After posting my top five wines for 2012 in December last year, I received an email criticising my choices, arguing that the wines on my list are too expensive and perhaps not within reach of the average wine drinker.

The mentioned wines were:

5. Hartenberg Tenacity Merlot 2007: R207
4. Fable The Jackal Bird 2010: R175
3. Newton Johnson Full Stop Rock 2008: R100
2. Porseleinberg 2010: R500
1. Remhoogte Honeybunch Reserve Chenin Blanc 2011: R137

Now, I must confess – I was quite surprised by this comment. In my view, even when taking the R500 Porseleinberg into account, I would suggest that all these wines are fairly priced. In fact, I believe that the Newton Johnson and Remhoogte are nothing less than bargains! There’s a big difference between choosing the absolute cream of the crop – which was my intention – and selecting five wines that are worth trying.

If my top five wines were R35 plonk, it would actually have set off alarm bells … In a way this also applies to the view of the South African wine industry. Are we known for damn stunning Chenin Blanc like the Honeybunch Reserve and modern, intriguing blends like the Full Stop Rock or should we settle for being a supplier of good value, but simple wines that are sold in bulk at affordable prices I know there is a bulk container full of realities why this is not a simple question, but I would argue that this is why Piwosa (Premium Independent Wineries of South Africa) was established: to emphasise the often undiscovered quality that we have to offer. So, to anyone that agrees that these wines are perhaps too expensive, my advice would simply be to drink less and drink better. And to read this article about the world’s most expensive tipples.

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