.1 % | RS 2.8 g/l | pH 3.1 | TA 7.4 g/l
WINEMAKER’S TASTING NOTES: Light straw colour with delicate mousse. Notes of fresh granny smith apples and citrus blossoms that follow through onto the palate. Refreshing elegance.

Spier 21 Gables Chenin Blanc

Trophy at Chenin Blanc Top 10 Challenge and double gold at Veritas for 2016 vintage; top score at Veritas and listing in Sommeliers Selection for 2015 vintage
R185pb, Stellenbosch
WO Tygerberg; unirrigated vines 43 years old on average
Barrel-fermented; 2015 aged in French oak barrels (60% new) for 14 months
2015 vintage: Alc 14.39 % | RS 4.53 g/l | pH 3.33 | TA 6.17 g/l
WINEMAKER’S TASTING NOTES FOR 2015 VINTAGE: Buttery gold. Aromas of dried apricots and ripe topical fruit, with oak and vanilla undertow… Richness of flavour and good acidity; white flesh peaches, almond paste and creamy notes.

Stellenrust Barrel Fermented Chenin Blanc

Trophy at Chenin Blanc Top 10 Challenge, 5 Stars in Platter’s, double gold at Michelangelo and trophy at IWSC for 2016 vintage; trophies at Six Nations Challenge and Chenin Blanc Top 10 Challenge for 2015 vintage
R163pb, WO Stellenbosch (Bottelary)
From 52-year-old bush vines (2016 vintage)
2016 aged for nine months in oak barrels (90% French, 10% Hungarian)
2016 vintage: Alc 13.6 % | RS 3.8 g/l | pH 3.25 | TA 7.2 g/l
WINEMAKER’S TASTING NOTES: Not supplied – the cellarmaster will happily provide details of how the wine was made but chooses to leave the description of the experience to the critics and consumers.

The Foundry Grenache Blanc 2015

5 Stars and 99/100 in Platter’s, gold at Six Nations Challenge
R190pb, Stellenbosch
WO Paarl (Voor Paardeberg)
Barrel-fermented (without innoculation) in French oak barrels and barrel-aged for seven months
Alc 13.5 % | RS 5.1 g/l | pH 3.32 | TA 6.3 g/l
WINEMAKER’S TASTING NOTES: Floral aromas with hints of lemon cream and white stone fruit… Minerally mid-palate with characteristic rich, fleshy mouthfeel and texture… Long finish with a citrus tang.

Uva Mira O.T.V. Cabernet Franc Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

Trophy at Six Nations Challenge, gold at Decanter Awards
R750pb, WO Stellenbosch (Helderberg)
60% Cab Franc, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon; aged for 18 months in French oak barrels (100% new)
Alc 14.5 % | RS 3.0 g/l | pH 3.45 | TA 6.2 g/l
WINEMAKER’S TASTING NOTES: Crimson red. Complex nose: cassis, fresh tobacco leaf… Purple flowers… On the palate: fresh acidity, velvety tannins and a creamy texture… Finesse… Elegance… Potential to evolve gracefully.

Uva Mira The Dance Cabernet Franc 2014

Platinum at Decanter Awards, double gold at Six Nations Challenge
R495pb, WO Stellenbosch (Helderberg)
Aged for 19 months in oak barrels (70% new)
Alc 14 % | RS 2.6 g/l | pH 3.4 | TA 6.1 g/l
WINEMAKER’S TASTING NOTES: Violet red. Savoury bouquet, perfumed with fragrant black cherry and nuances of earthiness, light spice and sherbet. Upfront flavours of black cherry and herbaceous notes with silky tannins. Refreshing…

 

• For info about the judging panels, see here, and for all of the top SA wine ratings during the past year, see here.

 

 

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