Platter’s Wine Guide 2021 bizarre announcement of 5-star wines, Kleine Zalze Wines named Winery of the Year!



On Wednesday Platters Wine Guide announced its 2021 5-star Wines List, unusually quietly, not revealing the individual winners names on Instagram or on other Social Media platforms, nor at a function traditionally held at the Table Bay Hotel. It appears that its emphasis is on its App, and selling its information by subscription.

Kleine Zalze Wines was named Top Performing Winery of the Year 2021, having seven five-star wines on the 2021 List, achieving this accolade for the first time in the more than 40 year history of the Platter Wine Guide. The Winery celebrated its achievement with a star-studded cake.

A total of 212 wines received the highly desired 5-star Platter rating this year, a significant increase of almost 100 more 5-star wines compared to last year.  A panel of 14 tasters evaluated all presented wines, the initially selected five-star wines scoring 93 or more out of 100 points going into a blind tasting evaluation by the whole panel.

I called Platters yesterday and received this summary media release written by Platter’s Publisher JP Rossouw, without the list of 5-star wines. I was told to buy a subscription and obtain the list in this way, the most bizarre media interaction I have ever experienced! Usually, the publishing of the Guide coincides with the announcement of the 5-star winners, but this year the Guide is not yet ready, only being available in printed form in mid-December.

Kleine Zalze Wines, the well-known and very popular landmark winery in Stellenbosch, have just been announced Platter’s Top Performing Winery of the Year for the 2021 guide. A remarkable seven wines achieving the top honours of Five Stars, saw them rise to the top against a very strong field of contenders.

Owner Kobus Basson is justly proud of his team, or what all on the property refer to as “the family”. This is a ‘wow’ – being the Winery of the Year in Platter’s is huge for us. We have the highest respect for the Platter’s Guide and this is why we cherish the moment and the achievement. Platter’s is the best guide for South African wine by far and this is why we are extremely proud to be the Winery of the Year.

Alastair Rimmer, the cellarmaster, is very proud to see their drive to evolution of the brand pay dividends: “It’s awesome! We’re super chuffed, this is as good as it gets! We are on a strong journey to evolve – we want to stay relevant and you need to go forward.” Referring to the new “Project Z” range of wines, three of which achieved Five Stars, he said: “This new group of wines are born out of this desire to evolve… and to improve all our ranges.” He adds that “we are Brand SA and we need the whole industry to focus on more premium wines and good price points for sustainability in the industry.”

Head winemaker RJ Botha could not contain his excitement: “This is probably one of those things that will happen once in my life… most wineries dream of becoming Winery of the Year! For us it’s been an amazing year, who would have thought 2020 would have a silver lining! What an amazing privilege to work for a family-owned business in Stellenbosch – we love this place. There is a massive team here, everybody plays a key role, so my big thanks to everybody, to the whole Kleine Zalze team. We are all super proud!

Editor of Platter’s South African Wine Guide, Philip van Zyl, made the important point in describing Platter’s Winery of the Year 2021: “It’s remarkable that this Stellenbosch estate was a neglected corporate-owned cellar and vineyard only 25 years ago… now the wines are superlative and rather brilliantly taking on the avantgarde at its own game. Their strong commitment to sustainability, including the creation of local community opportunities and sound ecological management here, is highly commendable.

All Platter’s 2021 ratings and results are now available for subscribers at

Platter’s 2021, the printed guide, will be available in retail around mid-December 2020”.  


The Editor’s Winery of the Year 2021 and Newcomer Winery of the Year 2021 are yet to be announced.

My dear friend Llewellyn Lambert of Hospitality Hedonist ( has posted an assembled list of the 5-star wines via posts of winning 5-star producers on Facebook and Instagram. I post the List below with his permission:



