Platter 2017

It’s the chenin and chardonnay show! This pair has outshone all other varieties and blends in the five stars awarded in Platter’s 2017 South African Wine Guide, launched this evening at the Table Bay Hotel, Cape Town. Each achieved 17 five star wines, with a chenin awarded the ultimate prize – White Wine of the Year: take a bow, Tertius Boshoff and Stellenrust 51 Barrel Fermented Chenin Blanc 2015! Chenin also starred in the Dessert Wine of the Year, the Mullineux Straw Wine 2015. A newcomer to Wine of the Year is The Winery of Good Hope, whose shiraz-based Black Rock 2014, was voted Red Wine of the Year. Full results follow below.

alheitTo go back a step or so; 94 wines emerged with the guide’s highest and much-valued five star rating after two exhausting days of rigorous blind tasting over the +- 700 wines which their individual taster deemed worthy of 4.5 stars and so went forward to the five star tasting. These 700 were shared between eight teams of three tasters; large categories, such as chenin, chardonnay and shiraz were divided over both days but interspersed by red or fortified wines, so palates didn’t become saturated with acid, tannin or alcohol.

 

 

It was my good fortune to chair the chenin panel, a task that was more fun than anything else, though we were rigorous and demanding of the +- 70 chenins in the line-up, especially as they were of such a high standard.

Our subsequent discussions revealed we were impressed by the divergence of style, each equally well interpreted, and the many wines with long potential. All the chenins meeting our scrupulous five star demands were re-tasted on day two; a couple reverted to 4.5*. At the same time, a select few were singled out to go forward to the Wine of the Year tasting.
Between the chenins we tasted pinotage, red blends with pinotage and Port styles. I did say it was an exhausting two days, didn’t I? The system is as fair to each wine as is possible, a view I’m pretty sure most of us are in agreement about.

seccombeThe only award that’s not the responsibility of the tasters is the nomination of Winery of the Year; that’s a decision left to the editor, Philip van Zyl. But the format has always been the winery with the most number of five star wines, luckily there’s never been a tie. This year, Nederburg, for the second time, led the pack with a quartet of five stars.

But the time has come to change this format. If I were the Newton-Johnsons, I’d be wondering what I have to do to claim Winery of the Year title. They might not have achieved the most five star wines – each of the past two years they’ve had three – but they have their own, unique record: Platter five stars for eight consecutive vintages, since the maiden one, of their Family Vineyards Pinot Noir – 2008 to 2015. No other wine has achieved that.

As well as their other five stars, the rest of the range has consistent high ratings . these are the sort of considerations the editor should take into account when selecting Winery of the Year.

To return to Nederburg; it’s an interesting body. What sort of an image does it have? Does it have an image? Does it have too many and are they too diverse? At one end it’s seen as providing sound but uninspiring commercial wines; at the other, there’s exciting experimentation, as well as wines that aspire to be considered among South Africas best. Between those two ends, and if my reckoning skills are correct, there are 55 wines under the Nederburg label (or were in the 2016 guide); it’s no wonder for many, Nederburg is neither one thing nor another.

hrvPerhaps a more major problem lies in ownership; it’s a division of a corporate body, Distell, rather than autonomous; nothing illustrates this better than a press release sent out after this year’s Veritas awards. It was headed ‘Distell triumphs at Veritas Awards’, continuing; ‘Distell stole the show at the 2016 Veritas Awards …’ What a piece of knavery! I wonder who okayed that? The only acknowledgement that the success belonged to Nederburg – and Fleur du Cap, was when listing the actual medals.

Talking of Fleur du Cap, it’s good to see their Noble Late Harvest getting five stars again. But for a couple of vintages when it missed out, it would have topped the Newton Johnsons for the most consecutive five stars for the same wine.

It’s easy to forget that South African wines currently garnering such loud plaudits internationally are but a tiny drop in the ocean of what is made locally. What we need is more of the same quality in larger quantities. Producers like Nederburg and Fleur du Cap surely have the resources to enable them to make even better wines and fill the quality/quantity gap, but could Distell ever be ambitious enough in its wine portfolio to see these two entities become the Penfolds of South Africa?

Time to let both have wings, more autonomy and fly high, Distell. You would be doing South African wine great service.

In the meantime, congratulations to all concerned at Nederburg, Fleur du Cap and all the other five star winners; your success is much deserved.

