Tag Archives: Grand Wines Collection

The South African Grand Wines Collection – Update November 2016


The South African Wine Index is proud to present a biannual update to the first SAWi South African Wine Ranking List, previously published in June 2016. The South African Wine Ranking List identifies South Africa’s top performing wines using the SAWi multi-vintage ‘Algorithm of Excellence’, and these top wines are presented as a collective referred to as the South African Grand Wines Collection (GWC).

SAWi’s unique ‘Algorithm of Excellence’ is applied to measure the performance of individual wines across a minimum of three vintages, and compares and condenses the results from more than 100 multinational competitions, ratings, reviews and listings (acknowledging the nature of the competitions and any additional accolades bestowed on the wine) over a rolling period of ten years, and expresses this as a single value out of 100. The Grand Wines Collection only features wines that achieve 93 or more index points.

As the ranking process considers a wine’s performance over a relatively long period, whole-scale changes to the South African Wine Ranking List are never expected, particularly when considering the top performing wines. This update does, however, highlight considerable movement within certain cultivar or wine style categories, and several newly ranked wines have entered the Grand Wines Collection.

Highlights of the latest update include:
• Tremendous overall movement within the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir categories, with a 54% increase in the number of wines that qualify for inclusion;
• Noticeable overall movement within White Blends (+50%), Bordeaux Blends, Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinotage categories (+44%), followed by Rhone Blends (+34%);
• Some 40 wines, previously scoring just below 93 index points, have joined the GWC and two wines have fallen off the list;
• 57 new wines stand poised to join the GWC;
• There were no additions to the Viognier and MCC categories, and very few to the Semillon, Red Blends, Merlot, Cape Blends, Dessert/Fortified Wines, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc categories;
• The Shiraz category is the biggest with 87 ranked wines, followed by Bordeaux Blends, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinotage and Chenin Blanc, respectively;
• The Rhone Blends, Red Blends and Sauvignon Blanc categories exhibited the greatest movement within the Top Ten and Top Five subsets.

This ranking update lends weight to the reputations of the mainstay of the South African wine industry, but it also highlights that things are changing. The strong standing in the industry of some leading cultivars of the past seems to have become relatively tenuous and the sheer number of consistently excelling wines suggests that there are no longer any single pinnacle varieties.

With the SAWi indexing process recognised as the ultimate quality benchmark for South African wines, the South African Wine Ranking List represents the best wines in this country.

Visit www.sawineindex.com for more information and the full Grand Wines Collection list.

Competition Matters | Faster than Usain Bolt

My 8-year-old son is convinced that his best friend’s older brother is the second fastest man alive, after Usain Bolt. That said brother is 12, and runs a 100-metre sprint in just about enough time to allow Bolt to win his race, sign autographs and complete a press conference, is beside the point; to one adoring fan it’s only a matter of time before I hear the words “He’s faster than Usain Bolt!” and there’s a new champion atop the winner’s podium.

Until then, Usain Bolt has proved that he’s worthy of his place as the top-ranked 100-metre sprinter in the world – that despite recording only the 8th fastest time this year (tied with South African, Wayde van Niekerk, 2 places below another South African, Akani Simbine), and with everything to prove at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

“But we don’t do competitions,” was a common cry some years ago, when I asked a handful of producers about their international status – partly for some background work I was doing for an article in a local publication, and partly to interrogate the validity of the SA Wine Index, to which I had just been introduced.

The truth is every producer that puts a bottle on the table – whether mine or anyone else’s – is “doing competition”. Should the wine not be as good as that of ‘the competition’, the second bottle on the table will bear a different producer’s mark.

With social media being what it is, and the ready access we have to many sources of commentary about practically every wine sold and consumed at present (with ratings from stars to thumbs to glasses, or points out of 5 or 20 or 100) no-one can claim that they are above, or outside of, the competition circuit. They may not compete formally; but compete they do.

The SA Wine Index is unique in that it considers the multi-vintage performance of every South African wine across more than 100 national and international competitions, ratings, listings and reviews. The majority of these are listed on the sawineindex.com website, and any new and noteworthy platform that serves to make a statement about a wine’s performance or value is considered by the Index.

The Index aggregates the wine’s various multi-vintage performances, using a complex but not complicated algorithm that weights the various competitions and rewards best in class performances as well as consistency over a rolling 10-year window. The result is a single point score that definitively separates the athletes from the older brothers, and which provides a reliable measure of the true class of the wine.

And while The Olympic Games stands ahead of other competitions when it comes to any self-respecting athlete proving his or her worth, it’s not the only measure. Rather, while coveting an Olympic medal, athletes look to the IAAF rankings to properly indicate where they stand. In the same way, the SA Wine Index leads the wine world in its ability to definitively identify South Africa’s finest wines.

The 2016 SAWi Awards take place on 18 June 2016, when the South African Wine Index celebrates the exceptional performances of the county’s finest wines, and releases the South African ‘Grand Wines Collection’ ranking of South Africa’s top performing wines

@SAWineIndex | 2016 SAWi Wine Excellence Awards | 18 June 2016 | Grootbos Private Nature Reserve | @Grootbos

“Fine Wines Are Effectively Recession Proof”

In an article on InvestorIdeas.com, Jason Phillips, shares some investment insight, including a focus on wine investment. Here’s an excerpt (or read the article here):

Fine wine – a popular alternative investment that can’t be overlooked

There are many different types of collectable investments; the most common ones are coins, violins and wine. Wine has become one of the most popular alternative investments as it has been shown to provide better returns over the last twenty years than many of the more traditional investment vessels. Part of the recent increase in interest is the belief that fine wines are effectively recession proof; this is, unfortunately, only true if you are able to hold onto the wine for the long term.

