Top 20 wines 2015

December 7, 2015
by Christian
in News
with 7 Comments

Editor Christian Eedes selects his top 20 wines of the year based on quality, value, availability and excitement.

Sadie Columella 2013

Sadie Family Wines Columella 2013.

Wine of the Year
Sadie Family Wines Columella 2013
The most accomplished modern-era SA red yet. Read original review here.
– – –
AA Badenhorst Family Wines Ramnasgras Cinsault 2014
Can you expect greatness of single-variety Cinsault? “Yes” is the emphatic answer that this wine provides. Read original review here.

Adoro Naudé Old Vines Cinsault 2014
Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? This wine from the experienced Ian Naudé is every bit as thrilling as anything the New Wave are producing. Read original review here.

B Vintners Haarlem to Hope 2014
So many excellent Cape White Blends out there but the slightly idiosyncratic addition of 4% Muscat d’Alexandrie to 54% Chenin Blanc and 42% Semillon adds an extra point of interest. Read original review here.

Beaumont Hope Marguerite Chenin Blanc 2014
A particularly fine vintage of a particularly fine wine. Read original review here.

Boekenhoutskloof Noble Late Harvest 2005
Is there any other Noble Late Harvest in the country as refined, savoury and intellectually demanding as that from Boekenhoutskloof? Read original review here.

David Aristargos 2014
All David and Nadia Sadie’s wines show clarity of vision and lightness of touch but none more so than this white blend. Read original review here.

Graham Beck Cuvée Clive 2009
While a lot of Méthode Cap Classique is good enough, few are great. This is. Read original review here.

Klein Constantia Vin de Constance 2011
It’s a close as anything to a South African icon wine and this vintage shows why. Read original review here.

KWV The Mentors Grenache Blanc 2014
The pH on this wine is 2.99 – it doesn’t get more hardcore than that. Read original review here.

Lismore Syrah 2014
A wine of masterful restraint on the part of winemaker Samantha O’Keefe. Read original review here.

MR De Compostella 2013
This Bordeaux-style red blend is brilliantly judged by winemaker Bruwer Raats – neither too green nor too ripe. Read original review here.

Mullineux Schist Syrah 2013
Sets a new benchmark for single-variety Shiraz/Syrah in South Africa. Read original review here.

Opstal Carl Everson Chenin Blanc 2014
The Breedekloof is starting to produce some seriously good small-batch Chenin and it started with this wine – the 2014 right up there once again. Read original review here.

Paul Cluver Seven Flags Chardonnay 2014
“Elegant” gets over-used as a wine descriptor but it is entirely apt in this instance. Read original review here.

Radford Dale Frankenstein Pinotage 2014
Never touch Pinotage on account of it being too rustic? Here’s one that’s composed, understated and totally appealing. Read original review here.

Rall White 2014
This wine has always been striking but Donovan Rall seems to refine his vision for it with each passing vintage and this is probably his most sophisticated offering yet. Read original review here.

Shannon Vineyards Sanctuary Peak Sauvignon Blanc 2015
The rigorous James Downes in the vineyards and the skillful Gordon and Nadia Newton Johnson in the cellar has resulted in this truly outstanding example of Sauvignon Blanc. Read original review here.

The Foundry Grenache Blanc 2014
Minimalism applied to wine with startlingly good effect. Read original review here.

Tokara Director’s Reserve White 2014
A blend of 69% Sauvignon Blanc and 31% Semillon, a wine of pure class from Miles Mossop which should mature with benefit for many years. Read original review here.

To buy these wines, click here.

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  1. JeremyDecember 22, 2015 at 7:13 pmReply

    What exactly is “exciting” wine?
    And for interests sake, seeing that wine production at the end of it all has to be viable/commercial, does this high end wine sellout?

    • ChristianDecember 23, 2015 at 9:16 amReplyAuthor

      Hi Jeremy, Exciting wine is wine that stirs, arouses, stimulates and invigorates. Wine made as cultural artifact rather than agricultural commodity. Wine to talk about, even to dream about. Wine that contributes to a life less ordinary.

      As to your question about the commercial viability, that’s a moot point but I think quite a few fine wine producers seek sustainability in the broad sense rather than profit in a narrow sense and I’d admire them for that.

  2. Boris PeterDecember 15, 2015 at 4:55 pmReply

    We are very happy again with your selection Christian,
    7 out of 20 from our portfolio – is not too bad:
    Badenhorst, BVintners, David, Mullineux, Mvemve Raats, The Foundry, Tokara
    Cheers, Boris

  3. Pierre RabieDecember 15, 2015 at 4:06 pmReply

    All great wines well done guys!

  4. ian deanDecember 15, 2015 at 2:56 pmReply

    Excellent selection of truly great wines that reveals the creative expression of the new generation SA Winemakers.

  5. EmileDecember 7, 2015 at 12:20 pmReply

    1 Chardonnay and no Cabernet Sauvignons? Would thus not bother with the “Reports” if those varieties ain’t delivering.

    • ChristianDecember 7, 2015 at 1:32 pmReplyAuthor

      Hi Emile, The list compromises 20 wines out over 600 to feature online and quite a few more not written up so quite a few that didn’t make the cut. As stated, four factors involved in making the list including quality, value, availability and excitement and so while there are no doubt many high quality examples of Chard and Cab out there, more did not qualify to make the last 20 when I took into account the other three factors. Waterford Cab 2012, for instance, was top-performer in the Cab Report released in May (and a personal favourite) but has long since been sold out.

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