Platter's SA Wine Guide

SA's 90 Best Wines: 15% off Platter's 2019 Guide

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Wine On a Platter

SA's 90 Best Wines: 15% off Platter's 2019 Guide

Plus: The link to the 2022 Best wines (Just released in Cape Town)

latest update: Cape Town, 16 November 2021: 

Just released: Diners Club South African Wine Guide announced South Africa's Best Wines for its 2022 guide.


Update: 12 November 2018

All 90 of South Africa’s best wines. Announced at the official Platter’s 2019 SA Wine Guide launch at the Table Bay Hotel at the V&A. And the big surprise is all-new 25 Wines of the Year awards in all varietal categories.

Platter’s SA Wine Guide is famous for its grading with the reveal of the five-star awarded wines. Some 9000 wines were tested to arrive at this ultimate five-star selection. The number of five-star wines announced has grown to 90 in 2019, and many refer to it as the definitive overview of South Africa’s best, prize and award-winning wines.

"Platter's 2019 is – as always – the wine lover's essential guide to the wines, wine estates and winelands of the Cape," says the guide's publisher, Jean-Pierre Rossouw. "We are pleased to be teaming up with CapeTownMagazine to offer you 15% off on the new edition until 16 November, as well as delivery. Read more about our 90 five-star wines, our hidden gems and those that offer great value for money."

New in this year’s guide: Look out for the all-new international 100 points score for all wines. Plus: An icon that represents SA’s heritage vineyards.

What about getting the new 2019 guide delivered to you first? To help you get the best in SA wine first, have arranged a special coupon code. Use “capetownmagazine” when ordering the guide online and you get a 15% discount. Order the 2019 wine guide here.

Plus: When you order with the Platter’s 2019 “capetownmagazine” coupon code, you’re entered into a draw to win a unique tasting experience with the guide's publisher JP Rossouw at Tamboers Winkel in Cape Town on 29 November.

See the complete Platter's 2019 selection of five star wines, plus all the Wine fo the Year winners and a selection of special awards below: 

Also known as Bouchet or Breton after one Abbott Breton who first planted Cabernet Franc at Bourgueil Abbey after receiving cuttings of the grape from Cardinal Richelieu sometime in the 17th century. It’s often grown from blending, but bottles beautifully on it own, albeit with a natural spiciness that becomes softer about 30 minutes after decanting. And these are South Africa’s best Cabernet Francs:

Wine of the Year: Raats Dolomite 2016

Five Star wines:
Raats 2016
Raats Dolomite 2016
Van Loggerenberg Breton 2017

Prominent in the industry although a relatively new varietal (somewhere around the 17th century). There was a lot of dispute over the actual origin of Cabernet Sauvignon until DNA typing finally proved once and for all in 1996 that it is, in fact, a cross between Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc. Here are the best Cabernet Sauvignon wines of South Africa:

Wine of the Year: Le Riche Reserve 2015

Five Star wines:
Bartinney Cabernet 2015
Erika Obermeyer Erika O 2015
Le Riche Reserve 2015
Reyneke Reserve 2015
Stellenbosch Reserve Ou Hoofgebou 2016
Warwick The Blue Lady 2015

Also called Garnacha (in Spanish),  Grenache Noir only arrived in the Cape in the 19th century. And, although not very widely planted, it’s gaining popularity because the grape actually grows quite well in SA’s Mediterranean-warm climate. This is South Africa's best Grenache Noir:

Wine of the Year: Sadie Soldaat 2017

Five Star wines:
Sadie Soldaat 2017

Meaning “little blackbird” in an old regional French dialect is one of the most popular varietals in the world. Smoother and less aggressive than Cabernet Sauvignon, it pairs well with most food and is an all-around safe bet for almost any occasion. These are the best Merlots from South Africa:

Wine of the Year: Shannon The Shannon Black 2013

Five Star wines:
Oldenburg 2015
Shannon The Shannon Black 2013
Thelema Reserve 2015

Wine of the Year: Thelema Sutherland Reserve 2015

Five Star wines:
Thelema Sutherland Reserve 2015

The one that made us famous. Pinotage is the uniquely South African blend of Pinot Noir and Cinsaut – developed by SA professor Abraham Isak Perold in 1925. Read more about the history of pinotage in South Africa.