Kleine Zalze Wines



AA Badenhorst Family

Kelder Steen 2019

Red 2018

Raaigras Grenache 2019

Alheit Vineyards

Cartology 2019

Magnetic North 2019

Hemelrand Vine Garden 2019

Lost & Found 2019

Nautical Dawn 2019

Anthonij Rupert Wyne         

Cabernet Franc 2014

Laing Groendruif Semillon 2017

Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

Anwilka Anwilka 2017

Aristea Cabernet Sauvignon 2018


The Mothership Chenin Blanc 2019

JJ Handmade Eight Pillars 2017

B Vintners Vine Exploration Co Harlem to Hope 2019

Bartho Eksteen

Vloekskoot 2019

Houtskool 2019

Beaumont Family Wines       

Hope Marguerite 2019

Vitruvian 2017


1953 Single Vineyard Pinotage 2018

Pinotage Reserve 2017


Diesel Pinotage 2018

Faith 2016

Boekenhoutskloof Winery

Franschhoek Cabernet Sauvignon 2018

Stellenbosch Cabernet Sauvignon 2018

Noble Late Harvest 2017

Bon Courage Estate Jacques Bruére Brut Reserve 2012

Boplaas Family VineyardsCape Vintage Reserve 2018

Boschkloof Epilogue 2018

Botanica Three Barrels Pinot Noir 2019

Bouchard Finlayson Tête de Cuvée Pinot Noir 2019

Cape Point Vineyards Isliedh 2019

Capensis Fijnbosch Chardonnay 2015

Carinus Family Vineyards

Polkadraai Heuwels Chenin Blanc 2018

Polkadraai Heuwels Chenin Blanc 2019

Catherine Marshall Chenin Blanc Fermented in Clay 2019

Cederberg Private Cellar Wild Ferment Sauvignon Blanc 2019

Charles Fox Cap Classique

Prestige Cuvée Cipher 2015

Prestige Cuvée Blanc de Blancs   2016

City on a Hill Wine Company White 2019


Cuvée Cinéma 2019

Mabalel 2019

David & Nadia

Elpidios 2018

Hoë-Steen Chenin Blanc 2019

Skaliekop Chenin Blanc 2019

Plat’bos Chenin Blanc 2019

De Grendel    

Op Die Berg Chardonnay 2019

Elim Shiraz 2018

Sir David Graaff First Baronet 2016

Koetshuis Sauvignon Blanc 2019

De Kleine Wijn Koöp

Debutant White 2019

Road to Santiago 2019

De Krans Cape Vintage Reserve 2018

Delaire Graff Estate Laurence Graff Reserve 2017


Grand Reserve 2017

Vera Cruz Pinotage 2017

Edelspatz Noble Late Harvest 2019

DeMorgenzon Chenin Blanc Reserve 2019

De Trafford Wines

Cabernet Sauvignon 2017

Syrah 393 2018

Merlot 2016

Straw Wine 2017

Chenin Blanc Reserve 2018

Elevation 393 2014

Dewaldt Heyns Family Shiraz 2017


Pinotage The Journal 2018

Pinotage Reserve 2019

Sauvignon Blanc The Journal 2019

Dorrance Syrah Cuvée Ameena 2019

Ellerman House Hotel & Villas The Ellerman 2018


Cyril Back 2016

La Beryl Blanc 2019

Glenelly Lady May 2015

GlenWood Noblesse 2017

Hartenberg Gravel Hill Shiraz 2016

illimis Chenin Blanc 2019

JC Wickens Swartland Red Blend 2019

Jordan Wine Estate

Blanc de Blancs

Nine Yards Chardonnay 2019

Cabernet Franc 2018

Journey’s End Cape Doctor 2015

JP Bredell Cape Vintage Reserve 2017

Kanonkop Estate

Cabernet Sauvignon 2016

Paul Sauer 2017

Keet First Verse 2017

Ken Forrester Wines   Roussanne 2018

Klein Constantia Estate Vin de Constance 2016

Kleine Zalze Wines

Chenin Blanc (Vineyard Selection) 2019

Chenin Blanc Amphora 2018

Chenin Blanc (Family Reserve) 2019

Whole Bunch Shiraz 2017

Cabernet Sauvignon (Family Reserve) 2017

Sauvignon Blanc (Family Reserve) 2019

Grenache Amphora 2017

Kumusha The Flame Lily 2019


The Mentors Canvas 2017

The Mentors Perold 2017

The Mentors Grenache Blanc 2018

Cape Tawny NV

La Bri Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2017

Le Riche Wines Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2017

Leeu Passant

Cabernet Sauvignon 2018

Radicales Libres 2015

Lomond Pincushion Sauvignon Blanc 2019

Longridge Wine Organic Clos du Ciel 2017

Lourens Family Wines

Blouklip Steen   2019

Lua Ilse 2019

Marianne Wine Estate Floreal 2017

Meerlust Estate Rubicon 2017

Metzer & Holfeld Family Cabernet Sauvignon 2018

Michaella Chenin Blanc 2019

Miles Mossop Wines Saskia-Jo 2018

Minimalist Stars In The Dark 2019

