In his fourth annual guide to South Africa, award-winning British wine-writer and Master of Wine Tim Atkin says the 2015 vintage is “the best I’ve tasted in 26 years of writing about the country’s wines” and should be a springboard to global recognition.
“A winning combination of better viticulture, the development of new wine regions and the emergence of a young generation of wine-making talent make South Africa the most dynamic wine-producing country in the world right now,” he says. Atkin singles out Chenin Blanc, Syrah and Méthode Cap Classique wines for special praise in his 2016 report.
Atkin argues that South Africa’s old vines are “a precious and dwindling resource that needs protection” and says that too many wine farms are unprofitable because of the low price of the country’s wines, particularly on export markets. “In the absence of significant government subsidies, the answer is to increase the price of South African wine.”
Atkin’s publication, which runs to almost 190 pages in 2016 and is the product of two trips to the Cape this year, as well as further tastings in the UK and Germany, includes:
- Top wines of the year (white, red, sweet and sparkling);
- Scores for over 1,400 wines;
- 900+ tasting notes;
- Evocative photos of the winelands and winemakers;
- His 2016 classification of the 150 best South African wineries.
Atkin has also named his Wines and Winemakers of the Year:
- Winemaker of the Year: Abrie Beeslaar of Kanonkop and Beeslaar
- Young Winemaker of the Year: Matt Day of Klein Constantia
- Overall White Wine of the Year: 2015 David & Nadia Hoë-Steen Chenin Blanc, Swartland
- Overall Red Wine of the Year: 2014 Boschkloof Epilogue Syrah, Stellenbosch
- Overall Sweet Wine of the Year: 2013 Boekenhoutskloof Noble Late Harvest, Franschhoek
- Overall Sparkling Wine of the Year: 2010 Silverthorn Jewel Box, Western Cape
- White Wine Discovery of the Year: 2015 BLANKbottle Orbitofrontal Cortex, Western Cape
- Red Wine Discovery of the Year: 2015 Newton Johnson CWG Seadragon Pinot Noir, Upper Hemel-en- Aarde Valley
In addition to these six wines Atkin has nominated a further 96 labels, all of which scored 95 points or more, as his Wines of the Year.
Atkin will deliver the keynote speech at the Nederburg Auction in Paarl on 17 September.
Tim Atkin MW’s 2016 South Africa Special Report is available to download from www.timatkin.com for £15 or R290.