These are South Africa’s prize-winning Pinotage wines:

Wine of the Year: Kanonkop Black Label 2016

Five Star wines:
Beeslaar 2016
Beyerskloof Diesel 2016
Kanonkop Black Label 2016

Derived from the French words for pine (the grape’s fruit-bearing branches resembling tightly clustered pine cones) and black. It’s one of the oldest known varietals in the world – the oldest in France for sure. It can be traced back to the first century. And these are South Africa’s five-star Pinot Noirs:

Wine of the Year: Crystallum Cuvée Cinéma 2017

Five Star wines:
Crystallum Cuvée Cinéma 2017
Newton Johnson Family Vineyards 2017 

Spelt both Shiraz and Syrah (although it has many more names), it all refers to wine grown from the same grape. Syrah is the French name, while Shiraz is believed to have its origin in the old Persian empire of Shiraz. It’s high polyphenol content is also one of the likely sources of the widespread claims of the health benefits of wine. And these are the best Shiraz wines of South Africa:

Wine of the Year: Leeuwenkuil Syrah 2015

Five Star wines:
Dorrance Syrah Cuvée Ameena 2016
Hartenberg CWG Auction Reserve Shiraz 2015
Leeuwenkuil Heritage Syrah 2015
Luddite Shiraz 2014
Mullineux Iron Syrah 2016
Mullineux Schist Roundstone Syrah 2016
Porseleinberg Syrah 2016
Rall Ava Syrah 2017
Rhebokskloof Black Marble Hill Syrah 2015
Rust en Vrede Single Vineyard Syrah 2015

Wine of the Year: Elemental Bob Graveyard 201

Five Star wines:
Elemental Bob Graveyard 201

Never discount blends. Blending red wine varietals is as old as winemaking itself. And today red blends sell more by volume around the world than most single red varietals. Not to mention that blends often make for the most interesting wines, because you can use them to emphasise the best parts of numerous varietals. Here are South Africa’s best red wine blends:

Wine of the Year: Red Blend, Cape Bordeaux: Plaisir de Merle Signature 2012
Wine of the Year: Red Blend, Pinotage: Beyerskloof Faith 2014
Wine of the Year: Red Blend, Shiraz/Syrah: Saronsberg Full Circle 2016
Wine of the Year: Red Blend, Other: Ernie Els Proprietor's Blend 2016

Five Star wines:
Allée Bleue L’Amour Toujours 2014
Kanonkop Paul Sauer 2015
Muratie Ansela van de Caab 2015
Plaisir de Merle Signature 2012
Ridgeback Signature C 2016
Beyerskloof Faith 2014
Boekenhoutskloof The Chocolate Block 2017
Erika Obermeyer Erika O Syrah-Grenache Noir-Cinsault 2016
Saronsberg Full Circle 2016
Ernie Els Proprietor’s Blend 2016
Rust en Vrede Estate 2015
Waterford The Jem 2014

For quite some time, people thought Chardonnay was a Pinot variety. Not so, it’s its own varietal. It originated in Burgundy, France, some say because Emperor Charlemagne’s wife in the first century disliked how the red wines stained his white beard, and demanded white grapes be planted in the region instead. These are South Africa’s prize-winning Chardonnay wines:

Wine of the Year: Leeu Passant Stellenbosch 2016

Five Star wines:
Haskell Anvil 2017
Leeu Passant Stellenbosch 2016
Oak Valley Groenlandberg 2017
Restless River Ava Marie 2016
Warwick The White Lady 2017

South Africa’s signature white grape and the most widely planted. Despite being planted as early as 1655, it wasn’t properly identified until 1965. Before this, the grape was simply known as Steen. Here are the best Chenin Blanc wines of South Africa:

