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  Platter's announces record number of five stars

09 Nov 2013

Topics: Alvi's Drift Private Cellar, Au.Ra, Boland Kelder, Cape Chamonix Wine Farm, Cederberg Private Cellar, Chateau Naudé Wine Creation, Christine Rudman, Dave Hughes, DeMorgenzon, Eikendal Vineyards, Fable Mountain Vineyards, Five Climates Chenin Blanc, Hilton Vineyards, Jean-Pierre Rossouw, Klein Constantia Estate, Kleine Zalze Wines, KWV, Maestro White, Mullineux & Leeu Family Wines, Mullineux Family Wines, Nederburg, Newton Johnson Vineyards, Opstal Estate, Platter's Guide, Raats Family Wines, Reyneke Wines, Richard Kershaw Wines, Sadie Family Wines, Sijnn, Silverthorn Wines, South African wine, Spioenkop Wines, Stark-Condé Wines, Tim James, Tokara, Upper Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, Windansea Pinot Noir, Windmeul Cooperative Cellar, wine, Winnie Bowman

In a banner year for the South African wine industry, Platter's South African Wine Guide has chosen a remarkable 80 wines to be awarded the highest honour of five stars in this 34th edition of the guide – up from 62 in the last edition.

Five star wines are exceptional bottlings which are identified by the individual tasters and then also emerge from a second round of blind tasting (without sight of the label), still with the judges’ highest rating. In this edition, three producers (Cederberg Private Cellar, Mullineux Family Wines and Nederburg Wines) garnered 4 five star ratings, one cellar (Newton Johnson Vineyards) amassed 3 five stars, and a further ten wineries (Cape Chamonix Wine Farm, DeMorgenzon, Fable Mountain Vineyards, Klein Constantia Estate, Kleine Zalze Wines, Sadie Family Wines, Stark-Condé Wines, Tokara, Reyneke Wines and KWV) each bagged 2 five stars.

Eleven wineries received five star ratings for the first time, namely Alvi's Drift Private Cellar, Chateau Naudé Wine Creation, Eikendal Vineyards, Hilton Vineyards, Opstal Estate, Raats Family Wines, Richard Kershaw Wines, Sijnn, Silverthorn Wines, Spioenkop Wines and Windmeul Cooperative Cellar. (The full list of five star wines appears below.)

Of the five star awarded wines, the red and white which receive the most votes from the judging panel are named Platter’s Wines of the Year. This time the Red Wine Of The Year is Newton Johnson Windansea Pinot Noir 2012 (Wine of Origin Upper Hemel-en-Aarde Valley), described in the guide as “rich, fragrant, warmly sensuous”, while the White Wine Of The Year is DeMorgenzon Maestro White 2012 (Wine of Origin Stellenbosch), a blend of chenin blanc, roussanne, viognier and chardonnay noted as “perfectly balanced for delicious current drinking or keeping”.

In an ongoing focus on value for money, Platter's identifies a number of entry-level wines which are exceptionally drinkable and well priced. The best of these, like the five star candidates, go into a second round of blind tasting to select the Superquaffer of the Year. For the fourth time since Superquaffer inception in 2006, the ultra-easy sipper of the year is a chenin blanc: Boland Kelder Five Climates Chenin Blanc 2013 (Wine of Origin Paarl), praised in the guide as a “cracking crowd pleaser” and an “over-deliverer of note”.

The names of the 14 other top quaffers appear in the new guide under the heading “Wines of the Year” along with the 80 five stars, 114 Highly Recommended wines (which missed five stars but are nonetheless extremely fine and collectable in their own right), and 89 reds and whites showing particular potential for cellaring (these ageworthy wines appear under the banner ‘Buy Now, Drink Later’).