Mischa Estate Grenache 2018

Morgenster Estate Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2019

Mullineux & Leeu

Granite Chenin Blanc 2019

Granite Syrah 2018

Schist Syrah 2018

Olerasay Straw Wine NV

Muratie Wine Estate Ansela van de Caab 2017

Naudé Wines Oupa Willem 2018

Nederburg Two Centuries Cabernet Sauvignon 2017

Neil Ellis Wines

Jonkershoek Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2017

Whitehall Chardonnay 2019

Newstead Lund Family Vineyards Méthode Cap Classique Brut 2015

Newton Johnson Vineyards

Pinot Noir 2019

Windansea Pinot Noir 2019

Chardonnay 2019

Oak Valley Estate

South Ridge CY548 Chardonnay 2017

Chardonnay Groenlandberg 2019

South Ridge CY95 Chardonnay 2017

Opstal Estate Carl Everson Cape Blend 2018

Paserene Marathon 2018

Patatsfontein Sons of Sugarland Syrah 2019

Paulus Wine Co Bosberaad 2019

Pieter Ferreira Cap Classique Blanc de Blancs 2013

Porseleinberg Porseleinberg 2018

Raats Family Wines

Cabernet Franc 2018

Eden High Density Single Vineyard Chenin 2019

The Fountain Terroir Specific Chenin 2019

Rall Wines

Ava Chenin Blanc 2019

White 2019

Grenache Blanc 2019

Ava Syrah 2019

Restless River

Main Road & Dignity 2017

Ava Marie 2018

Reyneke Wines White 2018

Rickety Bridge Winery The Pilgrimage 2018

Ridgeback Viognier 2019

Rustenberg Wines John X Merriman 2017

Rust en Vrede Wine Estate

1694 Classification 2017

Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2017

Single Vineyard Syrah 2017

Rust en Vrede Estate Wine 2017

Sadie Family Wines

Mev. Kirsten 2019

Skerpioen 2019

Kokerboom 2019

Skurfberg 2019

Pofadder 2019

Soldaat 2019

Saronsberg Cellar Full Circle 2018

Savage Wines

Red 2018

Girl Next Door 2019

White 2019

Follow The Line 2019

Schultz Family Wines Dungeons Cabernet Sauvignon  2017

Scions of Sinai Swanesang 2019

Shannon Vineyards Mount Bullet Merlot 2017

Sijnn Sijnn Red 2017

Silverthorn Wines The Green Man 2017

Simonsig Wine Estate

Cabernet Sauvignon The Garland 2015

Mediterraneo 2015


Chenin Blanc 21 Gables 2019

Frans K. Smit Red 2015

Frans K. Smit CWG Auction Selection 2017

Stark-Condé Oude Nektar High Altitude 2017


Old Bushvine Chenin Blanc 2019

55 Barrel Fermented Chenin Blanc 2019

Storm Wines  

Vrede Pinot Noir 2019

Ignis Pinot Noir 2019

Strandveld Wines Pofadderbos Sauvignon Blanc 2019

Super Single Vineyards Verlatenkloof Merlot 2017

Terracura Trinity Syrah 2017

The Fledge & Co Vagabond 2018

The Foundry Grenache Blanc 2019

The High Road Director’s Reserve 2017

Thelema Mountain Vineyards

Merlot Reserve 2018

Cabernet Sauvignon 2017

Rabelais 2017

Reserve Petit Verdot Sutherland 2017

Thistle & Weed Duwweltjie 2019

Thorne & Daughters Rocking Horse 2019


Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2017

Director’s Reserve Red 2017

Sauvignon Blanc 2019

Noble Late Harvest 2019

Van Loggerenberg

Kameradarie 2019

Graft 2019

Vergelegen Vergelegen GVB Red 2015

Villiera Wines

Drip Barrel Cabernet Franc 2018

The Clan 2017

Vondeling Babiana 2019

Wade Bales Wine Co

Stellenbosch Cabernet Sauvignon 2018

Breedekloof Chenin Blanc 2019

Warwick Wine Estate

The Blue Lady 2017

Cabernet Franc 2017

The White Lady                 2017

Waterford Estate The Jem 2015

Wildekrans Wine Estate Cape Blend 2017

Woolworths Ferricrete Riesling 2018


POSTSCRIPT 18/12/20: The 2021 Platter’s Wine Guide was revealed on Facebook today. The grass green colour is called ‘Fresh Leaves’.  The Guide will be available in stores from next week. 


Chris von Ulmenstein, WhaleTales Blog: Tel +27 082 55 11 323 Twitter:@Ulmenstein Facebook: Chris von Ulmenstein Instagram: @Chrissy_Ulmenstein

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4 replies on “Platter’s Wine Guide 2021 bizarre announcement of 5-star wines, Kleine Zalze Wines named Winery of the Year!”

