40th edition of Platter’s by Diners Club International 2020 South African Wine Guide launched, with a record of 125 5-star wines!

On Friday evening I attended the launch of the 40th edition of the Diners Club International 2020 South African Wine Guide, at the Table Bay Hotel in the Waterfront, an event that is pretty much the same in format every year, yet was different this year, in the interest of making the event shorter.   

More than 8000 wines from more than 900 producers were rated for the 2020 Platter’s Wine Guide edition. Of the 125 5-star wines awarded, 26 went to Chenin Blanc brands, 18 to Shiraz/Syrah, and 11 to Chardonnay brands. 

We met in the foyer of the Banqueting Room, offered a glass of Graham Beck sparkling wine, and some canapés, of which the one with pecan nut shavings was the most creative. Mushroom and cheese tarts and pies were too similar, and not really fitting the definition of canapés. Arancini balls are everywhere, hardly special. But it was a half an hour in which we could meet with friends and acquaintances from the industry. One of these was Christiane von Arnim, representing Warwick, who looked elegantly stylish in black, and wearing a pearl choker. In general, the lady winery representatives were well-dressed, while the male ones were not. 

When the doors opened, I headed for one of the front tables, but I was told that they were for the guests of Diners Club. I was taken aback by this, especially making a point of getting to the table first. For the first time the venue had high tables and chairs. I did as I was told, but then Diners Club Executive Ethel Ntembe changed her mind, came to my table, apologised, and invited me to join her table. Wow! I had a fabulous time chatting to her, and what a surprise that she and I had eaten at the same top World’s 50 Best Restaurants in Lima two months apart this year.  

New Diners Club MD Esh Naidoo was introduced by Platter’s Publisher JP Rossouw, and he welcomed the guests, saying that he did not know that much about wine, but that ‘the easiest way to learn about it is to consume it’. As the Guide is 40 years old now, Diners Club is committed to continue shining the light on the South African wine industry. He congratulated all the 5-star wine Award winners and wished them well for the 2020 Harvest. 

Rossouw took a look back over the 40 year history of the Platter’s Guide, and acknowledged the role played by John and Erica Platter in establishing it. Taking the Platter’s a decade at a time, he illustrated the development of the wine industry as follows:

# 1980 (first) edition:  was published in English and Afrikaans, the latter being a collector’s item. A total of 1250 wines were evaluated in this edition. 

#  1990 edition: A total of 4000 wines was evaluated, of which 40 were Chardonnays. Chenin Blanc awards were overshadowed by Sauvignon Blanc ones. 

#  2000 edition: Andrew McDowall took over as publisher, and Philip van Zyl was its Editor, the latter still holding this position at least twenty years later! There were few if no iconic wines in this edition.

#  2010 edition: 6000 wines were evaluated and there were 40 5-star award wines. Sadie Family was the Winery of the Year. 

#  2020 edition: About 9000 wines were evaluated and 125 5-star wines and one brandy were awarded. There has been a huge increase in the quality of wines in the last ten years. Understanding Vineyards is now the key focus of wine estates, rather than terroir or single-Vineyards.

High quality wines are still not made in large quantities, already identified in Platter’s 2000. Wine Tourism grows in importance not only for bottle sales, but also meeting the people and seeing the spaces, telling stories about their heritage. 

Rossouw revealed the colour for the 2020 Wine  Guide, literally kept under wraps until this moment! Called Karoo Night Sky, a beautiful blue. In the interest of time keeping, given the larger number of 5-star award winners, the awards were presented by producer and not by cultivar, a producer receiving all his/her awards in one go. Photographing each of the producers and their awards took up time, still making it a long event. 

Editor Philip van Zyl explained the two-prong evaluation process of each wine, tasted sighted at the winery, followed by a blind tasting of all wines which scored 93 points or higher out of 100. A 5-star award equates to 95 and plus out of 100 points. Platter’s judges were Winnie Bowman, Greg De Bruyn, Joanne Gibson, Tim James, Angela Lloyd, Cathy Marston, Fiona McDonald, Gregory Mutambe, Christine Rudman, Dave Swingler, Cathy van Zyl, and Meryl Weaver.

Out of the 125 5-star awards, five each were presented to Mullineux Wines, and Sadie Family; Four each to David and Nadia Wines, and Rust en Vrede; and three each to the KWV, Tokara, and to Kanonkop 

Rossouw is quoted as follows about the quality and credibility of the Platter’s 5-star wine rating in the media statement received over the weekend: ‘Our warm congratulations to all! These represent the pinnacle of South Africas wines, as all were highly rated in the initial sighted review and then went into a second round of tasting where they were assessed against their peers. Since this second round was conducted blind (without sight of the label), the stringency of this model means that our 5-star wines truly proved themselves as being best-of-best’. 

