Welcome to my tenth South African Report. At 316 pages and over 95,000 words, it’s by far my most extensive overview of one of the world’s most exciting wine-producing nations.
Over the space of four weeks of visits in March, June and July of this year, I tasted a record 2,282 wines from 433 wineries, travelling thousands of miles across the Western Cape from Piekenierskloof to the Agulhas Triangle.
Overall, I’m extremely impressed by the quality of what I tasted, especially from the 2017 and 2021 vintages. I am more convinced than ever that 2017 deserves its place among the best-ever Cape harvests, but I have a feeling that 2021 could equal and possibly surpass it.
All in all, 195 (8.5%) of the wines I tasted scored more than 95 points, which is my equivalent of a gold medal. This is a remarkably diverse line-up and includes several new
producers. Few, if any, New World countries could better it in my view.
Stellenbosch has reaffirmed its position as the Cape’s pre-eminent region as the source of a third of my top-scoring wines, followed by the Swartland. There are exciting wines from every corner of the country, however, including Malgas, Montagu and the Ceres Plateau.
As usual, as well as detailed tasting notes, the report contains my ‘Podium’ of top performing wines and winemakers, a classification of Cape wineries and even recommended restaurants for those lucky enough to be travelling in the Winelands.