SA’s best get stel­lar rat­ings from top Bri­tish jour­nal­ist

Weekend Post (South Africa) - - Weekend Life - SAM VEN­TER

WELL, there’s a thing that doesn’t hap­pen ev­ery day.

Bri­tish wine jour­nal­ist and Master of Wine (MW) Tim Atkin has crowned an SA wine with his first-ever 100-point score for a New World wine.

That’s quite an hon­our, putting it mildly, for one of the big guns of SA wine, the Kanonkop Paul Sauer (the 100pointer is the 2015 vin­tage), con­sid­er­ing that the “new world” also holds se­ri­ous play­ers like Aus­tralia, the US, New Zealand, Chile and Ar­gentina.

In his 2018 South Africa Spe­cial Re­port re­leased ear­lier this week, Atkin also gave ex­cep­tional 99-point scores to two white wines – Al­heit Vine­yards Mag­netic North 2017 and Sadie Fam­ily ’T Voet­pad 2017.

“I don’t give very high scores lightly,” he says, “but these three stun­ning, world-class wines have earned it.”

The three top wines crown a “bril­liant series of wines” from the 2015 and 2017 vin- tages. Atkin, ar­guably one of the lead­ing in­ter­na­tional ex­perts on SA wine, says these two years are “ar­guably the best ever” SA vin­tages, sur­pass­ing any other in our long wine­mak­ing his­tory.

Atkin reck­ons SA wine pro­vides a bea­con for na­tional pride and op­ti­mism amid the cur­rent po­lit­i­cal and eco­nomic woes, say­ing: “There’s some­thing hap­pen­ing in South Africa that is unique in the wine world. Call it en­ergy, call it cre- ativ­ity, call it op­ti­mism, call it all three. But it’s ap­par­ent to any­one who vis­its the Cape.”

The en­ergy and op­ti­mism are echoed by wine­maker Eben Sadie quoted in the re­port: “We are just warm­ing up, we’re just pulling our spikes on. The real race hasn’t even be­gun. Just you watch what we can achieve.”

Atkin also names Chris Al­heit as his wine­maker of the year and Klawer Cel­lars (who make some very happy cheap ‘n cheer­ful wines) as co-opera- tive of the year.

Red wine “dis­cov­ery of the year” goes to the 2017 Rall Ava Syrah from the Swart­land and the white coun­ter­part to 2017 Al­heit Huilkrans.

Best value wines of the year for Atkin in­clude the 2018 Stel­len­rust Chenin Blanc, 2016 Zon­nebloem SMV (red), Vil­liera Tra­di­tion Brut (MCC) and 2018 Oude Kom­pag­nies Post Swanepoel Rosé from Tul­bagh.

The 250-page 2018 re­port con­tains Atkin’s tast­ing notes and scores as well as re­tail prices (from R40 to R25,000!) for more than 2,000 SA wines and can be down­loaded for R395 from­ports

For those look­ing to snap up the Paul Sauer 2015 be­fore it be­comes as rare as hen’s teeth, Pre­stons in Main Road, Walmer had it at R589.99 ear­lier this week, while it’s R595 on the Kanonkop web­site and from on­line seller Port2Port ( ).

Pho­to­graph: JACO WOLMARANS

HIGH PRAISE: Tim Atkin has given an SA wine a top score

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