Over the past few years the annual Platter Guide to South African Wines has been silver, bright green, black, cerise pink and this year is banana yellow! The colour of the cover evokes almost as much interest among commentators as its contents…
And content aplenty there is with the 32nd edition containing more than 7 000 wines from over 900 producers: all tasted, rated and noted. Red Wine of the Year is Chamonix’s 2010 Pinot Noir Reserve while the White Wine of the Year accolade went to a modest dessert wine, the 2009 Badslese from Badsberg.
Prime bragging rights as Winery of the Year – which is purely the Editor’s Choice – went to Franschhoek winery Boekenhoutskloof. It’s a tribute to this quality-focussed cellar’s broad offering that it was also awarded the SuperQuaffer of the Year for its Wolftrap White, a blend of Viognier, Chenin blanc and Grenache blanc.
Furthermore there are 45 wines which achieved the 5 Star full-house – with Swartland producer Mullineux Family Wines, Franschhoek’s Boekenhoutskloof and Paarl’s Nederburg each getting three 5 Star rated wines.
I think more than a few eyebrows hit hairlines when the White Wine of the Year was announced! Badsberg is a former co-operative winery in the Breedekloof, near Rawsonville. Its winemaker, Henry Swiegers is very accomplished, particularly when it comes to crafting sweet wines. A decade ago he was the inaugural winner of the Diners Club Young Winemaker of the Year award for a noble late harvest wine and he has subsequently plied his trade overseas, gaining additional experience at Tokaji in Hungary.
There’s been a fair amount of discussion in local circles about Franschhoek challenging Stellenbosch’s supremacy with nine versus 13of the 5 Star wines. Personally, I think it’s a great thing that there is more variety among the top quality wines in terms of point of origin.