Top 20 of South Africa’s most successful wines on world stage in 2016

For ALL of the top-rated, most highly awarded South African wines of the year according to the most authoritative panels of experts locally and internationally, see here. Showcased below are 20 of the Cape’s world-class wines that were particularly well received around the globe in 2016:

 

Bellingham The Bernard Series Old Vine Chenin Blanc 2015Bellingham The Bernard Series
Old Vine Chenin Blanc 2015

5 Stars in Platter’s SA Wine Guide, trophy at Chenin Blanc Top 10 Challenge, gold medal at Michelangelo International Wine & Spirits Awards
R160 pb was the price at the tasting room, Franschhoek Cellar
Grapes from Agter-Paarl, Durbanville and Bottelary in Stellenbosch – average age of 45 years
Extended lees contact, regular stirring; matured for 12 months in French oak barrels (50% new, 50% second-fill)
Alc 14% | RS 4.2 g/l | pH 3.54 | TA 6.2 g/l
WINEMAKER’S TASTING NOTES: luminescent gold; on the nose, fleshy peach, passion fruit, honey melon, papaya and pineapple aromas layered with whiffs of oatmeal and crushed wheat that follow through with lavish fruit flavours; powerful on the palate with discernible yet subtle spicy oak complexity; finish is fresh and intense with tremendous length

 

The Berrio Weather Girl 2015The Berrio Weather Girl 2015

Grand Prix Trophy won for the top score overall at the Michelangelo International Wine & Spirits Awards
R120 pb was the approximate retail price (Elim cellar closed to the public)
Grapes from 13-year-old vines at The Berrio farm in Elim: 60% Sauvignon Blanc, 40% Semillon
Wines blended after five months lees contact in tank with weekly battonage – vinification at Cederberg Private Cellar
Alc 13.3% | RS 3.6 g/l | pH 3.5 | TA 6.5 g/l
WINEMAKER’S TASTING NOTES: fresh herbs on the nose with hints of white pear, quince and lime; a crisp wine with a mineral aftertaste that lingers on the palate

 

Cederberg Shiraz 2014Cederberg Shiraz 2014

Platinum at Decanter World Wine Awards, platinum at Michelangelo International Wine & Spirits Awards, Top 12 spot at Shiraz SA Challenge, gold medal at Concours Mondial
R190 pb was the price at the cellar
Grapes from 15-year-old vines in the Cederberg
15 months in medium-toast 225-litre barrels, medium- and tight-grain oak, 60% first-fill 40% second-fill, 95% French and 5% American
Alc 14.47% | RS 3.8 g/l | pH 3.5 | TA 5.9 g/l
WINEMAKER’S TASTING NOTES: complex, filled with intense mulberry and cherries on the nose; elegant oaking with hints of sweet spice and vanilla; red berries follow through on the palate; finishes with a smooth, lingering sensation

 

Delaire Graff Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2013Delaire Graff Cabernet Sauvignon
Reserve 2013

Top-rated red at the SA Trophy Wine Show where Delaire Graff was honoured as the most successful producer overall on the basis of the number and calibre of awards won, top score in Winemag.co.za’s annual Cabernet Sauvignon Report, gold medal at Six Nations Wine Challenge in Sydney, Australia
R500 pb was the price at the cellar in Banghoek, Stellenbosch
Grapes from Delaire Graff mountain vineyards
Matured in new French oak barrels (80% new)
Alc 14.5% | RS 2.5 g/l | pH 3.58 | TA 5.5 g/l
WINEMAKER’S TASTING NOTES: velvet-textured, complex and powerful; cassis, dark fruit and spicy flavours dominate in a layered and lingering delivery

 

DeMorgenzon Reserve
Chardonnay 2015

5 Stars in Platter’s SA Wine Guide, trophy at Decanter Awards (UK), trophy at International Wine Challenge (UK), top score in Winemag.co.za’s Chardonnay Report
R350 pb was the price at the cellar in Stellenbosch Kloof
Fermentation in French oak barrels of which 40% were new; 11 months ageing on the lees; unfiltered
Alc 14.1% | RS 3.5 g/l | pH 3.28 | TA 6.3 g/l
WINEMAKER’S TASTING NOTES: golden; on the nose, toasted brioche with zesty marmalade; on the palate, lime and lemongrass with floral notes of honeysuckle and frangipani; rich vanilla and creamy almond finish

