Neal Martin, well respected wine critic from Vinous has just released his latest South African report – Finding Cool Sunshine: South Africa.
Approximately 250 wines were sampled for his report and showcase the quality of wine being produced by South Africa today.
Below is a list of the 90+ points scoring wines in our South African wine portfolio.
“The 2015 Lady May, retasted after several months, has a perfumed bouquet that is no longer disjointed as I found before, offering black plum and bilberry fruit, touches of peppermint coming through with aeration. The fresh, vibrant palate is medium-bodied with fine-grained tannins, blackberry and strawberry laced with cedar and mint, and still sappy on the finish. A fine Lady May that should drink well for 12–15 years.”
“The 2019 FMC, which comes from pure Chenin Blanc bush vines planted in 1974, has a subtle, precise bouquet of white flowers, peach skin, kumquat and light apricot scents, very pretty and charming. The palate is well balanced with a fine bead of acidity. This builds in the mouth, fanning out wonderfully on the finish without losing an ounce of precision. Superb.”
“The 2019 White Old Vines was left without additional sulfur on its lees until spring and matured in foudres and 500-liter used barrels for nine months. It has a fragrant bouquet of nutmeg, hazelnut and touches of white chocolate, suggestions of orange blossom developing with aeration. The palate is well balanced with a wonderful, tensile opening, hinting at marmalade, quince and subtle walnut and smoky notes on the finish, which has real gusto. This is a wonderful white blend from the Chris and Andrea Mullineux.”
“The 2018 Chardonnay Estate, matured in 33% new oak with about one-third going through malo, presents a bouquet of mineral-led citrus fruit, reserved at first but opening with time to become quite precise and poised. The palate is well defined with a crisp line of acidity, and fresh and saline toward the finish, which lingers nicely in the mouth. Very fine.”
“The 2018 Chardonnay Seven Flags comes from the oldest vines and was matured in 30% new oak. It has more complexity than the Estate Chardonnay, wonderful flinty scents infusing the citrus fruit, backed by aromas of apple blossom and hazelnut. The palate is well balanced with a fine bead of acidity, good weight in the mouth and a finish that is powerful and quite dense. I would have liked a little more tension, but this is still one of the Cape’s best Chardonnays.”
“The 2019 Rocking Horse is a blend of 36% Roussanne, 25% Sémillon, 22% Chenin Blanc, 11% Chardonnay and 6% Clairette Blanche. It has a winsome bouquet of citrus fruit, chamomile and almond shavings, all very well defined. The focused, vibrant palate delivers a fine bead of acidity and a gentle, apricot-tinged finish. Lovely.”
“The 2019 Paper Kite expresses the old-vine Sémillon with great clarity, presenting dried honey, walnut, touches of almond and a subtle smoky scent. The palate is very well balanced with a fine bead of acidity. More of a textural Sémillon than one of conspicuous flavors. Slightly resinous on the finish. Excellent.”
“The 2019 Tin Soldier, which is pure Sémillon Gris, has one of the finest aromatics among Thorne & Daughter’s 2019s, featuring nutmeg, walnut and orange peel scents, and developing a light smokiness with aeration. The palate is very well balanced with a harmonious chai tea and hazelnut-tinged entry, becoming spicier toward the citrus-fresh finish. Very fine.”
“The 2019 Cat’s Cradle is pure Chenin Blanc aged in used oak. It has a slight reduction on the nose, which offers scents of linseed, hazelnut, vervain tea and light smoky aromas. The palate is medium-bodied with a superb silver bead of acidity. Fresh and saline, displaying great precision on the finish. This is pure class.”
“The 2017 Chardonnay Waterford Estate, matured in 22% new French oak for 11 months, has a well-defined bouquet of perfumed honeysuckle and walnut. The palate is well balanced with a lovely lemon curd and chamomile entry and good weight. Quite gras in style toward the finish. Very fine.”
“The 2018 Grenache Noir Waterford Estate Single Vineyard has a refined bouquet of pure blackberry, briar and light wilted rose petal scents, all very classy and poised. The palate is medium-bodied with sappy black fruit laced with white pepper and thyme. Focused and quite persistent toward the Rhône-like finish. Excellent.”
“The 2016 Shiraz Waterford Kevin Arnold, blended with 12% Mourvèdre, has a very Old World–influenced bouquet of blackberry and Dorset plum, quite earthy and slightly ferrous, and maybe just missing a little fruit intensity. The well-balanced palate is medium-bodied with fine tannins and tarry black fruit laced with licorice and white pepper. Drinking now, but this should still afford around a decade of drinking pleasure.”
“The 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Waterford Estate, matured 36% in new French oak, has a well-defined and focused bouquet featuring plenty of tobacco-infused black fruit that conveys energy and class. The palate is medium-bodied with grainy tannins. Quite structured and maybe just a little austere compared to other 2017s, yet beautifully balanced, with plenty of salinity on the back end. One of the vintage’s more cerebral offerings from the Cape.”
“The 2015 The Jem Waterford Estate is a blend of 48% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Shiraz, 9% Mourvèdre, 6% Petit Verdot, 5% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc, 3% Sangiovese and 3% Barbera, matured in one-third new oak. It has a concentrated bouquet of red berry fruit, blood orange, peppermint and touches of espresso and fennel. There is something very Saint-Émilion about this (despite the plethora of grape varieties!) The palate is medium-bodied with grainy tannins, well-judged acidity, plenty of sappy black fruit and a touch of licorice toward the finish. Excellent.”