2017 South Africa Wines of the Year




The 1,687 or so wines I tasted for my 2017 South Africa Report were mostly sampled during two visits to the Cape in March and June/July 2017, as well as at the London Wine Trade Fair and at Prowein in Düsseldorf. Nearly all of them were assessed sighted, or non-blind, as some people would have it.

This is a list of my 164 Wines of the Year, all of which scored 95 points or more.

To explain my scores in a little more detail, 85-89 points is the equivalent of a bronze medal, 90-94 a silver and 95 and above a gold. Inevitably, I will be accused of indulging in score inflation, not least by local wine writers. All I can say in reply is that I fervently believe that South Africa is improving with every vintage (even tricky ones like 2016) and that the wines merit my plaudits. I do my best to see South African wines in a global context and mark them accordingly. But only you can be the judge of that when you follow my recommendations.

For the second year in a row, two wines scored 98 points (one white and one red), while 13 scored 97 points (compared with six in 2016) and 149 scored 95 or more (up from 102 last year), which was 8.83% of what I tasted (7.28% in 2016). To give a little context, these are my equivalent of a Platter Five Star Award, of which there were 111 in the 2018 edition of the guide.