 

DeMorgenzon Reserve
Chenin Blanc 2015

Trophy at International Wine & Spirit Competition (UK), trophy at International Wine Challenge (UK), trophy at Chenin Blanc Top 10 Challenge, gold medal at Decanter World Wine Awards Awards (UK)
R350 pb was the price at the cellar in Stellenbosch Kloof
Grapes from 43-year-old vines
Fermented in French oak barrels (25% new); aged for 11 months on the lees
Alc 13.8% | RS 2.2 g/l | pH 3.39 | TA 6.4 g/l
WINEMAKER’S TASTING NOTES: aromas of white flower, stone fruit, honey and toast erupt into flavours of pear, orange blossom, caramel and spice; balance between lush fruit and crisp, mouth-watering acidity

 

Franschhoek Vineyards Semillon 2014Franschhoek Vineyards
Semillon 2014

Trophy at International Wine Challenge in the UK, best in class at SA Trophy Wine Show
R83 pb was the price at Franschhoek Cellar
Grapes from 75-year-old bush vines and 15-year-old trellised vines – the former being one of the very oldest blocks in the Cape
Nine months maturation on the lees with regular stirring
Alc 13.5% | RS 4.0 g/l | pH 3.5 | TA 5.8 g/l
WINEMAKER’S TASTING NOTES: pale gold, with expressive peach, lemon cream and orange blossom that follow to a luscious core of ripe tropical and tangy citrus fruit entwined with vanilla spice; graceful in freshness and length

 

Gabrielskloof The Blend 2013 (Bordeaux-Style Red)Gabriëlskloof The Blend 2013

Best in Class at South Africa’s Trophy Wine Show, double gold medal at the Six Nations Wine Challenge in Sydney, Australia
R85 pb was the price at the cellar in Bot River
A five-way Bordeaux-style blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (44%), Cabernet Franc (38%), Petit Verdot (11%), Malbec (5%) and Merlot (2%)
12 months maturation in French oak barrels
Alc 14% | RS 3.0 g/l | pH 3.51 | TA 5.7 g/l
WINEMAKER’S TASTING NOTES: dense black/ruby epicentre with youthful, garnet rim; on the nose, blackberry flavours offer the promise of luscious fruit, followed by hints of paprika and tobacco, leather and caramel; mouthfeel is velvety, with a complex, rounded tannin grip – judicious use of oak

 

Groot Constantia Gouverneurs Reserve 2013Groot Constantia
Gouverneurs Reserve 2013

5 Stars in Platter’s SA Wine Guide, top score at Winemag.co.za’s Red Hot Wine Awards, double gold medal at Michelangelo International Wine & Spirits Awards
R327 pb was the price at the cellar
Bordeaux-style blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (32%), Merlot (31%), Cabernet Franc (28%) and Petit Verdot (9%)
Matured for 16 months in 225-litre French oak barrels (80% new, 11% second-fill, 9% third-fill)
Alc 14.4% | RS 2.6 g/l | pH 3.54 | TA 5.9 g/l
WINEMAKER’S TASTING NOTES: ripe black currant and black cherries dominate the nose, backed by cedar wood character from the barrel-ageing; palate ripe and powerful yet still elegant; firm tannin structure

 

Kleine Zalze Family Reserve Chenin Blanc 2015Kleine Zalze Family Reserve
Old Bush Vine Chenin Blanc 2015

5 Stars in Platter’s SA Wine Guide, trophy at Chenin Blanc Top 10 Challenge, gold medal at Six Nations Wine Challenge in Sydney, Australia
R160 pb was the price at the cellar in Stellenbosch
Grapes from three different wards and soils in Stellenbosch – old, unirrigated bush vines
Fermented in barrel (second-, third- and fourth-fill); eight months maturation in barrel; unfiltered
Alc 14% | RS 6.9 g/l | pH 3.33 | TA 6.9 g/l
WINEMAKER’S TASTING NOTES: concentrated aromas of pear, white peach and fynbos, with layers of citrus and honeysuckle on the palate; a creamy mouthfeel; long, fresh, earthy finish

 