Wine of the Year: DeMorgenzon The Divas 2017

Five Star wines:
Beaumont Hope Marguerite 2017
Botanica Mary Delany 2017
Cederberg Five Generations 2016
City on a Hill Wine Company 2017
David & Nadia 2017
David & Nadia Hoë-Steen 2017
David & Nadia Skaliekop 2017
DeMorgenzon Reserve 2017
DeMorgenzon The Divas 2017
Metzer Montane 2017
Rall Ava 2017
Sadie Skurfberg 2017
Savage Never Been Asked To Dance 2017
Spier 21 Gables 2017
Spier Farm House Organic 2016
Spioenkop Sarah Raal 2017
Stellenrust 53 Barrel Fermented 2017
Thistle & Weed Duwweltjie 2017

The name directly translates to “wild white”, a reference to how the grapes grew wild in France’s Loire Valley France until it was tamed by early winemakers. One of the most planted grapes in the world, Sauvignon Blanc was crossed with Cabernet some time in the 19th century to create Cabernet Sauvignon. These are South Africa's five-star Sauvignon Blanc wines:

Wine of the Year: Unwooded: Steenberg The Black Swan 2017
Wine of the Year: Wooded: Bartho Eksteen Houtskool 2017

Five Star wines:
Steenberg The Black Swan 2017
Bartho Eksteen Houtskool 2017

Properly written Sémillon. The name mimics the locals of France’s Bordeaux wine region’s pronunciation of Saint-Émilion, the town where Sémillon was first produced. One of the Cape’s true heritage grapes, Sémillon became known as the Groendruif in the 17th century in SA and it accounted for up to 90% of all new grapes planted here in the early 19th century. Here are the top Semillion wines of South Africa:

Wine of the Year: Rickety Bridge Road to Santiago 2016

Five Star wines:
Alheit La Colline 2017
Benguela Cove Catalina 2017
Rickety Bridge Road to Santiago 2016

Quality white blends are really special because most producers prefer to reserve white grapes only for pure varietals. Interestingly, blending doesn’t originally come from the idea of layering different flavours of wine – like we assume today. Blending actually started long ago as a way of insuring against loss of a crop. If you had two vineyards with different varietals and one of them doesn’t ripen properly, you would blend the two and get a fairly decent wine out of the mix. Today, though, quality white blends are done with absolute precision and purpose. These are South Africa’s best white wine blends:

Wine of the Year: White Blend, Cape Bordeaux: Vergelegen GVB 2015
Wine of the Year: White Blend, Other: Thorne & Daughters Rocking Horse 2017

Five Star wines:
Cape Point Isliedh 2017
Shannon Capall Bán 2015
Vergelegen GVB 2015
Warwick Professor Black 2017
B Vintners Vine Exploration Co Harlem to Hope 2017
Lourens Lindi Carien 2017
Mullineux Old Vines 2017
Rall 2017
Sadie Palladius 2016
Savage 2017
Stark-Condé The Field Blend 2017
Thorne & Daughters Rocking Horse 2017

Another uniquely South African varietal, MCC refers to sparkling wine made in South Africa using a bottle fermentation process. Also known as the traditional or classical way of making sparkling wine – hence the name.

Wine of the Year: Villiera Monro Brut 2012

Five Star Wines:
Colmant Absolu Zero Dosage NV
Villiera Monro Brut 2012
Woolworths Vintage Reserve Brut 2012 

A large scope to consider, dessert wines can be anything from sparkling – think Semi-Sec/Semi Secco (off-dry) or Dolce (sweet) – all the way to richly sweet wines like Late Harvest, Noble Rot and Eiswein (ice wine). In between are the lightly sweets such as Riesling and sweeter styles of Chenin Blanc. There are also a few sweet reds, such as Lambrusco, Schiava and a range of Late-Harvest reds. These are the best unfortified dessert wines in South Africa:

Wine of the Year: Natural Sweet: Klein Constantia Estate Vin de Constance 2014
Wine of the Year: Noble Late Harvest: Paul Cluver Riesling 2017
Wine of the Year: Vin de Paille: Mullineux Straw Wine 2017
Wine of the Year: Port-Style: Overgaauw Cape Vintage 1998

Five Star wines:
Klein Constantia Estate Vin de Constance 2014
Paul Cluver Riesling 2017
Mullineux Straw Wine 2017
De Krans Cape Vintage Reserve 2016
Overgaauw Cape Vintage 1998

