SA whites come out tops in international magazine

Date posted:
March 4, 2010

The international wine magazine, Wine Spectator, continues to sing the praises of South African wines and included a list of top Cape white wines in its most recent issue.


Aptly entitled “17 Impressive White Wines,”  the article highlights the consistency, diversity and value delivered by local chardonnays, sauvignon blancs and chenin blancs.


Senior editor and South African expert James Molesworth looked at the so-called blue-chip varieties of chardonnay and sauvignon blanc, but also picked some chenin blancs which he felt offer added range for the more adventurous consumers. His top 17 list includes five chenins, as well as six chardonnays, four sauvignons and two white blends.


The 2008 Raats Chenin Blanc once again made the list with illustrious company provided by Ken Forrester, De Morgenzon’s maiden chenin and Backsberg. Eben Sadie’s chenin-driven blend Palladius also received the nod.




Left: Ken Forrester.














The Raats Chenin Blanc has been enthusiastically received by Wine Spectator tasters since its maiden 2004 vintage and has consistently scored in the upper 80s or 90s. The latest 2008 vintage was welcomed with a score of 89, and Molesworth described its style as “ripe and showy with creamed peach, Jonagold apple and Cavaillon melon flavours caressed by hints of sweetened butter and macadamia nut.”


The 2009 Raats Original Chenin Blanc received an enthusiastic 87 for its clean, breezy style. The March 2010 issue describes this unwooded chenin as “fresh with white peach and honeysuckle flavors backed by a bright, lively finish. Light-weight, but persistent with good minerality stretching it out”.




Right: Peter Finlayson.














“Local chenin blancs are finally coming into their own and it is definitely encouraging to see so many chenins and chenin-driven blends making a top listing such as this one in Wine Spectator”. Says Raats. “I think wine lovers are becoming more adventurous by trying lesser known varietals and eventually enjoying the complexity of flavours offered by a great chenin blanc.”


The complete list of nominated whites are:

·         SADIE FAMILY Palladius Swartland 2008

·         KEN FORRESTER Chenin Blanc Stellenbosch The FMC 2008

·         BOUCHARD FINLAYSON Chardonnay Overberg Crocodile's Lair 2008

·         DE MORGENZON Chenin Blanc Stellenbosch 2008

·         BOUCHARD FINLAYSON Chardonnay Overberg Sans Barrique 2008

·         BOUCHARD FINLAYSON Chardonnay Walker Bay Missionvale 2008

·         HARTENBERG The Eleanor Stellenbosch 2006

·         HARTENBERG Chardonnay Stellenbosch 2007

·         RAATS FAMILY Chenin Blanc Stellenbosch 2008

·         BOUCHARD FINLAYSON Sauvignon Blanc Walker Bay Reserve 2009

·         KEN FORRESTER Chenin Blanc Stellenbosch 2009

·         BACKSBERG Chardonnay Western Cape 2007

·         BOUCHARD FINLAYSON Sauvignon Blanc Walker Bay 2009

·         MAN VINTNERS Chardonnay Coastal Region 2009

·         BACKSBERG Chenin Blanc Western Cape 2009

·         BACKSBERG Sauvignon Blanc Western Cape 2009

·         KEN FORRESTER Sauvignon Blanc Stellenbosch 2009



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