The premium wines are still the French wines, predominantly Burgundy’s, Bordeaux and the Rhone Valley. However, there are also some excellent quality wines arriving from Italy and Spain; even South Africa and California are starting to produce investment quality wines.

While we’re not qualified to offer investment advice, we’re confident that money spent on any of the wines that feature in the SAWi Ambassadors Collection, or the SAWi Grand Wines Collection, will be well spent – whether now or in years to come.

Why the Grand Wines Collection Matters

Following the release of the SAWi 2015 Wine Awards Report, Minister Alan Winde, MEC of Economic Opportunities in the Western Cape, labelled the SA Wine Index as “an excellent benchmark for the wine industry.” He went on to say: “It showcases South Africa’s highest quality wines. I’m pleased to see that Western Cape wine farms have through the Index at last received the recognition they deserve”. Read the media statement here.

This excellent endorsement serves to underline the true value of the South African Wine Index – it exists to identify and promote South Africa as a producer of quality wines, able to hold its own on the international vinous stage.

The South African Wine Index is unique in that it distils the collective wisdom of 84 authoritative multi-national wine competitions, reviews and listings to present a single point score representing the perceived value of a wine, stripped of the subjective noise of various judging panels. As such, SAWi can legitimately claim to identify South Africa’s best wines.

These best wines, collectively referred to as the ‘Grand Wines Collection’, constitute an exciting new South African wine calling card and a convincing national benchmark for quality. In addition, the Index has succeeded in pulling together a diverse group of leading role players under one banner.

Within the ‘Grand Wines Collection’ there is scope for further banding according to region, style, Index value etc. This creates a number of marketable sub-sets that each encompass wines of outstanding complexity and consistent character; making them worth a special effort to find, purchase and enjoy.

SAWi’s ground-breaking indexing methodology gives wine enthusiasts the ability to consistently choose sterling wines with ease and confidence. Since this approach is not applied anywhere else in the world, this credible procedure for adjudicating wine quality is set to change perspectives and create global awareness about the sensational local wines South Africa produces.

Using the ‘Grand Wines Collection’, South Africa is able to confidently market itself as a premier international wine producer. Similarly, the world now has access to the finest South African wines, in one collection.

See the full Grand Wines Collection at www.SAWineIndex.com

Why A ‘South African Grand Wines Collection’?

We’ve had a few SAWi followers ask about the motivation for SAWi to compile the SA Grand Wines Collection… Here it is:

The ‘South African Grand Wines Collection’ stands as an independent brand, with SAWi only taking the initiative to bolster the perceptions about the country’s top wines. The brand will be marketed directly and exposed to high profile individuals, influencers and connoisseurs.

Rather than being selected by a panel, tasting a number of top wines, a particular wine is selected based on the result of its exposure to any of the 84 national and international wine competitions and or listings that qualify for indexing. The result is based on the wine’s rating performance over multi-vintage periods and reflects a variety of opinions, in one score.

The Index stems from the development of a system a number of years ago to reliably quantify the perceived quality and value of a wine. In the years since it was first introduced, the Index has gained traction in South Africa as a reliable and accurate tool that accommodates the often-criticised vagaries of traditional wine competitions and represents an aspirational benchmark of quality.

In the course of indexing the wines of SAWi members, comprising almost 20 000 vintages, the Index brought to light a very small number of truly exceptional South African wines, referred to as the ‘SAWi Ambassadors Collection’, with a rating of 95 or above, out of 100. Less than 40 wines have achieved this particular accolade.

Driven by a desire to highlight the exceptional nature of South African wines, SAWi went a step further and applied its indexing methodology to data available for ALL qualifying wines produced in South Africa, including wines of non SAWi members. Wines that achieved a rating of 93 or higher were then included in the ‘South African Grand Wines Collection’.

‘Grand Wines’ (or the French ‘Grand Vin’) are commonly regarded as the best a producer has to offer – showing a level of intellectual or emotional stimulation able to capture the consumer’s imagination and intrigue, if not delight, the palate. As such, a ‘Grand Wine’ is not restricted to a particular area, style or wine-making philosophy, but rather simply stands ahead of its peers as a wine that exhibits the best on offer, in the best possible way.

The result is not simply a list of great South African wines, but a collection that commands the attention of the world, being very close to the very best South Africa has to offer. The ‘South African Grand Wines Collection’ is undoubtedly as close to a complete and unbiased list of top achieving wines as it is possible to come. Using the ‘South African Grand Wines Collection’ the stage is set for South Africa to showcase its finest wines to the world’s luxury consumers.

See the current list here, and let us know what you think! The upcoming SAWi Wine Awards at Grootbos Private Nature Reserve on 20 June 2015 will see an update to the Grand Wines Collection – so be sure to bookmark the page and visit it again.

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?

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