CE’s top 12 wines of 2012

December 3, 2012
by Christian
in What I Drank Last Night
with 10 Comments

Profoundly good.

Below are my dozen most memorable wines of 2012.

Beaumont Hope Marguerite Chenin Blanc 2011
Price: R150
This is a label which has been around for a while but under the careful stewardship of winemaker Sebastian Beaumont just seems to get more refined and sophisticated.

Colmant Brut Chardonnay
Price: R168
Monday 30 January was the date of our second daughter’s birthday, Monday also half price night at French Toast. I drank quite a lot of this on that particular occasion…

Columella 2010
Price: R587.10
A game changer. The same flavour intensity of the Columellas of the mid-2000s but much more focus and finesse.

Delaire Sauvignon Blanc Semillon Reserve 2010
Price: R180
A Bordeaux-style white blend which easily takes its place next to those from Cape Point Vineyards, Tokara, Steenberg and Vergelegen. Such a strong category and yet the punter seems to be unmoved…

Delaire Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2009
Price: R365
Elegance epitomised.

Ernie Els CWG Auction Reserve 2010
Average price per case on auction: R3 063
Curves in all the right places.

Mount Abora Koggelbos Chenin Blanc 2011
Price: R95
A wine of distinction. In every sense.

Mvemve Raats de Compostella 2009
Price: R650 (sold out)
Another game changer. Fully ripe but not crass or vulgar.

Nederburg Woolworths The Winemaster’s Reserve Grenache 2010
Price: R59
At least one good thing to come out of MasterChef SA.

Shannon Vineyards Mount Bullet 2010
Price: R270
Merlot is in such disarray here that it’s sometimes difficult to conceive what might constitute a good example. A rare chance to drink benchmark Petrus 2001 courtesy of The White Club and I thought Mount Bullet wasn’t a million miles off…

Stellenrust Chenin Blanc 2012
Price: R40
Liked it a lot when the Chenin Blanc Association showed it as part of a “Summer Chenin Showcase” in early October. Went on to win the white wine trophy at the SAA Wine Awards.

Villiera Monro Brut 2007
Price: R130
Wine of the show at the Five Nations Wine Challenge and 5 Stars in Platter’s. Proper recognition for one of Cap Classique’s prestige cuvées which has gone somewhat unheralded in recent times.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Share this post


  1. KwispedoorDecember 17, 2012 at 5:36 pmReply

    I just had the Koggelbos over the weekend, Christian – very impressive indeed! Something completely different, too.

  2. willDecember 5, 2012 at 7:21 amReply

    Morning Christian. Can you please indicate the prices of these wines.

    • ChristianDecember 5, 2012 at 10:10 amReplyAuthor

      Prices now included.

  3. Shane GordonDecember 5, 2012 at 1:53 amReply

    My take on the local Shiraz selections points toward slight overextraction and overworking of the wine. The Mullineux Syrah allways leaves a smile on my face as it seems more refined than most with clearer fruit definition and less of the smoky, oaky wild characters that local shiraz often displays. As for the Mullineux White blend I find it also more refined and precise than the rest with more poise. The Eagles nest shiraz is a well balanced fuller bodied fruity example which has to bring a smile to your face. It is after all only a matter of individual taste.

  4. ChristianDecember 4, 2012 at 9:46 amReplyAuthor

    Hi Hennie, As in previous years, wines appear on the list primarily because they made me happy rather than because I rated them highest or whatever else. Nederburg Private Bin Edelkeur 2007, for instance, received a score of 20/20 from me at the pre-auction tasting but I drank far more of the R60-a-bottle Grenache (17/20) while indulging my fatal fascination with MasterChef SA. Cartology is good but I’m pretty sure the Alheits will soon be making even better. Botanica is knock-out but three Chenins already on the list. As for Chamonix Greywacke, I think the Pinot Noir from this property trumps it, but still not a wine that leaves me with a stupid grin on my face.

  5. Hennie @ BatonageDecember 4, 2012 at 9:18 amReply

    Good list Christian (with the exception of that Nederburg Grenache of course!).  It was a good year for wine for sure, as I would’ve made the list a top 15 or 20 even.  I am surprised you left out the Cartology and Botannica Chenin Blanc and dare I say it – the Chamonix Greywacke Pinotage.  Also happen to agree with the sentiments on the Mullineux wines.  I suppose you need to cut it off somewhere though.  

  6. @JacquelinevwykDecember 4, 2012 at 7:37 amReply

    We are honourd to have you select 2 of our estates wines for yuor 2012 selection we hope to keep on surprising and may you have more Delaire graff wine filled days

  7. Shane GordonDecember 4, 2012 at 12:50 amReply

    I would have thought that Mullineux’s Syrah and White Blend would have appeared in your selection – both suitably focused and refined and not to forget the Eagles Nest Shiraz powerful but refined.

    • ChristianDecember 4, 2012 at 8:43 amReplyAuthor

      Hi Shane, Both examples of Syrah you mention are very, very good but I currently find local Shiraz taken as a whole perplexing – it’s as if the category isn’t fully formed yet. As for the Mullineux White, I like it well enough but wonder if it’s really that much better than a whole raft of others in a similar vein (Palladius, Rall, David Aristargos, etc.).

  8. Angela LloydDecember 3, 2012 at 4:31 pmReply

    You seem to discount drinking some other stunner in the remaining 28 days of 2012, which, let’s not forget includes the festive season when the best wines tend to be un – um – cork/screwed.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


AEC v1.0.4
  • No upcoming events
AEC v1.0.4
newlstter2 Get the biggest stories of the past fortnight sent directly to your inbox. subscribe

Wine magazine was published from October 1993 until September 2011 & now lives on in digital form as Winemag.co.za. We cover everything to do with SA fine wine.

XSLT Plugin by Leo Jiang