Five newcomers among Top 10 wines in 2017 Chenin Blanc Challenge

IT WAS NO surprise to see DeMorgenzon, Spier and Stellenrust among the Top 10 in the Standard Bank Chenin Blanc Challenge 2017. All Classified wines, with Stellenrust also in the Top Wine SA Hall of Fame, and all three-time winners of the SA Chenin producer association’s Top 10 award. The only cellar to place among the laureates in all four

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Riesling remains one of South Africa’s most under-valued varieties

THERE ARE THOSE of us who love the good Rieslings made in South Africa, but we’re in the minority – or at least that’s how it feels, given how few of the country’s cellars include this variety in their range, given how few SA wine-lovers feel comfortable about occasionally buying it instead of the Chardonnay, Sauvignon, Chenin or white blends that

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And to think that I used to shy away from pink – unless it was sparkling

THERE WERE 161 entries in the 2017 edition of Rosé Rocks – 128 still and 33 sparkling Cap Classique. According to the competition chairman, Cape Wine Master Allan Mullins: “The quality of rosé wine being produced in South Africa is on par with the best that Spain and France produce!” And we’ve seen some consistency from top producers of the drier styles

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Synonymous with Pinotage, Lanzerac’s Pionier among the best in 2017

THE STORY of how Pinotage came to be is well documented by the producers’ association, and there are eight names in the South African winelands associated with the establishment of the cultivar that remain classified as champions of the variety: KWV (of Paarl), DeWaal, Lanzerac, Kanonkop, Simonsig, Delheim and Spier (all of Stellenbosch), as well as Groot Constantia. Of these,

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One of the brightest stars, against the odds and just R95 per bottle

AT THE HEIGHT of summer the temperature on Dirk Malan’s farm outside the town of Keimoes approaches 50 degrees C – particularly in the ‘Berg Shiraz’ block that forms the basis of the Lyra Vega blend, a vineyard up against a klip koppie (hill of stone). It can be very dry too. Even with the help of irrigation, wine farming alongside

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Two trophies for Neil Ellis Pinotage at 21st edition of Absa Top 10

THE 2017 ABSA Top 10 Pinotage competition culminated with the presentation of trophies to winning wine producers at Cavalli estate outside Somerset West. The event commemorated 21 years of the Pinotage Association’s competition that contributes to setting benchmarks as regards South Africa’s most successful ‘indigenous’ variety. There were 147 entries and the laureates were applauded as fine ambassadors of Wine

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Northern Cape on the radar again after Winemag red blend report

THE 2017 Signature Red Blend Report on Winemag.co.za follows the assessment of 82 combos from 62 producers – Shiraz-led Rhöne style, Pinotage-driven Cape Blends and various other alternatives to the Bordeaux model typically moulded around Cabernet or Merlot, sometimes Cabernet Franc. By the end of the competition, the panel of judges – Winemag’s Christian Eedes (chair) with Wine Cellar’s Roland Peens and

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SA wine shows, festivals and tastings step up a gear in August

FOR MORE info about what’s going down at the Top SA wine events in August, to buy tickets, et al, simply click on the name of the event below. For updates regarding Wine SA happenings in August, see here. And for a heads-up when it comes to forthcoming attractions later in the year or what events are taking place in or around particular

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Sommeliers stir things up a bit with somewhat surprising winelist

IT’S A UNIQUE COMPETITION insofar as all of the judges are members of the South African Sommelier Association – although it’s owned and run by Darielle Robertson of DnA Events Management in Cape Town. It’s also unusual, insofar as the judging culminates in drawing up a Cape Winelist, with listings presented according to Wine by the Glass, Fresh & Crunchy, Elegant

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South Africa’s finest dessert wines among the best in the world

THERE WERE 214 still and sparkling wines from 25 countries entered in the 2017 edition of Muscats du Monde, the international competition held where Muscat de Frontignan is said to have originated in France… There were 55 critics involved and the judging took place over two days at the historical Voltaire House in Frontignan-la-Peyrade of the Languedoc-Roussillon region, culminating in

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Bargain Wine SA: good reviews and under R100 pb – Jan to July 2017

