After many years of criticism about their quality of wines and terroir, the Franschhoek Vignerons have vindicated themselves, with Chamonix and Boekenhoutskloof named Red Wine of the Year (Cape Chamonix Reserve Pinot Noir 2010) and Winery of the Year, respectively, in the Platter’s South African Wines 2012, at The Vineyard Hotel last night. In addition, Boekenhoutskloof’s The Wolftrap White 2010 was named Superquaffer of the Year. Badsberg Badslese 2009 was named the White Wine of the Year. Nine of the 45 five-star wines are from Franschhoek this year, the highest number ever.
The Platter’s Guide, with a ‘Karoo sunshine yellow‘ cover, as described by publisher Andrew McDowall, has 620 pages, with 56 more wineries and 1000 more wines evaluated than the 2011 edition. More than 7000 wines were tasted by 15 judges, which included David Biggs, Christiaan Eedes, Michael Fridjhon, Tim James, Angela Lloyd (her 26th year of judging), Fiona McDonald, Jörg Pfützner, Christine Rudman, and Cathy van Zyl.
In its motivation for choosing Boekenhoutskloof as the Winery of the Year, Platter’s Guide wrote as follows: “For their remarkable 14 five star ratings stretching back to our 2000 edition – which featured the Syrah 1997, a stylistic window opener for the local industry and one of the most important wines of the modern South African era – and for their understated but highly influential role in placing South Africa in the international fine-fine (sic) map, we name Boekenhoutskloof our 2012 Winery of the Year. Whilst some top achievers shy away from the entry level, Boekenhoutskloof co-founder and cellarmaster Marc Kent and his partners almost from the outset embraced the popular palate, first with their Porcupine Ridge label and latterly with another exceptionally drinkable and well-priced range, The Wolftrap. The White version of this budget offering is this edition’s Superquaffer of the Year – yet another reason for us to honour and congratulate this consistently exceptional Franschhoek team”. Both Boekenhoutskloof’s Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah 2009 were awarded five stars in the latest Platter’s.
Badsberg is based in Rawsonville and its Badslese 2009, presented in a beautiful bottle, is described by Platter’s as ‘…outstanding elegantly presented Natural Sweet dessert from chenin. 09 great concentration & spread of flavour, from floral to spicy, huge sweetness concludes on a tangy savoury/leafy note, which is uncloying & decidely moreish. With 10% hanepoot, unwooded’. The Chamonix Pinot Noir Reserve 2010 was described as follows: “…shows savoury cedar whiffs, with bright cherry & strawberry aromas powering through tealeaf cigarbox spice. Plush tannins, sweet berry notes. Integrated 80% new French oak, natural ferment. Even more vibrant & detailed than finely managed ’09”. Gottfried Mocke is the winemaker and cellarmaster at Chamonix in Franschhoek.
Forty-five wines were selected as 5 star wines, in a blind tasting of all 5-star candidates, a methodology following continued criticism of Platter’s sighted wine evaluation from wine writers such as Neil Pendock. The full list of 2012 5-star wines, with three each for Boekenhoutskloof, Nederburg, and Mullineux Family, is as follows:
• Warwick 2008
• Boekenhoutskloof 2009
• Graham Beck Chalkboard #3 2007
• Stark-Condé Three Pines 2009
• Cape Chamonix Reserve 2010
• Newton Johnson Domaine 2010
• Oak Valley 2009
• Boekenhoutskloof Syrah 2009
• Fairview The Beacon 2008
• Mont Destin Destiny 2007
• Mullineux Family Syrah 2009
• Saxenburg Select 2007
• Bouchard Finlayson Hannibal 2010
• De Toren Fusion V 2009
• Glenelly Lady May 2009
• La Motte Pierneef Shiraz-Viognier 2009
• Meerlust Rubicon 2007
• Miles Mossop Max 2008
• Sadie Family Columella 2009
• De Wetshof The Site 2009
• Jordan CWG Auction Reserve 2010
• Beaumont Hope Marguerite 2010
• Diemersfontein Carpe Diem 2010
• Vins d’Orrance Kama 2010
• KWV Mentors 2010
• Graham Beck Pheasants’ Run 2011
• Hermanuspietersfontein No 5 2010
• Kleine Zalze Family Reserve 2010
• Steenberg CWG Auction Reserve The Magus 2010
• Strandveld 2010
• Fable Jackal Bird 2010
• Flagstone CWG Auction Reserve Happy Hour 2009
• Mullineux White Blend 2010
• Nederburg Ingenuity 2010
• Tokara Director’s Reserve 2010
Méthode Cap Classique Sparkling
• Colmant Brut Chardonnay NV
• Topiary Blanc de Blancs Brut 2009
• Badsberg Badslese 2009
Dessert Wine Unfortified
• Boekenhoutskloof Noble Late Harvest 2008
• Fleur du Cap Noble Late Harvest 2010
• Mullineux Family Straw Wine 2010
• Nederburg Edelkeur 2010
• Nederburg Eminence 2010
• Boplaas Family Cape Vintage Reserve 2009
• De Krans Cape Vintage Reserve 2009
The 95 wines that did not make the 5-star rating after the blind-tasting were designated ‘Highly Recommended’, and include Shannon Mount Bullet 2009, Hartenberg Gravel Hill 2007, Hamilton Russell Chardonnay 2010, Sadie Family Palladius 2010, Steenberg Magna Carta 2010, and Ken Forrester ‘T’ Noble Late Harvest 2009.
The Platter’s launches, of which I have only attended the last two, could do with more ‘5-star quality’, both the Vineyard Hotel and Capelands not being ideal venues, both in respect of acoustics and snacks! It was noticeable how many of the 2012 top 5-star winemakers, including Eben Sadie (Sadie Family Wines), Hein Koegelenberg (La Motte), and Bartho Eksteen (Hermanuspietersfontein) did not attend the function last night.
Platter’s South African Wines 2012, R159,95. www.kalahari.com and www.sawinesonline.co.uk, www.wineonaplatter.com Tel (028) 316-3210. iPhone application available.
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage
Have you checked all those wines and their Wine of Origin???
Are you referring to the Franschhoek wines Colyn?
Chris, the blind tasting for the five star taste off has been in place for about 12 – 13 years, so it’s hardly ‘a new methodology’!
And so what if some grapes are selected from outside of the region.
if anything, it re-affirms that the best run wineries and wine makers are to be currently found if Franschhoek.
It appears to be a general trend that winemakers are selecting grapes from different areas for their wines.
Thanks for the correction Angela.
One wonders why Neil Pendock would harp on about the non-blind judging of the Platter wines, if the 5-star selection is evaluated blind?