WorldWine Tasting Highlight


South Africa - Tim's list

the wines

Britain's Tim Atkin, one of the country's most outspoken wine journalists, has published a comprehensive report on South Africa's wines, some weeks ago. In this report he compiled a list of wineries which, in his opinion, are the country's best. Already, when I came across his piece for the first time, I was quite disappointed, because number of wineries which I - and many other experts - considered to be among the best, did not show up or received rather poor ratings. Among them were De Trafford, De Toren, Reynecke, Ernie Els, Scali, Glenelly, Sadie Family, Kleinood, Crystallum, Mullineux or Rickety B, out of which only Sadie and Mullineux had received a very favourable rating in Tim's list.

The Swartland - our photo shows the Porcellaseleinberg - performed very well in our tasting. (photo: E. Supp)

The list, on the other hand, featured some producer's names, whose wines I had not or only in small numbers tasted before. I therefore asked WOSA, the South African export organization, to send me some of these wines for a tasting, a request was immediately accepted. Among the 15 different wines which I gratefully received some weeks later, I found some marvellous whites, whereas the reds were quite a bit below my expectations. All in all, my feeling was confirmed that british tasters very often judge according to organoleptic preferences which seem very little compatible to what we like in Continental Europe. More important yet was the fact that this tasting did not deliver any substantial reason why I should have redesigned my own list of South Africa's best. Perhaps Rall could show up on this list, one day, and certainly Cape Point has made considerable progress since my last tastings. Whch, in the end, is quite a reassuring result, isn't it?

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***** Rall Wines - 1 aa, Swartland Syrah - Grenache 2011
***** Cape Point Vineyards - Fish Hoek, Cape Point Sauvignon blanc 2012
***** Rall Wines - 1 aa, Coastal Region White 2012
**** + Iona Wines - 7160 Grabouw, Elgin One Man Band 2008
**** + Lemberg Wine Estate - 6820 Tulbagh, Tulbagh Lady 2012
**** + Opstal Estate - Carl Everson - 6845 Rawsonville, Slanghoek Chenin blanc Opstal estate 2012
**** Arendsig Hand Crafted Wines - 6705 Robertson, Goudini Chenin blanc Inspirational Batch I 2012
**** Iona Wines - 7160 Grabouw, Elgin Chardonnay 2012
**** Savage Wines - Duncan Savage - 1 aa, Western Cape White 2012
**** Cape Point Vineyards - Fish Hoek, Cape Point Isleidh 2012
****Champagne Jacquart - 51057 Reims, Champagne Cuvée alpha Brut 2005
**** Lemberg Wine Estate - 6820 Tulbagh, Tulbagh Spencer 2011
*** + Savage Wines - Duncan Savage - 1 aa, Western Cape Red 2011
*** David Wines - David & Nadia Sadie - 1 aa, Swartland Aristargos 2012
*** David Wines - David & Nadia Sadie - 1 aa, Swartland Elpidios 2011


What you seem to have

What you seem to have forgotten is that this is one mans opinion!
As you know, wine is very subjective. I tend to disagree with what a lot of wine journos tasting notes, doesn't make them any less wrong or right, because it's their opinion.
You shouldn't chastise a person because their opinion, or palate, doesn't match your own.

Thanks for taking the trouble

Thanks for taking the trouble to taste many of the wines I like from South Africa. Glad you made some new discoveries. Just for the record, it is incorrect to say that "Reynecke (sic), Ernie Els, De Toren, Glenelly and Crystallum" didn't receive high scores or positive comments from me. I rated four of them as third growths and one (Ernie Els) as a fourth growth. I didn't taste the Scali's wines this time, but I usually like them. Your taste in reds appears to favour higher alcohol styles (De Trafford), which is your right. But I stick by my report, based on 20 years' experience of tasting Cape wines.