Kleine Zalze Family Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2015Kleine Zalze Family Reserve
Sur Lie Sauvignon Blanc 2015

5 Stars in Platter’s SA Wine Guide, trophy at Sauvignon Blanc Top 10, double gold medal at Veritas Awards, gold medal at Concours Mondial (BE)
R160 pb was the price at the cellar in Stellenbosch
Grapes from near False Bay in Stellenbosch as well as from Durbanville and Darling
Very reductive style of winemaking; seven months on the lees
Alc 13.5% | RS 2.9 g/l | pH 3.49 | TA 7.1 g/l
WINEMAKER’S TASTING NOTES: complex, showing a lot of upfront litchies, gooseberries and white peaches with a herbaceous element; full-bodied and very rich with a good balance of flavours

 

KWV Cape Tawny NV (Port)KWV Cape Tawny NV

Best in Class at South Africa’s Trophy Wine Show, platinum at the Michelangelo International Wine & Spirits Awards, double gold medal at the Cape Port Challenge, gold medal at the Veritas Awards
R85 pb was the price at the cellar in Paarl
A blend of various grape varieties: Tinta Barocca, Cinsaut, Souzão, Touriga Naçional and Shiraz
Matured in French oak – eight to 10 years in 300- and 500-litre barrels
Cape Tawny Port must comprise at least 80% barrel-matured fortified wine, display a tawny colour and have a smooth, slightly nutty flavour profile
Alc 17.8% | RS 133.95 g/l | pH 3.58 | TA 5.75 g/l
WINEMAKER’S TASTING NOTES: amber colour with orange zest, dried fruit, caramel and nuttiness on the nose; explodes with fruit, marzipan and toffee on the palate with a well-balanced, sweet finish

 

L'Avenir Single Block Pinotage 2014L’Avenir Single Block
Pinotage 2014

Trophy at International Wine Challenge in the UK, trophy at Top 10 Pinotage Competition
R320 pb was the price at the cellar in Stellenbosch
Grapes from 1.2 hectare vineyard on L’Avenir estate in the foothills of the Simonsberg
Fermentation in both stainless-steel tanks and new oak barrels; 18 months maturation in first- and second-fill French oak barrels
Alc 14.5% | RS 3.4 g/l | pH 3.57 | TA 6.0 g/l
WINEMAKER’S TASTING NOTES: ripe black cherries, plums, spice and chocolate are prominent on the nose, mixed with floral notes and traces of tobacco; in the mouth, rich plummy fruit and complex oak flavours linger, ending with ample soft tannins

 

Nederburg Private Bin Eminence 2012Nederburg Private Bin Eminence
Noble Late Muscadel 2012

Trophy at International Wine Challenge in the UK, Best in Class at South African Trophy Wine Show, double gold medal at Veritas Awards, gold medal at Six Nations Wine Challenge, one of the Top 10 gold medallists at Muscats du Monde in France, gold medal at the International Wine & Spirit Competition in the UK, gold medal at Michelangelo International Wine & Spirits Awards
Sold at the Nederburg Auction in Paarl
Muscat de Frontignan grapes from 27-year-old vines on the Simondium Mountain in Paarl – fruit left to hang on the vines for much longer than usual in order to concentrate the sugars and rich flavours that characterise this style of wine
Alc 9.5% | RS 240.0 g/l | pH 3.4 | TA 9.56 g/l
WINEMAKER’S TASTING NOTES: aromas of flowers, currants, raisins, citrus and spice; on the palate, luxurious, complex, decadently sweet

 

Nederburg Private Bin R163
Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

5 Stars in Platter’s 2017 South African Wine Guide, trophy at International Wine & Spirit Competition in the UK, gold medal at Michelangelo International Wine & Spirits Awards
Yet to go on sale at the Nederburg Auction in Paarl – Paarl fruit
IWSC JUDGES’ TASTING NOTES: opaque with ruby red, bright rim; aromas of blackcurrant and red cherries with subtle nuances of dark chocolate and mocha; in the mouth, an abundance of berry fruit flavours on a fine oak backing – smooth and generous with sweet spice and supple tannins; great complexity and harmony

 