SA CHARDONNAY UNDER R100 Douglas Green Chardonnay 2016 – gold medal at Chardonnay du Monde, approx retail price of R55 pb KWV Cathedral Cellar Chardonnay 2016 – high silver at Decanter Awards and silver at International Wine Challenge, R90 pb ex-cellar in Paarl Simonsig Chardonnay 2015 – silver medal at Chardonnay du Monde and among Top 100 at National Wine Challenge, R90 pb

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Five standouts among premier Cap Classiques as of July 2017

THE ORGANISERS of the Decanter World Wine Awards in the UK describe their competition as the “most influential”. Ditto the International Wine Challenge, also of the UK, which goes further in claiming to be “the finest” and the “most meticulous”. But these are modest compared to The Champagne & Sparkling Wine World Championships: “The most respected, prestigious and rigorous… No

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Winemag Merlot Report showcases five ‘excellent’ expressions but…

THE 2017 Winemag Report on SA Merlot involved the assessment of 67 wines from 50 producers and culminated in five wines rated 90-plus (see below). Published in association with the industry’s producer body that goes by the name of the Merlot Forum, the full report posted on Winemag.co.za states that: “Local Merlot often makes for less ambitious and less expensive wines

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South Africa seventh-biggest wine producer in the world – 2017 stats

ACCORDING to statistics provided by the Paris-based International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV) in June 2017, the area under vine throughout the world was estimated at 7.5 million hectares in 2016, with total wine production estimated at 267 million hectolitres (9% less than in 2015). South Africa now ranks seventh among the biggest wine-producing countries in the world: 1 Italy (50.9

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Boplaas Tawny Non-Vintage takes the title at Cape Port Challenge

FOR THE report on the 2017 Challenge convened by the Cape Port Producers Association and the full results of the competition, see here. The panel of judges included Christine Rudman CWM (chair), Cathy van Zyl MW, Winnie Bowman CWM, Colin Frith (Hon CWM), Raymond Noppe CWM and sommelier Gregory Mutambe. TOP CAPE PORTS IN 2017 CHALLENGE Boplaas Cape Tawny NV –

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Thelema Rabelais top-scores in Winemag ‘Cape Bordeaux’ Blend Report

FOR THE third annual South African Bordeaux-Style Red Blend Report by Winemag.co.za, see here. There were 60 wines from 45 producers assessed by a panel comprising the website’s editor Christian Eedes (chair) with Roland Peens and James Pietersen of the Wine Cellar in Observatory, Cape Town. Twenty-five wines were rated 90-plus, with Thelema Rabelais 2013 emerging as the trio’s favourite

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‘Organic’ Landzicht Reserve Cab prevails in spite of the ‘desert’

ONE OF THE most talked-about South African reds following the announcement of the 2017 Trophy Wine Show results is Landzicht’s 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve. Judged top of its class ahead of many fancied Stellenbosch Cabs, it’s a wine from the Northern Cape, not that far from the Free State, over 900km from Cape Town… 955m above sea level in a

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Fairview, Rustenberg and Saronsberg dominate at Shiraz Challenge

THE CEDERBERG Private Cellar, KWV and Fairview of Paarl, Eagles’ Nest of Constantia and Saronsberg of Tulbagh have the best track records at the Shiraz SA Challenge since its inception in 2013. At the 2017 edition, all triumphed once again, with Rustenberg of Stellenbosch also sharing the limelight as one of three cellars to earn a couple of trophies on the day.

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Tokara, Leeuwenkuil and DeMorgenzon ‘top guns’ at Trophy Wine Show

THE 2017 Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show celebrates the achievements of producers from Constantia to the Northern Cape and properties that have been part of the Cape wine landscape for centuries as well as those where winemaking only began within the past 10 years. Winner of the trophy for Most Successful Producer: Tokara of Helshoogte, on the slopes of the

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PC and KC among Best Wines on Show at Decanter Awards, London

RECEIVING 17 200 entries for the 2017 edition, the World Wine Awards convened by Decanter magazine (UK) is the largest wine competition on the planet. Special kudos to Paul Cluver of Elgin and Klein Constantia as the only South African wineries to get through the final round of judging when, of the 209 platinum award winners, 34 were chosen as the

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