In his sixth annual guide to South Africa, award-winning British journalist and Master of Wine Tim Atkin argues that the Cape is making the best wines in its 358 year history and that its industry is “dynamic, exciting and still evolving”.
South Africa, he says, is “a match for any other New World country in terms of quality and ahead of the field on value”. Yet he warns that while low prices are good for consumers, such bargains are less beneficial for grape growers and wine producers. “The country needs to charge more for its wines, and we should be prepared to pay for such excellence.”
The 2016 vintage, which was one of the hottest and driest on record, was “very tricky”, but Atkin says that the best producers have made some excellent wines. Of his 149 wines of the year, 76 are from 2016. “Don’t write off the harvest,” he advises.
This year, Atkin singles out Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc, Cinsaut and sparkling Méthode Cap Classique wines for special praise, but adds that “the Cape is capable of making almost any wine style to a very high standard”.
Atkin’s 2017 South Africa Special Report runs to 225 pages and is the product of two trips to the Cape this year, as well as further tastings in the UK and Germany.
- Top wines of the year (white, red, sweet, fortified and sparkling);
- Scores for over 1,400 wines, with retail prices in South African Rand, ranging from R40 to R4,900
- 1,100+ tasting notes;
- Evocative photos of the winelands and winemakers;
- His 2017 classification of the 200 best South African wineries.
All this for £20. You can download the 2017 report here