Monday, May 13, 2013

Platter’s South African Wine Guide 2013

Picture: Christian G.E.Schiller and Anthony Hamilton Russell. Hamilton Russell Vineyards is a producer of outstanding Pinot Noir and Chardoannay wines in the Hemel en Aarde (Heaven and Earth) valley, just behind the seaside resort of Hermanus in Walker Bay. The 2011 Chardonnay is on of this year's 5 star wines.

For more see:
Burgundy Wines in South Africa: Hamilton Russell Vineyards

South Africa is a New World wine country, with a long wine history. With about 100.000 hectares of land under vine, it accounts for 1.5% of the world's grape vineyards. Yearly production is around 10 million hectoliters, which puts the country among the top ten wine producing countries in the world.

The undisputed authority in terms of South African wine is the Platter's South African Wine Guide. The 2013 edition including ratings of more than 800 producers and brands and 7000 locally grown wines was just released.

For Platters of previous years, see:
South Africa’s Top Wines - Platter´s South Africa Wine Guide 2012
Platter´s South Africa Wine Guide 2011

Modern South Africa

I have traveled in South Africa many times in the past 3 decades, in particular during the period 1989 to 1992, when I used to live in Madagascar. When traveling in South Africa today, it quickly becomes evident that apartheid is resting in the dustbin of history. South Africa’s current President is the Zulu Jakob Zuma, who is mired in personal and political controversy. The Txosa Nelson Mandela, who had spent more than 25 years in prison during apartheid, was President in the 1990s and is now a revered elder called "Madiba" ("Papa"). South Africa successfully hosted the Soccer World Cup. The Soccer World Cup was hoped to provide a boost to the tourism industry; but indications are that the expected boost did not materialize, at least not fully. The gap between the haves and have-nots continues to be wide, but is narrowing and a black middle class is emerging. This, however, is not so much evident in the wine region, which continues to be dominated by the whites. 99% of the vineyard area is in the hands of whites. The AIDS pandemic is taking a toll with the HIV infection rate at about 10 percent, though declining.

Over the course of the years, I have detected an increasing openness, pride and camaraderie among all the South Africans – white, colored or black, Boers or Brits; Indians, Jews, Zulus, Txosas or Vendas, I met. Nevertheless, this rainbow society with a share of 75% of blacks, has huge challenges to cope with.

South African Wine Industry

Unlike other New World wine regions, the South African wine industry is strongly influenced by several large wine-cooperatives, including Distel and KWV; in total, there about 60 co-operatives. In addition, there are about 25 trading companies, or negociants, which often operate wineries, but seldom own their own vineyards. Among these are SAVISA, Winecorp, Stellenbosch Vineyards and Graham Beck; Western Wines is among the trading companies that are foreign based and owned; their brand Kumala is by far South Africa’s biggest brand. Over 80% of the total crop is delivered to these large wineries by about 4000 wine growers. However, private wineries have increasingly emerged and seen an impressive growth; there are now about 600 winemakers with their own cellars, most of them in the premium wine segment.

More than half of the total production is exported. The previous Cape powers, the UK and Netherlands, are traditionally the main destinations for wines shipments; but other markets are coming up, including Sweden, Denmark, the USA, Germany and Angola.

The wine industry is firmly in the hands of the whites, both white South Africans and foreign investors. But I had the pleasure to meet Ntsiki Biyela, a female black winemaker, who is producing outstanding wines at Stellekaya in Stellenbosch. Also, the Diemersfontein wine portfolio included a line of wines that was produced in the framework of the Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) program (to promote the black community's involvement in the South African wine industry-including ownership opportunities for vineyards and wineries).

Major Achievers in Platter’s 2013

Winery of the Year

Cape Chamonix Wine Farm

Superquaffer of the Year

Muratie Melck’s Shiraz-Cabernet Sauvignon 2011

White Wine of the Year (Unfortified Dessert Wine)

Paul Cluver Noble Late Harvest 2011 (described as “a thing of beauty”)

Red Wine of the Year

Mullineux Family Syrah 2010 (described in the guide as “an icon in the making”)

The Platter 5 Star Wines

This year’s Platter´s South Africa Wine Guide includes 62 five star wines – the crème de la crème of South Africa. Twelve wineries received Platter’s five stars for the first time, namely AA Badenhorst, Alheit, Bon Courage, Cederburg, Dalla Cia, David, Fryer’s Cove, Keets, Mvemve Raats, Ntida, Saronsberg and Con Orloff.

