Bring on the Sparking Sauvignons | Pendock Uncorked

Bring on the Sparking Sauvignons | Pendock Uncorked.


SA’s TOP 100

Submitted by Angela Lloyd on 21 March, 2011 – 12:28

It’s a topical subject, but selecting a top 100 South Africa wines is no easy task, as seven colleagues who joined me in compiling their crème de la crème of the local industry discovered.

Previous Grape polls – I think – have never ventured beyond a maximum of twenty wines or producers; one hundred wines is a different matter. Decisions taxing those involved include should one go on track record, or list wines that aren’t to your personal taste, but should be included on the basis of quality? What if a current release isn’t up to par? Then should those small producers with tiny production, who few know about but who make really top class wines be considered?

To make selections easier, nominations were unconditional; there was no burden of listing vintages, selecting just one wine from any producer or ranking the wines; the last welcome latitude left the Top 100 as the Top 108, the placing that rounded off the same wines being nominated by three judges. Although the wines are listed 1 to 108, please note they are arranged strictly in alphabetical order.

Statistics can mean what you want them to mean but an exercise such as this is as much about statistics as a story, or more likely the statistics are the story!

One of the more interesting stats was that, as much as our white wines are regularly praised above our reds, the latter received more votes in the top line up: 53 versus 43. Maybe it’s a case of wishful thinking. Three Méthode Cap Classiques, five dessert wines and four fortifieds gives less reason for discussion, as do the names behind them.

The eight judges had somewhere between seven and eight hundred wine producers to chose from. Seventy three of those were nominated for the top selection with a further 66 completing the lists. Making yourself heard in such a crowded market is obviously not easy and, again, one has to wonder how some of the lesser known properties or brands manage to keep their heads above water. Even close to 20 years after South Africa has entered the international market, marketing would seem to remain a big challenge.

While the majority of the list won’t surprise, there are two wines, both from Constantia, that possibly will. Steenberg Magna Carta and Constantia Glen 5 (currently listed as just Constantia Glen in Platter), are relatively new wines; Steenberg has just released the second vintage of its flagship, Magna Carta, the Platter five star 2009; Constantia Glen has yet to release the second, 2008, vintage of what will be labelled Constantia Glen 5, after the five Bordeaux varieties grown on the property. So to the wider wine loving public, these are not yet that well known, though on current form, they are destined to be widely recognised.

But it’s not always the flagships that have made the selection: Kleine Zalze Bush Vines Chenin Blanc hails from the value-for-money, Cellar Selection range; its credentials are well-established, regularly being awarded alongside much more ambitious wines.

The list, like anything else to do with wine, features today’s winners; do the same exercise in a year or even six months, with a different or even the same panel, and the results could be different. Some names – Boekenhoutskloof, Cape Point Vineyards, Kanonkop, Sadie, Thelema and Vergelegen – never miss a list, whatever its objective (for Vin de Constance, neither does Klein Constantia), so they can rightly be named the Cape’s First Growth properties. Other names, perhaps surprisingly missing this time, either from the top echelon or even from a single mention, could well feature on the next occasion: a reflection of the wonderful, fluid nature of wine and the Cape’s viticulturists and winemakers’ efforts to produce quality above all.

Below the top 108 are listed the ten wines which were voted for by all eight judges. Given the choice available, this is a worthy achievement.




  • Ashbourne Sandstone
  • Ashbourne Ashbourne
  • Ataraxia Chardonnay
  • Badenhorst Family Wines White Blend
  • Beaumont Hope Marguerite Chenin Blanc
  • Bein Merlot
  • Beyerskloof Diesel Pinotage
  • Boekenhoutskloof Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Boekenhoutskloof Semillon
  • Boekenhoutskloof Syrah
  • Boplaas Cape Vintage Reserve
  • Bouchard Finlayson Galpin Peak Pinot Noir
  • Bouchard Finlayson Missionvale Chardonnay
  • Buitenverwachting Christine
  • Chamonix Chardonnay Reserve
  • Chamonix Greywacke Pinotage
  • Chamonix Pinot Noir Reserve
  • Cape Point Vineyards Isliedh
  • Cape Point Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc Reserve
  • Constantia Glen 5
  • Constantia Uitsig Semillon
  • Crystallum Cuvée Cinema Pinot Noir
  • De Krans Cape Vintage Reserve
  • De Toren Fusion V
  • De Trafford Chenin Blanc
  • De Trafford Elevation 393
  • De Trafford Shiraz
  • Diemersdal Eight Rows Sauvignon Blanc
  • Eagles’ Nest Syrah
  • Eagles’ Nest Viognier
  • Ernie Els Signature
  • Fleur du Cap Noble Late Harvest
  • Graham Beck Blanc de Blancs
  • Graham Beck Cuvée Clive MCC
  • Graham Beck Pheasant’s Run  Sauvignon Blanc
  • Grangehurst Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve
  • Hamilton Russell Chardonnay
  • Hamilton Russell Pinot Noir
  • Hartenberg Gravel Hill Shiraz
  • Hartenberg The Mackenzie
  • Haskell Pillars Syrah
  • Hermanuspietersfontein Die Bartho
  • Iona Sauvignon Blanc
  • Jean Daneel Signature Chenin Blanc
  • Jordan Nine Yards Chardonnay
  • JP Bredell Cape Vintage Reserve
  • Kanonkop Black Label Pinotage
  • Kanonkop Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Kanonkop Paul Sauer
  • Kanonkop Pinotage
  • Klein Constantia Perdeblokke Sauvignon Blanc
  • Klein Constantia Vin de Constance
  • Kleine Zalze Bush Vine Chenin Blanc
  • Lammershoek Roulette Blanc
  • Le Riche Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve
  • Luddite Shiraz
  • Meerlust Rubicon
  • Miles Mossop Saskia
  • Morgenster Morgenster
  • Mulderbosch Barrel Fermented Chardonnay
  • Mullineux Family White Blend
  • Mullineux Family Syrah
  • Nederburg Edelkeur
  • Nederburg Ingenuity White
  • Nederburg Noble Late Harvest
  • Neil Ellis Grenache
  • Neil Ellis Groenekloof Sauvignon Blanc
  • Newton Johnson Domaine Pinot Noir
  • Nuy White Muscadel
  • Oak Valley Sauvignon Blanc
  • Paul Cluver Chardonnay
  • Paul Cluver Noble Late Harvest
  • Paul Cluver Seven Flags Pinot Noir
  • Quoin Rock Syrah
  • Quoin Rock The Nicobar
  • Raats Cabernet Franc
  • Reyneke Reserve Red
  • Reyneke Reserve white
  • Rupert & Rothschild Baron Edmund
  • Rust en Vrede Estate Wine
  • Rustenberg Five Soldiers Chardonnay
  • Rustenberg John X Merriman
  • Rustenberg Peter Barlow
  • Sadie Family Columella
  • Sadie Family Palladius
  • Scali Blanc
  • Sequillo White
  • Shannon Mount Bullet
  • Simonsig Redhill Pinotage
  • Spice Route Malabar
  • Springfield Méthode Ancienne Chardonnay
  • Stark Condé Three Pines Cab Sauvignon
  • Steenberg Magna Carta
  • Steenberg Sauvignon Blanc Reserve
  • Thelema Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Thelema Merlot Reserve
  • Tokara Director’s Reserve White
  • Tokara Director’s Reserve Red
  • Uva Mira Chardonnay
  • Vergelegen Red
  • Vergelegen White
  • Vergelegen Sauvignon Blanc Reserve
  • Vilafonté Series C
  • Villiera Monro Brut
  • Warwick Trilogy
  • Waterford Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Waterford The Jem
  • Waterkloof Sauvignon Blanc