WINERY OF THE YEAR
Nederburg Wines

RED WINE OF THE YEAR
The Winery of Good Hope Black Rock 2014

WHITE WINE OF THE YEAR
Stellenrust 51 Barrel Fermented Chenin Blanc 2015

DESSERT WINE OF THE YEAR
Mullineux & Leeu Family Wines Straw Wine 2015

FIVE STAR WINES

AA Badenhorst Dassiekop Steen 2015

Alheit Vineyards Hemelrand Vine Garden 2015
Alheit Vineyards Radio Lazarus 2015

Artisanal Boutique Winery JJ Handmade Eight Pillars 2013

Bartinney Private Cellar Chardonnay 2015

Beaumont Family Wines New Baby 2015
Beaumont Family Wines Hope Marguerite Chenin Blanc 2015

Beeslaar Wines Pinotage 2013

Bellingham Bernard Series Old Vine Chenin Blanc 2015

Bloemendal Estate Suider Terras Sauvignon Blanc 2015

Bosman Family Vineyards Twyfeling 2015

Botanica Wines Chenin Blanc 2015
Botanica Wines Semillon 2015

Cape Chamonix Wine Farm Chardonnay 2015
Cape Chamonix Wine Farm Chardonnay Reserve 2015
Cape Chamonix Wine Farm Troika 2014

David & Nadia Chenin Blanc 2015
David & Nadia Sadie Hoë-Steen Chenin Blanc 2015
David & Nadia Sadie Aristargos 2015

Delaire Graff Estate Chardonnay Banghoek Reserve 2015
Delaire Graff Estate Laurence Graff Reserve 2013

Delheim Wines Edelspatz Noble Late Harvest 2015

DeMorgenzon Chardonnay Reserve 2015

Diemersdal Estate MM Louw Sauvignon Blanc 2015
Diemersdal Estate 8 Rows Sauvignon Blanc 2016

Donkiesbaai Hooiwijn 2015

Edgebaston David Finlayson Chenin Blanc 2015

Fable Mountain Vineyards Syrah 2014

Flagstone Winery Time Manner Place Pinotage 2014

Fleur du Cap Sauvignon Blanc Unfiltered 2015
Fleur du Cap Noble Late Harvest 2015

Fram Wines Chenin Blanc 2015

GlenWood Semillon-Sauvignon Blanc 2015

Groot Constantia Estate Chardonnay 2015
Groot Constantia Estate Gouverneurs Reserve Red 2013

Hamilton Russell Vineyards Chardonnay 2015
Hamilton Russell Vineyards Pinot Noir 2015

Haskell Vineyards Anvil Chardonnay 2015

Hermanuspietersfontein Nr 5 Kat met die Houtbeen 2014

Iona Vineyards Chardonnay 2015
Iona Vineyards Solace Syrah 2014

Jordan Wine Estate Chardonnay Barrel Fermented 2015
Jordan Wine Estate CWG Auction Reserve Chardonnay 2015

Kaapzicht Wine Estate Skuinsberg Cinsaut 2015

Keermont Vineyards Topside Syrah 2014

Klein Constantia Estate Vin de Constance 2012

Kleine Zalze Wines Family Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2015
Kleine Zalze Wines Family Reserve Chenin Blanc 2015
Kleine Zalze Wines Family Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2012

La Motte Syrah-Viognier 2014

La Vierge Private Cellar Apogée Chardonnay 2015

Laibach Vineyards Claypot Merlot 2014

Meerlust Estate Chardonnay 2015

Moreson Mercator Premium Chardonnay 2014

Mount Abora Vineyards Koggelbos 2014

Mulderbosch Vineyards 1000 Miles Sauvignon Blanc 2015

Mullineux & Leeu Family Wines Straw Wine 2015

Mvemve Raats MR de Compostella 2014

Nederburg Wines Cabernet Sauvignon Private Bin R163 2013
Nederburg Wines The Brew Master 2014
Nederburg Wines Sauvignon Blanc Private Bin D234 2015
Nederburg Wines Noble Late Harvest 2015

Newton Johnson Vineyards Family Vineyards Chardonnay 2015
Newton Johnson Vineyards Family Vineyards Pinot Noir 2015
Newton Johnson Vineyards CWG Auction Reserve Seadragon Pinot Noir 2015

Olifantsberg Family Vineyards Silhouette 2014

Opstal Estate Carl Everson Chenin Blanc 2015
Opstal Estate The Barber Semillon 2015

Perdeberg Winery Natural Sweet Chenin Blanc 2014

Porseleinberg Porseleinberg 2014

Restless River Ava Marie Chardonnay 2014

Reyneke Wines Reserve Red 2014

Richard Kershaw Lake District Bokkeveld Shales CY95 Chardonnay 2015
Richard Kershaw Wines Elgin Syrah 2014

Ronnie B Wines Patatsfontein Steen 2015
Ronnie B Wines Sons of Sugarland Syrah 2015

Sadie Family Wines Skurfberg 2015
Sadie Family Wines Kokerboom 2015
Sadie Family Wines Palladius 2014

Shannon Vineyards Semillon 2015
Shannon Vineyards Mount Bullet Merlot 2013

Skaap Wines Sauvignon Blanc 44 2015

Spice Route Winery Grenache 2014

Spioenkop Wines Chenin Blanc 1900 2015

Stellar Winery Natural Sweet NV

Stellenbosch Vineyards Grenache 2015

Stellenrust 51 Barrel Fermented Chenin Blanc 2015

The Winery of Good Hope Black Rock 2014

Thorne & Daughters Wines Rocking Horse 2015

Tokara Director’s Reserve White 2015
Tokara Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

Trizanne Signature Wines Reserve Syrah 2015

Vondeling Babiana 2015

Warwick Estate Cabernet Franc 2013

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