Cape White and Red Bordeaux and Rhone Blends, Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Pinot Noir, Dessert Wines and Cape Ports again received the highest average point scores.
Shiraz shows the most wines (55) in the GWC, followed by Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc and Cape Bordeaux blends all in the upper forties.
The success of Cape Rhone Red Blends further adds to the stronghold for Shiraz. This blend has certainly much potential to excel further with a wide spread coming from various regions. Grenache is gaining more attention as a single cultivar wine but Malbec is still slow to follow.
Chardonnay, also called the noblest white grape variety, Succeeds in a number of styles, from un-oaked to richly oaked. It remains one of the GWC drivers while being a favourite for blending in Méthode Cap Classic sparkling wines.
Chenin Blanc had very fine performances showing interesting style differences. It shows the same versatility as a leader in blended wines too. This has become a category that are noticeably excelling.
Next to follow in terms of the success table is Cape Red Bordeaux Blends. This cross-regional blend of the Bordeaux type blend in France, acts like Cape Rhône blends, to combine different virtues into a wine which at its best, is greater than the sum of its parts is well exploited locally to be another stronghold here.
Sauvignon Blanc is the third main white wine cultivar and also part of the tradition in defining South African wines. Its
representation in the GWC is less strong than Chardonnay or Chenin Blanc, also in points averages.
However, where Sauvignon Blanc does show its metal is in White Wine Rhone Blends in combination with Semillon. This is a category which could convert more wines into the 95+ class tier.
There are other single cultivar white wines also showing up in much smaller numbers like before, including the traditional Cape Riesling and Gewürtstraminer. It is rather Semillon and Viognier that show the potential to see many more wines being ranked.
Other white wine blends combined only have two representative wines in the GWC and seems not yet to attract serious attention as this remains an all sorts category.
Up next is for bragging rights is Pinot Noir which is very terroir specific and particularly excels in the unique Hermanus and Elgin soil types. It once again showed up an exceptional performance.
The top 10 list here seems not to deviate much but for others on the brink of making the rankings almost ready to show true muscle too.
So, what is next? Well, there is no simple definition of a dessert wine but it includes many made from a grape what is called in a state of noble rot. The position of this category here could be expected given the variety of this wine style that all other countries share.
Now to turn to Cabernet Sauvignon which, along with a few other red wine cultivars, used to be in some way the traditional
backbone of the industry here. Today it still fills the biggest portion of hectares planted but happens to have half the numbers than Shiraz in the GWC.
This could partly be ascribed to the fact that like elsewhere it rather does better in red wine blends, although not really as a leading cultivar outside Bordeaux blends.
Merlot shows the same tendency as Cabernet While specifically sensitive to drought and high temperatures, it just seems not to be a meaningful contributor as a single cultivar to the success of SA’s ’fine wine’ story apart from its role in Bordeaux blends.
While Merlot contributes less than half of its production to single cultivar wines, this shouldn’t provide a negative reflection about how good some examples are.
Pinotage is the hallmark of South Africa’s own wine variety. Its vineyards are the 5th most planted grape here. It has in fact the highest average score in the GWC but only 32 wines represented or less than 7% of the GWC wines with a much smaller selection to choose from.
The general name for Cape Blends refers to Pinotage led wine examples and is perhaps the least exiting success story. This is a wine which can be preferred as a personal choice as there are indeed great examples around and the low numbers shouldn’t be merely discarded.
Méthode Cap Classic Sparkling Wines show good growth and is expected that many more will convert into the 95+. However, while there is ample activity in this category, results are bound to improve further.
The list of Cape Port represented in the GWC hasn’t changed much with the position of top contender changing regularly amongst the top three producers who each shows several examples in the GWC.
Brandies are another of the categories to be proud of. Not only does it regularly outperform others being selected as the world’s best. The strongest challenge often comes from own shores.