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Stephen Tanzer rates Graham Beck Wines in the US

2008 Sauvignon Blanc The Game Reserve Coastal Region Bright, light yellow. Lemongrass, grapefruit, green fig and a hint of spice on the nose. Dusty, quite dry and energetic, with some CO2 yet to be absorbed. This began a bit tart but grew more supple and harmonious with aeration, showing more breadth on the back end. 87

2009 Sauvignon Blanc The Game Reserve Coastal Region Bright light yellow. Lively aromas of grapefruit, lemon drop, lime zest and grass, plus suggestions of tropical fruits. Richer and more glycerol than the basic 2008 Coastal Region sauvignon but also nicely juicy, with broad, dry flavors of citrus and tropical fruits, fig and anise. Finishes with a slightly tart character. 88

2009 Viognier Robertson Pale, green-tinged yellow. Peach, lime, mint and a whiff of licorice on the slightly warm nose. Plump and round, with peach and pear flavors perked up by a floral nuance. A plush, easygoing style of viognier to drink now. 87

2009 Chenin Blanc The Game Reserve Coastal Region Light yellow. Complex nose and palate meld peach, pineapple, snap pea, dusty brown spices and white tobacco, all lifted by a citrus element. Dense, ripe, seamless and concentrated, with its light sweetness and touch of oak nicely buffered by harmonious acidity. A saline, tactile, soil-driven chenin blanc with a honeyed quality on the dry, gripping finish. 91

2010 Chardonnay/Viognier Western Cape (an 84/16 blend): Bright light yellow. Nicely perfumed aromas of fresh peach, yellow plum, flowers and lichee. Then surprisingly dry and lively in the mouth, more shapely but less forthcoming than the nose suggests. Offers good energy but could use a bit more pliancy and length on the back end. 87

2008 Cabernet Sauvignon The Game Reserve Robertson Bright dark red. Spicy, expressive aromas and flavors of plum, mocha and cola. Not particularly complex but shows good shape and energy, with a lightly medicinal aspect to the middle palate. Finishes with broad, dusty tannins and a hint of maple syrup.

2007 The William Red (69% cabernet sauvignon, 18% pinotage, 11% cabernet franc and 2% shiraz): Dark red with ruby highlights. Very dark, slightly medicinal aromas of blackberry, cassis, licorice and mint. Dense, chewy and deep, with very primary dark berry, licorice and spice flavors. Surprisingly strong but harmonious acidity gives this very young wine a rather high pitch. Finishes perfumed and long,
with a fine dusting of tannins. Hold this. 91(+?)

2007 Shiraz The Game Reserve Stellenbosch Dark, bright red. Aromatic nose combines blackberry, white pepper and mocha, along with a chocolatey richness. Silky and sweet on the palate, but with good energy to the slightly medicinal mulberry and chocolate flavors. Not a gamey style of shiraz. Suave tannins and harmonious acids give this a solid structure. 89

2006 Syrah The Ridge Robertson Bright medium-deep red. Carnal aromas of pepper and smoked meat. Silky on entry, then supple and soil-driven in the mid-palate, showing more smoke, pepper and spicy herbs than primary fruit. Spreads out nicely on the back end, finishing with fine-grained tannins. A suave and savory style–very much syrah, rather than shiraz. 89

©2011 WineAccess. All Rights Reserved.

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