Platter’s prestigious Winery of the Year award is the editor’s personal selection after considering a variety of criteria, the aim being to showcase a producer who epitomises the best of South African winegrowing today. “The award is influenced by the results of the five star tasting,” says editor Philip van Zyl, “and this edition’s haul of four maximum ratings gives Mullineux Family Wines an astonishing 11 five stars to date, and places them firmly in the league of the greatest modern-era South African wineries. This in just seven years of operation! Warmest congratulations go to winemakers/co-owners Chris and Andrea Mullineux and the team on an exceptional achievement.”

Platter’s, South Africa’s original and trusted wine adviser, now also guides you through the ins and outs of locally produced brandy and “sherry”.

The new Platter’s includes descriptions and ratings of more than 60 brandies and husk spirits (“grappas”) across a broad spectrum - from ultra-exclusive Au.Ra to ubiquitous “Klippies” - together with brief profiles of distillers and brands. The leading South African sherry-style wines are also featured in the 2014 edition.

Brandy tastings and ratings on Platter’s familiar five-star scale were done by Cape Wine Masters Winnie Bowman and Tim James, with constant reference to Dave Hughes, perhaps South Africa’s most experienced judge of spirits. The “sherries” were assessed by Winnie Bowman and Cape Wine Master Christine Rudman.

“By publishing brandy and sherry notes alongside those for wines,” says Platter’s new publisher, Jean-Pierre Rossouw, “we’re not only providing useful information and buying advice but also intending to create a sense of discovery and excitement among our readers. Many top producers make brandies and sherry-style wines, and they are world-class. It may surprise consumers that Nederburg produces brandy; or that Douglas Green makes “sherry“ - and these listings will hopefully prompt further exploration of South Africa’s internationally acclaimed brandy and sherry-style offerings.”

In addition to spotlighting some 900 South African producers, merchants and brands, and over 7,400 wines, brandies and “sherries”, Platter’s 2014 also packs extensive information on where to go and what to do in wine country.

Dining, accommodation and cellardoor tasting options are covered extensively, along with many winery amenities, attractions and activities. GPS coordinates, easy-to-use maps and quick look-up tables provide invaluable help for visitors planning their own wineland rambles, while listings of specialised wine tour operators offer a variety of alternatives for those searching for a guided experience.

Fully updated notes on the major winegrowing regions, grape varieties, winemaking styles, winetasting terms, and the major wine competitions and awards, as well as listings of wine educators country-wide complete the wide-ranging Platter’s offering.

Platter’s 2014 print version is available from the second half of November at selected bookstores and retail outlets countrywide. The recommended retail price is R169.95. The book can also be ordered online from Platter’s website ( The web-based version of the guide is available from today (8 November) at

The five star wines and brandies for 2014 are:

Cabernet Franc

• Raats Family 2011

• Warwick 2010

Cabernet Sauvignon

• Boekenhoutskloof 2011

• Cederberg Five Generations 2011

• Ernie Els Proprietor’s 2011

• Neil Ellis Vineyard Selection 2010

• Stark-Condé Three Pines 2011


• Chateau Naudé Le Vin de François 2011

• Rijk’s Reserve 2009

• Spioenkop ‘1900’ 2012

Pinot Noir

• Newton Johnson Windansea 2012 (Red Wine of the Year)

