The Decanter team was recently treated to a tasting of over 50 South African wines that had been awarded 5-stars in the 2019 Platter’s Guide. Their team split the line-up into reds and whites and narrowed the selection down to two shortlists that highlighted their favourites.
The team was very much impressed with our white wines and SA’s ability to ‘straddle the line between new and old world’. With the reds, they mentioned the contrasts in SA’s diverse terroirs, highlighting the differences between hot inland areas like the Swartland and the cool coastal regions like Constantia and Walker Bay.
Many of these wines are available on our website but most are in limited supply and sure to sell out quickly. Here are some of Decanter’s favourites below:
‘Serial accolades for scintillating rendition of chenin ex 40 year old vines. 17 retains accustomed classic style; layered with tropical fruit, fleshed out by creamy oatmeal from deft oaking (year in 20% new barrels), yet wonderfully restrained & elegant.’ – Platters Wine Guide 2019, 5*
‘Step-change in 16, tighter, tenser than previous, will unwind slowly over +-10 years. Steely & precise, with striking purity, umami nuance, tremendous presence. Chenin with 10 other varieties fermented/aged year on lees in concrete ‘eggs’ & clay amphora, then year older foudres.’ – Platters Wine Guide 2019, 5*
‘Whole bunch, barrel fermented/matured year (30% new), unfiltered. 16 shows expected complexity, citrus to the fore, white-fleshed stonefruit, gentle savoury thread. In perfect health, beautifully crafted. 15 was maiden vintage.’ – Platters Wine Guide 2019, 5*
‘From shale (‘skalie’) site planted in 1985; as Hoe-Steen sibling, bunch pressing, minimal intervention, older oak. Individual, wild ‘dissident’ profile in steely, mineral 17, with khaki bush & scrub features. A tense, ferrous character with an exquisite saline conclusion.’ – Platters Wine Guide 2019, 5*
‘Expressive, elegant Bordeaux blend, 60/40 semillon/sauvignon, 15 reflects fine vintage, with poise & balance, power & purity; luscious spiced fruit with herbal notes. Built to last, like 14. Fermented & 10 months in French oak.’ – Platters Wine Guide 2019, 5*
‘Metamorphosis for this label: up to 15 unoaked sauvignon blanc as per original name, but 17 a (older) wooded Bordeaux blend sauvignon & semillon. Scented fig, lime & gooseberry notes, full bodied & slightly creamy with mouthwatering acidity.’ – Platters Wine Guide 2019, 5*
‘Chenin off ferricrete soils. 17 nervy, fine aromas, with earth-nutty notes. Excellent balance – acidity & sugar (subtle 6.6 g/l) higher than Johanna, but poised & integrated, entwined with intense flavour, for exultant fantail finish. 9 months on lees, 3 in oak. 16 focused & tense.’ – Platters Wine Guide 2019, 5*
‘Sophisticated & cerebral syrah from a special Swartland site. 16’s piercing spice perfumes, toned fruit & same fine musculature as 15 promise a decade + of sheer drinking pleasure. Hands-off, whole-bunch natural vinification; year large old oak, 30% concrete ‘egg’.’ – Platters Wine Guide 2019, 5*
‘Vineyard on Kasteelberg home-farm. Soil deeper, denser, little water-holding capacity, vines/bunches smaller. Black plums in 16, smoky, espresso savouriness, especially on the palate. Smoothly elegant, latent power for ageing. Follows fine 15.’ – Platters Wine Guide 2019, 5*
‘Tension & vibrancy clues to cool elevated Hemel-en-Aarde Ridge source. 17 has mouthwatering fruit purity & depth, silky texture complemented by secure structure, auguring well for long ageing. 50% whole bunches (40% in 16) & 30% new oak augment superb quality.’ – Platters Wine Guide 2019, 5*