  1. Well, recommending a subscription to bloggers/influencers, copywriters and others, is indeed somewhat ridiculous, short-sighted and media-unprofessional. Anyway, the list is always only hours later in the reproduction in the net of worldwide non-secrets. Whoever gives such information to authorized interested parties as a distributor is probably not really a professional. So be it.

    In Germany, for example, we even have independent “living room publishers” who publish wine and champagne guides – and there even other professional business publishers are turned away with the request for a specimen copy. An absurdity in publishing.

    Intransparency is always a sign of superficial work. That’s exactly when you usually have something to hide. And this is more and more due to the fact that people are not working journalistically on wine, but that everything is just a big marketing operation. Unfortunately almost everywhere only much shameful work, little handicraft.

    But now to the Platter edition 2021.

    It is really very interesting in any case – and it remains exciting from year to year – the evolution, as the numbers of five star-wines.

    I have been following the wines of South Africa since 1994, which was not so easy in the first years after the “opening” here from Germany. In the 2000s there was more access to the wines from the Cape and in the 2010s the selection grew steadily. And for about 3 or 4 years now we have been taking note of the difficulties in winegrowing in SA on the one hand and the marketing strategies on the other.

    Well, if we look at the influence of European wine guides in the last 25 years in the de facto operational market, and especially in the proactive participation in pricing, the question of independence has long been raised for all wine guides. A dramatic example is, for example, the Gambero Rosso in Italy, which has been using its power to exert far too much negative pressure on wineries for years. Against every journalistic rule, one must assume. Today, for the knowledgeable wine lover, it is nothing more than an inflationary winegrower’s address book for the next trip to Italy. And even this is something you can do without, with a smartphone these days.

    Where the Platter stands today is difficult to locate from a distance. The fact is that the few tasters and critics have so far only ever wanted to cheer and recommend the same 5 or 6 winemakers and promote sales. Unfortunately, this alone no longer reflects the broad innovations in South Africa.

    The fact that the Kleine Zalze Winery is being honored with 7 wines in the new Platter seems very “supportive” at first – even though I like the wines very much, especially because of the very good value for money!

    Sadie and De Trafford with 6 wines each and Alheit with 5 wines can also be seen as an indication that otherwise the book will not be filled enough for the international market. Possibly.

    It would be interesting to find out investigatively much more about how strongly the current marketing role is established at Platter Publishing today.

    With best regards from Germany, Berlin

    Michael Holzinger

    PS. The family name “von Ulmenstein”: Maybe German ancestors? 🙂

  2. Thank you for your detailed and informative reply Michael. Interesting questions that you raise.

    Ja, ich bin in Deutschland geboren.

    Liebe Grüsse


  3. This is great and I like to stay in touch through your newsletter.

    Alles Gute nach Südafrika, das ich irgendwann unbedingt noch bereisen muss 🙂

    With my warmest greetings from the capital of good old Germany – the never sleeping Berlin.


  4. Lieben Dank Michael.

    Liebe Grüsse zurück an Berlin, und wünsche euch ein schönes Wochenende.


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