Saronsberg Full Circle 2014

Trophy for Best South African Red at the International Wine Challenge in the UK, double gold medal at the Six Nations Wine Challenge in Sydney, Australia, gold medal at the Decanter World Wine Awards in the UK
R360 pb was what it sold for at the cellar in Tulbagh
A blend of Shiraz (89%), Grenache (7%), Mourvèdre (3%) and Viognier (1%), with the average age of the vines around nine years
Grapes bunch-sorted in the vineyards and berry-sorted on vibration tables
Fermentation in open tanks and wine left on the lees for 11 months; malolactic fermentation completed in barrel
Barrel-matured for 20 months (French oak)
Alc 14.37% | RS 3.6 g/l | pH 3.44 | TA 6.3 g/l
WINEMAKER’S TASTING NOTES: a deep, dark purple colour with prominent ripe plum, red berry and floral flavours and undertones of spice; the oak well balanced with full, firm yet accessible tannins

 

Stellenrust Barrel Fermented Chenin Blanc 2015Stellenrust Barrel Fermented
Chenin Blanc 2015

5 Stars and White Wine of the Year award in Platter’s SA Wine Guide, trophy at Michelangelo International Wine & Spirits Awards
R140 pb was the price at the cellar in Stellenbosch
Botrytis-infected grapes from 51-year-old bush vines in Bottelary, Stellenbosch
Nine months’ fermentation/time on the lees in barrels (90% French oak, 10% Hungarian oak)
Alc 13.4% | RS 3.9 g/l | pH 3.31 | TA 7.3 g/l
WINEMAKER’S TASTING NOTES: this Chenin will compliment an array of dishes, from orange-infused duck confit to lemon-infused Norwegian salmon on a bed of creamed spinach and potato purée

 

Tokara Director’s Reserve 2014

Top-scoring white at SA Trophy Wine Show, top score at Winemag.co.za’s White Hot Wine Awards, double gold medal at Six Nations Wine Challenge in Sydney, Australia
R240 pb was the price at the cellar on the Simonsberg in Stellenbosch
A blend of Sauvignon Blanc (69%) and Semillon (31%)
Wines fermented in French oak barrels (around 28% new) and left on the lees for nine months (with regular stirring) before blending
Alc 14.0% | RS 2.7 g/l | pH 3.29 | TA 6.5 g/l
WINEMAKER’S TASTING NOTES: golden hue; complex nose with notes of ripe quince and baked apples, hints of marzipan and toasted brioche as well as an underlying herbal note of nettles; a rich creaminess on the mid-palate leading to a long finish

 

Uva Mira The Single Tree Chardonnay 2014Uva Mira The Single Tree
Chardonnay 2014

Master Award at Drinks Business Masters (UK), gold medal at Decanter World Wine Awards (UK), gold medal at Chardonnay du Monde (FR)
R450 pb was what it sold for at the cellar in Stellenbosch
Single-vineyard wine named after the stately tree in the centre of the block high up on the Helderberg
Nine months maturation in French oak barrels (70% new)
Alc 13.5% | RS 3.1 g/l | pH 3.25 | TA 7.8 g/l
WINEMAKER’S TASTING NOTES: colour of straw; on the nose, yellow stone fruit and lime with subtle hints of honeycomb nougat complemented by delicate chestnut and a stone-like minerality; complex mid-palate structure with layers of concentrated fruit, creamy texture and lingering acidity

 

Zonnebloem Shiraz Mourvedre Viognier 2014Zonnebloem Shiraz Mourvèdre Viognier 2014

Best in Class at the SA Trophy Wine Show, double gold medal at the Michelangelo International Wine & Spirits Awards, 90/100 on Winemag.co.za, gold medal at the Veritas Awards
R76 pb was the approximate retail price of this wine from Distell, Stellenbosch
A blend of Shiraz (87%), Mourvèdre (12%) and Viognier (1%)
Grapes from trellised vineyards in Stellenbosch Kloof, Helderberg and Devon Valley
12 months in wood, mostly first- and second-fill American, French and Hungarian oak barrels
Alc 13.52% | RS 2.92 g/l | pH 3.57 | TA 5.44g/l
WINEMAKER’S TASTING NOTES: dark purple red; bouquet of ripe plums, savoury notes and oak spice; on the palate a complex mix of plum flavours and savoury notes, intense spice with traces of nutmeg and oak, supported by firm tannins

 

 

Leave a Reply