Boplaas Potstill 20 Years Reserve
Dalla Cia 10 Year Old Celebration Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot Husk Spirit
KWV 10 Year Old Vintage
KWV 12 Year Old Barrel Select
KWV 15 Year Old Alambic
KWV 20 Year Old
KWV Nexus
Oude Meester Souverein
Van Ryn 12 Year Distillers Reserve
Van Ryn 15 Year Fine Cask Reserve
Van Ryn 20 Year Collectors Reserve

Every year, Platter's announce the top-performing vineyards for the year. This year, there are three top-tier wineries who receive this coveted accolade.

Newcomer of the Year: Erika Obermeyer Wines
Awarded to the wine producer who debuts on the guide with the highest score. Erika Obermeyer Wines had two Five Stars on their debut.

Top Performing Winery of the Year: Mullineux
Awarded to the wine producer who achieves the most five-star ratings. Mullineux achieved a remarkable four Five Stars plus a Wine of the Year accolade.

Editor's Award: Newton Johnson Vineyards
Editor Philip van Zyl gave his personal commendation of this family venture’s consistently superb quality over a range of styles of wine.

“It's such a brilliant guide to the best in South African wine, especially if you’re not a wine expert,” says founder Marcus Zandhuis. “It’s comprehensive, insightful and useful. You get a clear picture of regions, the different wines and special experiences. You don’t need to visit all the wine farms to find something unique. The guide provides an entry point for a region when you are there, or, for example, helps you to identify and taste only certain varietals in an area and re-discover a region in that way. And if you taste only one varietal for one day, it’s quite significant how your taste and understanding develops.”

It’s everyone’s guide to SA wines. Not an expert, but just want to know enough to decide on where to go over the weekend for a tasting or a glass? This is the guide. Looking for something specific, like wine experiences coupled with a picnic? Find the curated selection in Platter’s.

Remember that you can have the guide delivered to your office. Use “capetownmagazine” when ordering the guide online and you get a 15% discount. When you order, you're also automatically entered to win the exclusive tasting experience with the guide's publisher JP Russouw and us at Tamboers Winkel on 29 November 2018.

Place your order before 25 November to ensure you're in the running to win that tasting experience. Order the 2019 wine guide here.

Look out for the announcement on on 5 November. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter. To be the first to know SA’s best wines 2019 make sure you receive our popular newsletter.


Dress in your best to watch the races and party at the Sun Met.

Vote for your favourite vino at a blind wine tasting.

Enjoy seafood and wine in a gorgeous heritage site at Proe Pringle Bay.

From lofts among the trees to a luxurious seven-bedroom villa surrounded by vineyards at Marianne Wine Estate. Plus, if you’re an SA or SADC resident, you get a 20% discount off your stay.

See private art collections and meet the world-famous Pigcasso at Art Franschhoek

Enjoy a day of Chardonnay at the Elgin Chardonnay Colloquium 2019.

See MJ Lourens and Pierneef cross borders at Land Rewoven at La Motte Museum.

Fabulous fair, sumptuous interiors and fine wine at Tryn at Steenberg.

One of Stellenbosch’s most peaceful, pretty escapes. Have you been to Jordan Wine Estate?

Taste award-winning wines at the home of Chenin Blanc at Ken Forrester Wines.

New place in Stellenbosch: Built on beer and ice-cream: Wingerd Vista.

Vegetarian and vegan fine dining at Grub & Vine’s Veg & Vine.

Drink wine, listen to live music and browse stalls at the Boschendal Friday Night Market.

New: Strictly African food in a unique Mzansi-style at Afrobar & Pitso’s Kitchen.

How about special wine experiences? Have a look at our selection of unique wine tastings around the Western Cape, discover special wine farm trips on the weekend, find new spots to explore in the Cape Winelands and places to have wine and eat out around Cape Town.

Alternatively, there are also truly exciting new restaurants and places to discover as well as exciting events this Saturday and Sunday that you don’t want to miss.

Use our events section for an up-to-date overview of what’s happening in the city, suburbs and dorpies. Join our newsletter and add to your mobile home screen for quick access.

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