The 2019 Lismore Tasting

by Tim Atkin
This was the fifth Lismore tasting, designed to pit the best wines of South Africa blind against their peers from the rest of the world. In all, we tasted 35...

Cape Redux

by Robert Joseph
“It is highly unlikely that functioning farming enterprises will be confiscated… Farm invasions are extremely rare in South Africa. I do not recall one in the last couple of years.”...

The Lismore Sauvignon Blanc Tasting

by Tim Atkin
The fourth annual Lismore tasting, pitching South Africa against the rest of the world, focused on wooded Sauvignon Blanc and white Bordeaux blends. In previous editions we have looked at...

South African wine’s Day Zero

by Tim Atkin
Day Zero sounds like the title of a dystopian disaster movie, starring Matt Damon or an ageing Bruce Willis perhaps. But what’s happening in South Africa right now has nothing...

Heritage: boon or burden?

by Tim Atkin
Good morning, goeie more, everyone, and thank you for giving up part of your Saturday to be here at Nederburg. I’d also like to thank Distell, the Auction and its...
91

2015 Diemersdal Estate Grüner Veltliner, Durbanville

( £11.99, 14%, Majestic )

One of those wines that you’re just dying to slip into a blind tasting, this comes from cool (for the Cape) Durbanville and wouldn’t be outclassed by many Austrian Grüners at the same price level. Spices, green apple and bay leaf notes are underpinned by zesty, crunchy acidity and plenty of mid-palate texture. Promising stuff. 

BuyDrinking window: 2016-18Similar Wines: £10-£20, 91-95, South Africa, White, Grüner Veltliner
93

2015 Bellingham The Bernard Series Roussanne, Paarl

( £10, 14%, Sainsbury's )

Bellingham’s Roussanne is one of the few stand alone examples of the grape in South Africa, and it’s getting better with every vintage, showing impressive weight, texture and finesse. This deftly-oaked, full-bodied white is rich but not unctuous, with notes of baking spices, citrus and green tea, a hint of tropical fruit sweetness and a grippy, almost tannic finish that works really well with food. 

BuyDrinking window: 2016-19Similar Wines: £5-£10, 91-95, South Africa, White, Roussanne
91

2014 The Tea Leaf Chenin Blanc, Piekenierskloof

( £12.49, 14%, Cambridge Wine Merchants, Noel Young Wines, Woodwinters Wines )

Sourced from vineyards at 750 metres (which is high for South Africa), this was made by the talented Donovan Rall from the under-rated Piekenierskloof region. Tangy, refreshing and crisp, it’s tauter than some Cape Chenins with apple, pear and herbal notes and a creamy mid palate.

Drinking window: 2015-16Similar Wines: £10-£20, 91-95, South Africa, White, Chenin Blanc
94

2014 Patatsfontein Steen, Montagu

( £29.95, 13.5%, Edgmond Wines )

This is my white wine discovery of the year in my recently published South Africa report. Sourced fromthe little-known area of Montagu, it’s a brilliant Chenin Blanc (Steen) made by three friends, including the talented Reenen Boorman of Boschkloof. Formerly sold off to the local co-op, these grapes have produced something remarkable in the first vintage under their own label: saline, textured and mealy with some skin tannins, wax and spice and perfectly judged oak. One of the Cape’s best Chenins. 

BuyDrinking window: 2015-22Similar Wines: £20-£30, 91-95, South Africa, White, Chenin Blanc