Monthly Archives: May 2015

SA Does Traditional Varieties Well

Mulderbosch Vineyards Barrel Fermented ChardonnayWriting for the TheTimes-Tribune.com on 13 May, David Falchek writes positively about the value of the South African varieties, Pinotage and Chenin Blanc (read the article here). He points out that as of 2013, the largest consumer of wine, the USA, accounts for only 6% of our exports. He suggests South African wine should feature more prominently. All-in-all we tend to agree.

But, David’s piece does include this: If someone doesn’t buy into pinotage or chenin, then South Africa will become the source of another cabernet sauvignon or chardonnay. South Africa can do those international varieties well, but the world doesn’t really need more of them. As far as we’re concerned, the world needs the best wines of every variety, even Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay – especially those from South Africa.

We hope that those who take David’s advice to stock up on the Mulderbosch Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 Rosé don’t miss the fact that Mulderbosch has a SAWi Grand Wine to its name… the Mulderbosch Vineyards Barrel Fermented Chardonnay. Why not try it, and let him know what he’s missing?

The SAWi Approach


There’s no shortage of wine competitions and reviews these days – and while each has credibility in its own right, it is remarkable how often the same wine is judged differently.

The result is that wine consumers are usually forced to rely on a multitude of wine results, interspersed with a diversity of competition structures every year. As annual results often appear to be little more than once-off subjective opinions, and tend to change remarkably, it leaves the majority of wine lovers somewhat confused.

This is where SAWi is able to help. The SAWi methodology compares and condenses results from 84 multinational competitions, reviews and listings, acknowledging the nature of the competition and additional accolades bestowed on a wine, and expresses this as a single number out of 100.

In other words, the SAWi system distills the collective wisdom of a multitude of authoritative wine competitions and wine reviews into a single point score which is consistent and drowns out much of the subjective noise of various judging panels. Through SAWi’s Mathematical algorithm patterns are recognized making it easy to distinguish wines which are consistently accepted as exceptional. Most importantly, it allows a comparison of like with like.

Highly rated SAWi wines have special value, especially given the rolling nature of rankings over multiple years of judgment. The SAWi rating sets an aspirational benchmark for quality and brings together top producers under a new brand concept promoting South Africa as a collective.

In this way, SAWi showcases top South African wines, and will continue to support excellence in wine making as the catalyst for progress and development.

Pinotage – Our Signature Red

Rijks Private Cellar PinotageJohn Lewis, in Australia’s Newcastle Herald on May 12, has an interesting piece on the Pinotage produced by the Kirkby Topper’s Mountain winery, in the New England wine region.

The article is more about Kirkby than Pinotage, but it does include this quotable quote (albeit somewhat dated given the attention our local Pinotages have received in the last few years):

Pinotage is a hardy variety that is often scorned as being coarse with ‘‘a flamboyantly sweetish, paint-like pungency’’ and ‘‘either South Africa’s signature red or its worst vinous ambassador’’.

If you’re interested in some good examples of great South African Pinotage – our “signature red”, try the following from the SAWi Grand Wines Collection:
Beyerskloof Diesel Pinotage | Diemersdal Pinotage Reserve | Doolhof Signatures of Doolhof Pinotage | Kaapzicht Estate Steytler Pinotage | Kanonkop Estate Pinotage | Rijks Private Cellar Pinotage | Stellenzicht Golden Triangle Pinotage

SA CHENIN BLANC SHINES

2013 Kleine Zalze Family Reserve Chenin Blanc iAfrica.com reported yesterday (11 May) that Johan Joubert’s 2013 Kleine Zalze Family Reserve Chenin Blanc was named the best white at this year’s Concours Mondial de Bruxelles. The wine was produced from bush vines near Stellenbosch.

According to the article “Bush vines are less productive than trellised vines because they afford a greater canopy of leaf coverage to the fruit. But their advocates say the lower yield is worth it because the berries have much thicker skins and therefore produce more concentrated flavours.

More than 320 experts from more than 50 countries chose the winning wine at the 22nd edition of the competition, which was founded in Belgium in 1994 and has been hosted in different European countries since 2006.

Joubert has been a strong advocate of South African producers moving towards more concentrated chenin blanc wines, rather than relying on mass market sales of lighter and cheaper versions.

Since making the award-winning wine at Kleine Zalze he has moved on to work for Boland Cellar in the Western Cape town of Paarl, where he is also winning plaudits for his chenin blanc.”

South African Chenin Blanc is well-represented within the SA Wine Index Grand Wines Collection – and it is no surprise to see the 2013 Kleine Zalze Family Reserve Chenin Blanc rake in yet another accolade. It’s what we expect from a SAWi Grande Wine.

Chenin Blanc wines in the current Grand Wines Collection include:
Beaumont Wines Hope Marguerite Chenin Blanc | Cederberg Private Cellar Five Generations Chenin Blanc | De Morgenzon Chenin Blanc | Jean Daneel Wines Chenin Blanc | Jordan Wine Estate Chenin Blanc | Ken Forrester Wines The FMC Chenin Blanc | Kleine Zalze Wines Cellar Selection Chenin Blanc Bush Vines | Kleine Zalze Wines Vineyard Selection Chenin Blanc Barrel Fermented | Raats Family Old Vines Chenin Blanc | Rijks Private Cellar Chenin Blanc | Spier Private Collection Chenin Blanc | Nederburg Wines Edelkeur Chenin Blanc Noble Late Harvest | Nederburg Wines Wine master’s Reserve Noble Late Harvest Chenin Blanc Muscat de Frontignan