SA’s best get stellar ratings from top British journalist
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 from www.timatkin.com/reports
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 ( www.port2port.wine ).
HIGH PRAISE: Tim Atkin has given an SA wine a top score