Tim Atkin (image supplied).
Tim Atkin (image supplied).

  • The South African wine industry has come in for some praise, despite taking a knock from Covid-19.
  • According to a UK wine expert "no other wine industry possesses such energy or excitement".
  • The SA liquor industry took massive strain due to alcohol bans during South Africa's hard lockdown, with some shutting down for weeks at a time.
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

UK-based wine writer Tim Atkin had glowing praise for the quality of local wines when he released his 2021 South Africa Special Report on the country's top wines.

Atkin, who released the ninth version of the report via Instagram live, while enjoying a glass of Cap Classique sparkling wine, was full of admiration for how the industry had developed over the past 30 or so years.

"No other wine industry has made such strides, no other wine industry possesses such energy or excitement."

Atkin's praise comes at a difficult time for the industry, which had to shutdown for weeks as a result of numerous Covid-19 lockdowns, which had halted the production, distribution, and sales of liquor.

Even so, the industry had a lot be proud of says Atkin, a Master of Wine and leading commentor on wines. This is especially true when it comes to how well its top wines rank against some of the world's top wines.

According to the 100 scale, a wine is considered a "great wine" if it scores between 95-100. Atkin did not disclose how many South African wines scored in that category, but said the top white wine, Magnetic North 2020 scored 99 and the top red wine, Columella Merlot 2019 scored 100.

On the Columella, which is made by the Sadie Family in the Cape's Swartland, Atkin was deeply emotional. "It's one of those wines that makes you want to be happy, but at the same time moves you to tears."

Other winners

Atkin says the progress the industry has made can also be seen in what he called value wines which has also improved in quality. He also highlighted innovative wines and breakthrough wines he dubbed discoveries.

Best value wines: White

Cape Dreams Chardonnay

"We are now seeing a core of Black owned brands that are producing some really great wines." - Cape Dreams is owned and managed by Bunty and Wahed Khan.

Best value: Red

Mountain Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon

"It's [Breedekloof] an incredible region that has a lot of potential."

Best value: Rosé

AA Badenhorst Secateurs Rosé 2021                                                                                                          

"It was the only wine made in 2021." [only 2021 vintage included in report]

Best value: Sparkling wine

Saltare MCC Brut Rosé

"I think she's [winemaker Carla Pauw] making better and better stuff."

Best value: Sweet wine

Joostenberg Chenin Blanc

"Sweet but not too sweet. I love the balance of this wine."

Best value: Fortified wine

Du Toitskloof Red Muscadel

"It's not the first time these guys have won it."

Discovery: White wine

Mullineux Iron Chenin Blanc

"This was my white wine discovery of the year. Well done to the Mullineux's."

Discovery: Red wine

Joubert-Tradauw Crescendo 2018

"I think the price is going to go up dramatically once they see the score, I'm going to give the wine [a great score out of 100]."

Fortified wine of the year

Boplaas Cape Vintage Reserve 2004

"What a wine that is. I don't think there is much of it in the marketplace."

Sweet wine of the year

Klein Constantia Vin de Constance 2018

"This wine keeps getting better and better and better."

Sparkling wine of the year

Colmant Brut Reserve NV

"I think 'fizz' is a really exciting category. It's very successful in the marketplace at all price levels and is extremely competitive."

Rosé of the year

Bellingham's The Quintessential Couple Rosé

"I love this wine. It's a really smart wine."

Best Cellar

Waterford Estate

Best Cooperative

Koelenhof Winery

Young Winemaker of the year

Elizma Visser – Olifantsberg Family Vineyards

Viticulturist of the year

Marco Ventrella – KWV

Winemaker of the year  

Peter-Allan Finlayson – Crystallum Wines

Legend of the year

Charles Back – Fairview

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