Tag Archives: GWC

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.

Franschhoek Uncorked 2016


Franschhoek hosts the Franschhoek Uncorked festival on 24 and 25 September and a number of the 18 participating wineries have wines listed in the SAWi Grand Wines Collection.

The 18 wineries (as listed on the official Franschhoek Uncorked Festival programme) and their respective GWC wines, where relevant are:
1. Noble Hill
2. Plaisir de Merle
3. Allée Bleue – Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot, Chenin Blanc, Pinotage, Shiraz
4. Boschendal – Reserve Syrah, MCC Brut, Reserve Collection Sauvignon Blanc
5. Anthonij Rupert Wyne
6. Lynx Wines – Shiraz, Viognier
7. Topiary Wines & La Chataigne
8. Maison Estate
9. Leopard’s Leap Family Vineyards
10. GlenWood – Vigneron’s Selection Chardonnay
11. Rickety Bridge – Foundation Stone Red, Paulina’s Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
12. Grande Provence – Chardonnay, The Grand Provence Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon
13. Mont Rochelle
14. Black Elephant Vintners
15. Dieu Donné – Cabernet Sauvignon
16. Haute Cabrière
17. La Bri
18. Boekenhoutskloof – Chocolate Block, Cabernet Sauvignon Franschhoek, Semillon Franschhoek, Syrah (Coastal region), Syrah Franschhoek

While we’re not suggesting that the wineries with GWC wines will have those wines available for tasting as part of the festival programme, we are sure you’ll get a sense of why they’ve managed to achieve at a consistently high level to earn a place on the list, should you visit them.

Feel free to share your weekend experience(s) of the Franschhoek GWC producers via a comment to this post.

We drink: Cape Chamonix Wine Farm Chardonnay Reserve

Cape Chamonix Wine Farm is a SAWi 2015 High-End White Wine Producer of the Year Finalist, with an average of 93.80 for its top three scoring whites. The Cape Chamonix Wine Farm Chardonnay Reserve scored 96.9 points in 2015, earning SAWi Platinum status. We taste the 2013 vintage as an example of the producer’s white wines portfolio.

The wine is a pale staw colour. Delicate hints of tropical fruit, banana, bitter marmalade and apricot skin appear on the nose, with the pleasing effects of lees contact and 14 months of oaking also evident.

The wine is well-balanced and almost full-bodied with all the scent-suggested flavours, but somewhat subdued. These subtle flavours are bound to develop over the next couple of years, so it’s advisable to delay drinking it now; if possible. Given this it’s best enjoyed on its own or with mild flavoured foods.

The finish is good, leaving hints of lime and that intriguing apricot skin.

Accolades (according to the chamonix.co.za website)
Decanter World Wine Award 2014
Taj Classic Wine – Chardonnay Reserve 2012
SA Top 100 wines – Chardonnay Reserve 2012
Taj Classic Wine – Chardonnay Reserve 2011
Gold Medal at Six Nations Wine Challenge
John Platter 5 stars 2013
John Platter 4½ stars 2012
John Platter 4½ stars 2011
Old Mutual Wine Awards, Trophy for Museum Class 2010
Gold, Tri Nations International Wine Show 2009
Gold Medal Santam Classic Wine Trophy 2009
Old Mutual Wine Awards, Trophy for Museum Class 2008

See technical and other details here.

We Drink: Constantia Glen Three

Contantia Glen is a stone’s throw from the Cape Town city centre, just below the Constantia Nek, in South Africa’s oldest wine producing region.

The estate produces four wines, two whites – a Sauvignon Blanc and a Sauvignon Blanc/Sémillon blend, and two reds – both Bordeaux blends, respectively. Constantia Glen is SAWi 2015 High-End Red Wine Producer of the Year Finalist, with an average of 94.22 for its two reds, and a SAWi 2015 High-End Overall Wine Producer of the Year Finalist, averaging 95.08. The Contantia Glen Sauvignon Blanc and Constantia Glen Three are both SAWi 2015 Platinum Award recipients.

The Constantia Glen Three is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot. The cool coastal climate yields beautifully ripened fruit which is batch vinified. While the 2011 vintage is drinking well, this is a wine to keep for a while and will certainly express its true value with a few more years in the cellar.

Expect lots of dark berries on the nose, with the Merlot distinctive.

Dark fruit flavours dominate the palate, and despite its relative youth, the tannins are well-integrated. There is a pleasant spiciness to the wine which, together with the wine’s superb structure and 14.5% alcohol, points to a fabulous foil to robust flavoured foods.

The excellent mouth-feel gives way to a lingering finish that will hold up well to venison/red meats, smoked food, a hearty stew or another glassful…

Accolades (from http://www.constantiaglen.com/wines/)

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

We Drink: Raats Old Vine Chenin Blanc 2013

nullRaats Family Wines is a SAWi 2015 High-End White Wine Producer of the Year Finalist, with an average of 93.86 for its top three scoring whites. The Raats Original Chenin Blanc scored 92.8 points in 2015, earning SAWi Grand Gold status. We taste the Raats Old Vine Chenin Blanc 2013 as an example of the producer’s white wines portfolio.

This is a fantastic wine and an excellent example of the often-missed (in SA) value and potential complexity of Chenin Blanc.

In the glass the wine is striking, with a beautiful golden straw colour and distinct notes of pear, white peach and nettles on the nose. As the wine warms, tropical aromas are evident with citrus obvious and just a hint of spice.

With 30% of the wine aged in French oak for 9 months, and the additional 2 months lees-contact the oaked and unoaked components enjoy before bottling, the wine is noticeably full bodied and almost creamy, without masking any of the inherent Chenin Blanc fruitiness.

On the palate the wine exhibits tropical and stone fruit, citrus peel and ginger. There’s an enticing liqourice flavour prominent when inhaling after swallowing. The wine exhibits a perfect medium acidity, leading to a pleasing lingering mineral/lime finish.

The wine is perfect on its own, served cold, and is complex enough to be enjoyed with food – particularly a mild curry/spiced chicken or prawn dish, rocket-based salad, gammon or butternut soup.

Raats Old Vine Chenin Blanc 2013 costs R234 per bottle from Wine.co.za.

Accolades (according to the Raats.co.za website)
2013 – scored 90 points by Stephen Tanzer (June 2015).
2013 – 4½ stars John Platter 2015.
2013 – scored 92 points by Neal Martin from The Wine Advocate (0ct 2014).
2012 – scored 89 points by Wine Spectator (August 2014).
2012 – scored 93 points by Tim Atkin (July 2014).
2012 – 4½ stars John Platter 2014.
2012 – scored 89 points by Neal Martin from The Wine Advocate (October 2013).
2011 – scored 91 points by Wine Enthusiast (July 2014).

See technical and other details here.