 

Three Top Platter’s Awards went to the following wine estates:

  1.  Editors Award Winery of the Year 2020: Boekenhoutskloof Winery, ‘as editor Philip van Zyls personal commendation of this stellar producers unrelenting focus on crafting wines that are not only superlative but also produced with enough consistency, depth and scale to be significant internationally’. The Award was received by Marc Kent.
  2. Newcomer Winery of the Year 2020: recognising ‘the cellar that records the best results as a firsttime participant in the guide. This honour goes to specialist sparklingwine producer Pieter Ferreira Cap Classique. While certainly no newcomer as a winemaker, Pieter Ferreiras brandnew wine label is off to a flying start with a 97-point rating for his debut Blanc de Blancs 2012 méthode cap classique’.  The Award was received by Ann Ferreira. 
  3. Top Performing Winery of the Year 2020: presented to  Mullineux, ‘giving this Swartland-based powerhouse an incredible and record-breaking fourth title as Platters Winery of the Year. In the new guideMullineux achieve a remarkable five 5-star ratings plus two Wines of the Year their Granite Syrah 2017 and Straw Wine 2018’. The Award was received by Andrea and Chris Mullineux.

After the award certificates had been presented, we moved into another hotel venue, where the 125 wines were open and ready for tasting by the 200 plus guests attending the Platter’s Wine Guide 2020 launch. 

 

Below is a listing of the Wines of the Year, the top wine brand/s per cultivar, followed by the list of the 125 5-star awarded wines:

 

Platter’s 2020 Wines of the Year

The highest-scoring 5-star wines in their category represented the Platter’s Wines of the Year.  In some of the categories the accolade was shared. The Wines of the Year are:

Cabernet Franc

Anthonij Rupert 2013

De Trafford 2015

Raats 2017

Cabernet Sauvignon

Rust en Vrede Single Vineyard 2016

Cinsaut

Bosman Twyfeling 2017

Savage Follow the Line 2018

Grenache Noir

Sadie Soldaat 2018

Merlot

Shannon Mount Bullet 2016

Pinotage

Flagstone Time Manner Place 2017

Pinot Noir

Storm Ignis 2017

Shiraz/Syrah

Mullineux Granite Syrah 2017

Red Blends, Cape Bordeaux

Van Biljon Cinq 2015

Red Blends, with Pinotage

Beyerskloof Faith 2015

Red Blends, Shiraz/Syrah-based

Erika Obermeyer Erika O Syrah-Grenache Noir-Cinsault 2018

Rust en Vrede 1694 Classification 2016

Saronsberg Full Circle 2017

Red Blends, Other

Rust en Vrede Estate 2016

Chardonnay

Leeu Passant Stellenbosch 2017

Restless River Ava Marie 2017

Chenin Blanc

Rall Ava 2018

Grenache Blanc

The Foundry 2018

Sauvignon Blanc

Trizanne Sondagskloof Blanc Fumé 2018

Semillon

Anthonij Rupert Laing Groendruif 2016

Rickety Bridge The Pilgrimage 2017

Viognier

Ridgeback 2018

White Blends, Cape Bordeaux

Delaire Graff White Reserve 2017

White Blends, Other

Sadie Palladius 2017

Méthode Cap Classique

Pieter Ferreira Blanc de Blancs 2012

Natural Sweet

Klein Constantia Vin de Constance 2015

Laibach 2019

Noble Late Harvest

Buitenverwachting 1769 / 2017

Tokara 2017

Vin de Paille

Mullineux Straw Wine 2018

Port-style

Boplaas Cape Vintage Reserve 2017

Upland Cape Tawny 2014

Brandy

KWV Centenary

 

Platter’s 2020 5-Star Wines

The 5-star wines (95 points and higher) in Platter’s South African Wine Guide 2020 are:

Cabernet Franc

Anthonij Rupert 2013

De Trafford 2015

Raats 2017

Cabernet Sauvignon

Erika Obermeyer Erika O 2017

Kanonkop 2015

Kleine Zalze Vineyard Selection 2017

Miles Mossop CWG Auction Reserve Maximilian 2014

Rust en Vrede Single Vineyard 2016

Wade Bales Regional Series Stellenbosch 2017

Cinsaut

Bosman Twyfeling 2017

Savage Follow the Line 2018

Grenache Noir

Sadie Soldaat 2018

Merlot

Shannon Mount Bullet 2016

Thelema Reserve 2016

Pinotage

Beeslaar 2017

Beyerskloof Diesel 2017

Diemersdal Reserve 2018

Flagstone Time Manner Place 2017

Kanonkop Black Label 2017

Pinot Noir

Crystallum Mabalel 2018

Storm Ignis 2018

Storm Ignis 2017

Shiraz/Syrah

Blackwater Cultellus Syrah 2017

Boekenhoutskloof CWG Auction Reserve Syrah 2017

Boekenhoutskloof Syrah 2017

Cederberg Shiraz 2017

De Grendel Elim Shiraz 2017

Dorrance Syrah Cuvée Ameena 2017

Gabriëlskloof Syrah on Shale 2017

Leeuwenkuil Heritage Syrah 2017

Mullineux Granite Syrah 2017

Mullineux Iron Syrah 2017

Mullineux Schist Syrah Roundstone 2017

Patatsfontein Sons of Sugarland Syrah 2018

Rall Ava Syrah 2018

Reyneke Biodynamic Reserve Red 2017

Rust en Vrede Single Vineyard Syrah 2016

Savage Red 2017

Super Single Vineyards Mount Sutherland Continental Syrah 2016

Van Loggerenberg Graft 2018

Red Blends, Cape Bordeaux

De Trafford CWG Auction Reserve Perspective 2017

Glenelly Lady May 2014

Hidden Valley Hidden Gems 2016

Kanonkop Paul Sauer 2016

Tokara Director’s Reserve Red 2015

Van Biljon Cinq 2015

Vergelegen GVB 2014

Red Blends, with Pinotage

Beyerskloof Faith 2015

Kaapzicht Vision 2017

Red Blends, Shiraz/Syrah-based

Erika Obermeyer Erika O Syrah-Grenache Noir-Cinsault 2018

Rust en Vrede 1694 Classification 2016

Saronsberg Full Circle 2017

Red Blends, Other

De Trafford Elevation 393 2013

Glenelly Reserve Red 2014

Rust en Vrede Estate 2016

Chardonnay

Capensis Silene 2017

Hamilton Russell 2018

Jordan CWG Auction Reserve 2018 (right)

Leeu Passant CWG Radicales Libres 2014

Leeu Passant Stellenbosch 2017

Oak Valley Groenlandberg 2018

Restless River Ava Marie 2017

Rhebokskloof Sandstone Grove 2017

Richard Kershaw Clonal Selection Elgin 2018

Richard Kershaw GPS Series Lower Duivenhoks River 2018

Warwick The White Lady 2018

Chenin Blanc

AA Badenhorst Kelder Steen 2018

AA Badenhorst Dassiekop Steen 2018

Alheit Magnetic North 2018

ArtiSons The Mothership 2018

Axle 2018

Beaumont Hope Marguerite 2018

Botanica Mary Delany 2018

David & Nadia 2018 (left)

David & Nadia Hoë-Steen 2018

David & Nadia Plat’bos 2018

David & Nadia Skaliekop 2018

Gabriëlskloof Elodie 2018

Kleine Zalze Family Reserve 2018

Kruger Family Wines Old Vines 2018

Longridge Ou Steen Enkel Wingerd 2017

Metzer & Holfeld Montane 2018

Mount Abora Koggelbos 2017

Raats Eden High Density Single Vineyard 2018

Rall Ava 2018

Sadie Mev Kirsten 2018

Sadie Skurfberg 2018

Spier 21 Gables 2018

Stellenrust 54 Barrel Fermented 2018

Stellenrust Old Bushvine 2018

Thistle & Weed Duwweltjie 2018

Van Loggerenberg Kameradarie 2018

Grenache Blanc

KWV The Mentors 2017

The Foundry 2018

Sauvignon Blanc

Neil Ellis Amica 2018

Tokara Reserve 2018

Trizanne Signature Sondagskloof Blanc Fumé 2018

Semillon

Anthonij Rupert Cape of Good Hope Laing Groendruif 2016

Rickety Bridge The Pilgrimage 2017

Viognier

Ridgeback 2018

White Blends, Cape Bordeaux

Cape Point Isliedh 2018

Delaire Graff White Reserve 2017

Groot Constantia Gouverneurs Reserve 2017

White Blends, Other

B Vintners Harlem to Hope 2018

Leeuwenkuil Reserve White 2017

Mullineux Old Vines 2018

Rall White 2018

Sadie Palladius 2017

Sadie ‘T Voetpad 2018

Thorne & Daughters Rocking Horse 2018

Méthode Cap Classique

Bon Courage Jacques Bruére Cuvée Brut Rosé 2011

Le Lude Agrafe 2013

Le Lude Vintage Magnum 2013

Pieter Ferreira Blanc de Blancs 2012

Saltare Blanc de Noirs Cuvée Camille NV

Natural Sweet

Klein Constantia Vin de Constance 2015

Laibach 2019

Noble Late Harvest

Buitenverwachting 1769 / 2017

Tokara 2017

Vin de Paille

Fairview La Beryl Blanc 2018

Mullineux Straw Wine 2018

Port-style

Boplaas Cape Vintage Reserve 2017

De Krans Cape Vintage Reserve 2017

KWV Cape Tawny NV

Upland Cape Tawny 2014

Brandy

KWV 10 Year Old Vintage

KWV 12 Year Old Barrel Select

KWV 15 Year Old Alambic

KWV 20 Year Old

KWV Nexus

KWV Centenary

Van Ryn 12 Year Distillers Reserve

Van Ryn 15 Year Fine Cask Reserve

Van Ryn 20 Year Collectors Reserve

Husk Spirit

Dalla Cia 10 Year Old Celebration Cabernet

Sauvignon-Merlot

 

Chris von Ulmenstein, WhaleTales Blog: www.chrisvonulmenstein.com/blog Tel +27 082 55 11 323 Twitter:@Ulmenstein Facebook: Chris von Ulmenstein Instagram: @Chrissy_Ulmenstein

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.