‘South Africa is the most exciting country in the southern hemisphere,’ maintains Neal Martin of Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, echoing the sentiments he expressed earlier this year. In his newly released South Africa report, which covers more than 600 wines, Martin reaffirms that SA’s transition is well underway. Positive shifts in winemaking and viticulture, and a new generation of ballsy (and bearded) young winemakers, are producing Old-World-inspired wines that are both elegant and pure – wines that sing their own song and reflect their unique terroir.
On the red front, Rhône blends are ‘streets ahead’ and ‘South Africa’s strongest card,’ says Martin. ‘Wake up, those who think great Syrah only comes from the hill in Hermitage or California.’
He also underscores Chenin Blanc’s potential to create world-class wines with real personality.‘Chenin Blanc should be the country’s signature grape variety,’ he suggests, citing Eben Sadie’s Palladius as well as his Old Vine Series releases as some of the most spellbinding examples.
Barrel-fermented Sauvignon-led whites have been hugely praised and our favourites of Reyneke, Cape Point Vineyards and Tokara have received massive scores. Among the most highly-rated whites is Flagstone Treaty Tree 2011 – a crisp, intense and decidedly flinty Sauvignon/Semillon blend from Bruce Jack. The 2010 was a Platter 5 Star and at just R89 with 94 points in tow, this is one to buy by the caseload!
Top-scorers (95+) are shown below, along with selected wines that received 93 points and above.
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