When it becomes tempting to expand an annual Top 5 list to a Top 6, 10 or 20 list, it’s a good sign. South Africa’s top wines are without a doubt on a steep upward trajectory and all the talk about the brilliance of the 2015 vintage is now coming to bottled fruition.
This list is not particularly scientific. Most of the wines were not tasted blind. All of them are bloody good. I hope they are still available, but would not be surprised if some of them aren’t.
- Tokara Reserve Collection Elgin Sauvignon Blanc 2016
Concentrated passionfruit and quince, with a refreshing zestiness and more than just a hint of lemon grass. This wine was my highlight of the 2016 FNB Top 10 Sauvignons and it’s still one of my favourites of the South African 2016 vintage in its entirety.
- Neil Ellis Groenekloof Shiraz 2014
Probably the pick on the list that offers the most bang for your buck. This Darling wine presents the bright and fresh side of Shiraz: white pepper, red fruit and alluring perfume. Cool climate Shiraz is steadily becoming a noteworthy category, bound to go from strength to strength.
- Swerwer Chenin Blanc 2015
Top South African Chenin Blancs’ point of difference is texture. The Swerwer Chenin particularly showcases this, along with remarkable complexity and balance. And when I say complexity, I mean it. Think white peaches, almonds, lime and a hint of biltong.
- Stark-Conde Field Blend 2015
A blend of Jonkershoek Roussanne, Chenin, Verdelho and Viognier. Distinctly modern, but complex, vivid and intriguing. Bursting with freshness, complemented by spice and subtle oak. Hedonistically rich and textured.
- Hamilton-Russell Chardonnay 2015
South African Chardonnay has reached new heights, but the classic still leads the pack. Generous and full, but with a tight, focused acidity. The wine is layered, with lime, oatmeal, minerality and elegant oak all attributes of a wine that teases perfection.