Hi, thanks for both your

Hi, thanks for both your extremely fast comments on my short review. Of course, Mike, I am aware of the fact that these reviews represent "one man's opinion", and I have a different one. My English might be poor but I cannot see how expressing my "disappointment" or stating that British tasters have different preferences means chastising a person.
As for your experience, Tim, I am very much aware of it and you know that I highly appreciate your work as a journalist. I could answer that my experience with South African wine is at least as long as yours - my first trip to the country goes back to 1978 - and that my rating is based on the tasting of several thousand wines, but the more interesting point is that your perspective is a different one.
You don't seem to like wines with higher alcohol levels, which might seem surprising as some of the highly rated names on your list feature 14 % and more ... not really low, isn't it. Well, for me the alcohol in itself is not a sufficient criteria. I go for balance, in all senses. And I know many outstanding wines with higher alcohol but with a perfect balance at the same time.

Sure. But there is high

Sure. But there is high alcohol and high alcohol. 15% is too high for me, hence my low scores for De Trafford. Feel free to publish your own list of the best wineries. I'm sure I'd disagree with some of them, but that's fine. As I said, I stand by what I wrote.

I'm not questioning your experience of tasting Cape wines, just pointing out that my conclusions are based on a lot of hard work. It also seems a bit silly to say that, just because you don't agree with some of my findings, that "british (sic) tasters very often judge according to organoleptic preferences which seem very little compatible to what we like in Continental Europe". I know plenty of people in Germany, Sweden, France, Spain and Italy who like more elegant, balanced wines.

By the way, I trust that you paid to download the report? That's partly how I make my living.

Well, as I said, alcool to me

Well, as I said, alcool to me is one parameter, and I do not have such a fix limit as you seem to have it (15 % too high). I pretend that there can be much "elegance" and "balance" even at 15 degrees and higher. And, of course, I do not question your hard work, I am just believing that your hard work is as little a real argument in this discussion as mine is or could have been. And, also by the way, your list is available for free under the link I have given. I hope that this publication did non happen without your consent. Anyway, just follow the link and you'll be able to finde the responsables.

Yes, the list is free. The

Yes, the list is free. The publication isn't. I'd be fascinated to read your list of the Cape's bet wines...

Oh, I had published it

Oh, I had published it several times on the social media, but here it comes again: Top level - De Toren, De Trafford, Ernie Els, Glenelly, Scali, Sadie family, Kleinood, Crystallum, Mullineux, Reynecke, Rickety Bridge Second level - Cederberg Private, Devon Crest, Dornier, Hermanuspieterfontein, Klein Constantia (with Anwilka) Longridge, Luddite, Meerlust, Mischa, Mont du Toit, Raka, Rust en Vrede, Saronsberg, Ses'fikile, Signature Brands, Tulbagh Mountain (to be confirmed under the new name), Dombeya, De Morgenzon, Oldenburg, Guardian Peak, Anthonij Rupert, Beaumont, Vrede en Lust, Boekenhoutskloof, Kaapzicht, Ken Forrester, Radford-Dale, Lammershoek, Muratie, Springfield, Stark-Condé, Kanonkop Newcomers with potential to join the top - Rall, My Wyn, Cirrus, Vuurberg ... and after having finished the tastings in Berlin, during the last weekend, I would add Keermont and Babylonstoren to the last group.

Hmm. Agree with some of

Hmm. Agree with some of those, but not most of your top ones. And there are lots of omissions. No Cape Point, Delaire Graff, Ataraxia, AA Badenhorst, Savage, Steenberg, Boekenhoutskloof, Newton Johnson, Paul Cluver, Tokara, Alheit, Eagle's Nest, Le Riche, Hamilton Russell. And you have included several wineries that are mediocre at best, at least in my view. I could go on, but let's leave it there.

You haven't answered my question about my report. Did you pay to download it? Whoever sent it to you did so without my permission.

PS You are still spelling Reyneke incorrectly, as you are Porseleinberg. And Tulbagh Mountain is now called Fable. Maybe you should visit the winelands more often...

You might have noticed that I

You might have noticed that I have been talking about your list, nothing else, and if you want to know if I have downloaded your entire report or not, just ask the NSA. They must know for sure. And thanks for your Korrektions.

Another 2 additions at the

Another 2 additions at the end of the tastings in Berlin: Fable seems to confirm the level of Tulbagh Mountains and is about to become no. 12 of my top level group, Hamilton Russel has gone up one level - it used to be there for quite a while, but some of the more recent results had been a bit disappointing - and completes the 32 second level wineries.

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