CE’s top 12 wines of 2013

December 2, 2013
by Christian
in What I Drank Last Night
with 6 Comments



Below are my dozen most memorable wines of 2013.

Arendsig Inspirational Batch 1 2012
Made from a Rawsonville Chenin Blanc vineyard planted in 1972. Along with Opstal Carl Everson 2012, emphatic proof that excellence can be had from the “other side of the mountain”.

Beeslaar Pinotage 2012
Abrie Beeslaar starts his own label and comes up with a wine every bit as good as, if not better than, the one he makes at his place of formal employment, namely Kanonkop.

Celestina 2012
A pleasant surprise when this placed among the top three at the inaugural RisCura White Hot Wine Awards, even more so given that it sold for R95 a bottle meaning that even impecunious wine hacks could afford a case.

Crystallum Bona Fide Pinot Noir 2012
I’m generally sceptical of local Pinot Noir but this made me think it can be done. Peter-Allan, son of Bouchard Finlayson’s Peter, seems to be a natural.

David Aristargos 2012
49% Chenin Blanc, 21% Viognier, 20% Clairette Blanche, 10% Chardonnay. 100% rock ‘n roll.

Hamilton Russell Vineyards Chardonnay 2012
What constitutes an icon prompts constant debate. This wine has to be a reference point.

Palladius 2011
My highest scoring wine of the year at 96/100 and perhaps the best modern-era South African white I have yet tasted.

Paul Cluver Seven Flags Pinot Noir 2010
Nobody’s more surprised than me to find a second Pinot on this list but the R&D that Paul Cluver are putting in to making world-class wine from this variety is definitely paying off.

Rall White 2012
“Oxidative white blends haven’t been around for very long and can only get better,” says Donovan Rall, an acclaimed practitioner of the style. I think his 2012 is his best yet.

Spioenkop 1900 Pinotage 2012
Pure, subtle and elegant and as such, redefines the Pinotage debate.

Thelema Cabernet Sauvignon 2009
A great vintage from a great property – just enough of that trademark mint.

The Foundry Grenache Blanc 2012
Got excited when I discovered this on Sea Point restaurant La Mouette’s winelist in April. Went on to be rated 5 Stars in Platter’s 2014.

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  1. NkuluDecember 4, 2013 at 11:04 amReply

    Derek I support your view on the 2011 Boschkloof Syrah. It made huge impression on me. Super wine

  2. NkuluDecember 4, 2013 at 10:25 amReply

    Interesting list Christian I am keen to taste Beeslar and Spionskop Pinotage. I am finalizing my list, the Aristargos, Rall White and HRV Chardonnay are strong contenders for my top wines of 2013.

  3. Derek Prout-JonesDecember 2, 2013 at 2:24 pmReply

    ….further to my “No Shiraz comment earlier, I thought that Boschkloof Syrah may have weaseled it’s way onto the list!

    • ChristianDecember 3, 2013 at 9:53 amReplyAuthor

      Hi Derek, Plenty of good Syrah out there but not sure how much of it is great. Mullineux pretty special but widely celebrated already. Always admire Boekenhoutskloof and then, dare I say it, it starts becoming a bit much of a muchness…

  4. Johan SmutsDecember 2, 2013 at 9:40 amReply


    Great selection of wine . Unfortunately i didn’t had the privilege to taste all of above.
    So my personal top 12 for 2013 are as follows in no particular order:

    1 ) HRV Chardonnay 2012
    2) Mullineux Syrah 2011
    3) Beeslaar 2012
    4) Blackwater Custellus Syrah
    5) Donkiesbaai Steen 2012
    6) Sequillo White 2012
    7) Palladius 2011
    8) Mullineux Straw Wine
    9) Boekenhoutskloof Cabernet Sauvignon
    10) Flagstone Treaty Tree Reserve 2012
    11) Ataraxia Pinot Noir -Declassified
    12) Sadie Pofadder

  5. Derek Prout-JonesDecember 2, 2013 at 7:13 amReply

    2 Pinots and 2 Pinotages and NO Shiraz! Mood, palate, style or trend? An Interesting if not eclectic selection Christian. Good to see my old fave Thelema Cab making the list. Well done on another year of evaluating, educating, sharing and supporting the SA wine industry. Happy holidays.

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