• Newton Johnson Family Vineyards 2012


• Cederberg CWG Auction Reserve Teen die Hoog 2011

• Eagles’ Nest 2010

• Fable Syrah 2011

• Hilton The Dalmatian 2010

• Mont Destin Destiny 2009

• Mullineux Family Schist Syrah 2011

• Mullineux Family Granite Syrah 2011

• Rust en Vrede Single Vineyard Syrah 2011

• Stark-Condé Three Pines Syrah 2011

• Saronsberg 2011

• Sijnn 2011

Red Blends

• Bouchard Finlayson Hannibal 2011

• Chamonix Troika 2011

• Delaire Graff Botmaskop 2011

• Eikendal Classique 2011

• Ken Forrester Three Halves 2009

• Thelema Rabelais 2009

• Windmeul Reserve Cape Blend 2012


• Chamonix Reserve 2012

• Hamilton Russell 2012

• Newton Johnson Family Vineyards 2012

• Richard Kershaw Elgin Clonal Selection 2012

Chenin Blanc

• Alheit Radio Lazarus 2012

• Beaumont Hope Marguerite 2012

• Botanica Old Vine 2012

• DeMorgenzon Reserve 2012

• Jean Daneel Signature 2012

• Kleine Zalze Family Reserve 2012

• Mullineux Family Schist 2012

• Opstal Carl Everson 2012

• Reyneke 2012

• Sadie Family Skurfberg 2012

• Stellenrust 48 Barrel Fermented 2012

Grenache Blanc

• The Foundry 2012

• AA Badenhorst Family CWG Auction Reserve White Grenache Vuilgoed 3 2012


• Simonsig CWG Auction Reserve The Russety One 2012

Sauvignon Blanc

• Cederberg David Nieuwoudt Ghost Corner Wild Ferment 2012

• Klein Constantia Perdeblokke 2012

• Kleine Zalze Family Reserve 2012

• Mulderbosch 1000 Miles 2012

• Tokara Walker Bay 2013


• Constantia Uitsig 2012

White Blends

• Cape Point Isliedh 2012

• Cederberg David Nieuwoudt Ghost Corner Bowline 2012

• David Aristargos 2012

• DeMorgenzon Maestro White 2012 (White Wine of the Year)

• Fable Jackal Bird 2012

• Fairview Nurok 2012

• Flagstone Treaty Tree Reserve 2011

• Nederburg Ingenuity 2012

• Nitida Coronata Integration 2012

• Rall 2012

• Reyneke Reserve White 2011

• Sadie Family Palladius 2011

• Tokara Director’s Reserve 2012

Méthode Cap Classique

• Klein Constantia Brut 2010

• Silverthorn The Green Man Blanc de Blancs 2010

Dessert Wine, Fortified

• Alvi’s Drift Muscat de Frontignan White 2010

Dessert Wine Unfortified

• Delheim Edelspatz Noble Late Harvest 2012

• Fleur du Cap Noble Late Harvest 2012

• KWV The Mentors Noble Late Harvest 2012

• Mullineux Family Straw Wine 2012

• Nederburg Eminence 2012

• Nederburg Edelkeur 2012

• Nederburg Winemaster’s Reserve Noble Late Harvest 2012


• Axe Hill Cape Vintage 2011

• De Krans Cape Vintage Reserve 2011

• KWV Cape Tawny NV


• Boplaas Potstill 20 Years Brandy

• KWV 15 Year Old Alambic

• KWV 20 Year Old

• Oude Meester Souverein

• Van Ryn 12 Year Distillers Reserve

• Van Ryn 20 Year Collectors Reserve

• Van Ryn Au.Ra

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  • philip on 04 January 2014

    Dear Andy Thank you for your comment. Gewürztraminer is one of my personal favourites and, as you say, it's perfect with Thai and many Asian foods. Unfortunately there are very few single-variety bottlings in South Africa. Our guide lists only 16 dry or off-dry versions, and a handful of sweet ones (Late Harvest, Special Late Harvest and Noble Late Harvest). The top producers in our 2014 edition are Nederburg, Neethlingshof, Paul Cluver and Zevenwacht. Also worth seeking out are Simonsig, Altydgedacht, Bergsig, Bovlei, Delheim, Villiera and Bon Courage. Let me know if I can help you locate distributors/agents in the UK. Regards Philip van Zyl, editor

  • Wushet on 03 January 2014

    Gewfcrztraminer is one of my favourite wines along with other whites from the Alsace region in france.. I love it, especially with Thai food Yum. They use this variety of grape to make a number of dessert wines, another of my favourites Don't think I've tried any produced in South Africa, let me know what you'd recommend and I'll try and find some over here in the UK.Andy x

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