In its best showing in the 44-year history of South Africa’s iconic Platter’s Guide to the country’s wine offerings, Diemersdal Estate in Durbanville secured six five-star ratings in the 2024 Guide that has just been released. Besides achieving six of this all-encompassing South African guide’s top five-star accolades, Diemersdal’s The Journal Sauvignon Blanc 2022 was named Platter’s Sauvignon Blanc of the Year for the top-scoring wine in that category as judged by the team of esteemed wine critics who annually scrutinise the entries.
Over 8 000 South African wines, brandies and husk-spirits were judged for the 2024 Platter’s Guide, with over 900 producers entering their products, continuing the Guide’s reputation as the most comprehensive indication to the quality of local wines and wine-related spirits. Of this voluminous number of entries, only 226 wines secured five-star ratings, i.e. scoring 95pts and above.
Besides its The Journal Sauvignon Blanc 2022, Diemersdal saw two of its other Sauvignon Blanc wines garner five stars, namely Wild Horseshoe 2022 and the Diemersdal Reserve 2023.
The other three five-star accolades went to red wines in Diemersdal’s extensive portfolio, namely The Journal Cabernet Sauvignon 2021, Reserve Syrah 2022 and the Bordeaux-style blend Private Collection 2021.
Thys Louw, Diemersdal Estate’s owner-winemaker, says that when anticipating the annual Platter’s ratings, a producer wonders if one or maybe two of his or her wines will be so fortunate as to obtain a five-star accolade.
“But six five stars incorporating both Diemersdal’s white and red wine offerings has truly blown myself and my team in the cellar away,” says Louw. “Over 9 000 wines were judged for Platter’s 2024 Guide and I am fully aware of the rigorous process involving two judgings to select the five-star wines. For six of our wines to get 95pts and above is tremendous recognition for Diemersdal’s commitment to consistent quality in both the Sauvignon Blancs we are known for as well as the red wines, as Diemersdal’s early legacy was largely built on wines from our red grape vineyards.”
Renowned for Sauvignon Blanc, Diemersdal’s three five-star wines from this variety showcase the winery’s diverse approach in its search for Sauvignon Blanc excellence. The Journal is a wooded Sauvignon Blanc made to the style of Sancerre in France, while the Wild Horseshoe gains complexity through skin-contact, wild fermentation and oak-aging. Diemersdal Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2023 is a vibrant, pure and unoaked Sauvignon Blanc made from two selected elevated sites on Diemersdal’s Durbanville farm.
While Diemersdal has gained a reputation as one of the Cape’s leading Sauvignon Blanc estates, the three five-star Platter’s ratings for its red wines underscores the versatility of its Durbanville terroir.
“Our region has over the past two decades gained recognition for white wines, especially Sauvignon Blanc, but as one of South Africa’s oldest wine-growing areas Durbanville has a history of fine red wine-making,” says Thys. “Some of the iconic Cape reds of the 1950s and 1960s originated from Durbanville, the most famous being the cult GS Cabernet 1966. The Platter’s five stars for Diemersdal’s Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Private Collection Bordeaux blend continue the legacy of this region’s fine red wine.”
Thys says that although these accolades were awarded to wines made from the 2021, 2022 and 2023 vintages, the success of Diemersdal is inextricably linked to the legacy of the six generations of the Louw family who have farmed and made wine here since 1885.
“Yes, we have soils suitable for growing quality grapes and the climate is maritime, cool and conducive to ripening the fruit to gain superb flavour profiles,” says Thys. “But I am a firm believer in ‘human terroir’ which results from generations of a farming family who have presided over wine-farming and viticulture in one place. The understanding of soil and vines and the ethos of wine-making on Diemersdal has spanned over six generations who have all shared and still share similar values committed to creating the best wines this farm can offer. Without this human terroir of the Louw family today’s Diemersdal success would not be possible.”