The Five Star wines for 2013 are:



Boschendal Reserve 2011
Chamonix Reserve 2011
Hamilton Russell Vineyards 2011
Jordan CWG Auction Reserve 2011
Jordan Nine Yards 2011

Chenin Blanc

Alheit Cartology 2011
Beaumont Hope Marguerite 2011
Botanica 2011
DeMorgenzon Reserve 2010
Jean Daneel Signature 2011
KWV Cathedral Cellar 2011
Sadie Family Skurfberg 2011
Spice Route 2011

Sauvignon Blanc

Fryer’s Cove 2011
Graham Beck Pheasant’s Run 2012
Tokara Walker Bay 2012

White Blends

AA Badenhorst Family 2010
Cape Chamonix Reserve 2011
Cape Point CWG Auction Reserve 2011
David Aristargos 2011Fairview Nurok 2011
Flagstone Treaty Tree Reserve 2010
Miles Mossop Saskia 2011
Nederburg Ingenuity 2011
Nederberg Sauvignon Blanc Semillon Private Bin D252 2012
Nitida Coronata Integration 2011
Rall 2011
Tokara Director’s Reserve 2011


Cabernet Franc

Raka 2009
Von Ortloff Quintessence 2008
Warwick 2009
Cabernet Sauvignon
Delaire Graff Laurence Graff Reserve 2009


Cape Chamonix Greywacke 2010
Kanonkop 2010

Pinot Noir

Chamonix Reserve 2011
Newton Johnson Family Vineyards 2011


Boschendal Cecil John Reserve 2010
Cederberg CWG Auction Reserve Teen die Hoog 2010
Delheim Vera Cruz 2009
Fable Bobbejaan 2010
Fairview Jakkalsfontein 2009
Mullineux Family Schist 2010

Raka Biography 2010
Saronsberg 2010
Simonsig Merindol Syrah 2010

Red Blends

Columella 2010

Dalla Cia Giorgio 2007
Fleur du Cap Lazlo 2008
Keets First Verse 2010
Ken Forrester The Gypsy 2009
La Motte Pierneef Shiraz Viognier 2010
MR De Compostella 2009
Nico van der Merwe Mas Nicolas Cape 2007

Méthode Cap Classiques

Bon Courage Jacques Bruére Brut Reserve 2008
Villiera Monro Brut 2007

Dessert Wines

Dessert Wine Unfortified

Fairview La Beryl Blanc 2011
Fleur du Cap Noble Late Harvest 2011
Mullineux Family Straw Wine 2011
Nederburg Winemaster’s Reserve Noble Late Harvest 2011
Paul Cluver Noble Late Harvest 2011

Fortified Wine

De Krans The Last Cape Vintage Reserve Port 2010

schiller-wine - Related Postings

In the Plane: Wine on South African Airways from Johannesburg to Livingstone in Zambia (Victoria Falls)

New World Wine Producer South Africa

Boekenhoutskloof – Producer of Sensational Premium Wines as well as Good Value Table Wines in Franschhoek

Lunch with Raphael Dornier in Stellenbosch

Burgundy Wines in South Africa: Hamilton Russell Vineyards

Devon Rocks - A Boutique Producer of Pinotage in South Africa

Wining, Dining and Relaxing with the Chocolate/Coffee Pinotage at Diemersfontein Wine and Country Estate in Wellington, South Africa

In the Glass: A Rust en Vrede 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon With South African Oysters in Stellenbosch

Marianne Wine Estate: South African Wine with a French Soul

Meeting Ntsiki Biyela at Stellekaya in Stellenbosch – South Africa’s Only Female and Black Winemaker with International Recognition

Wine, Art and Food: Donald Hess’ Glen Carlou Estate in South Africa

Riesling in South Africa

1 comment:

  1. I think Ms. Patricia de Lille - Mayoress of Cape Town might take offence to being called "white"; while Statistics South Africa released the latest HIV infection statistics as per the last census at 10%. Erroneously hyperbolic & particularly bleak stuff.