The Prescient Cabernet Sauvignon Report 2016

By , 19 May 2016



Logo InternetIn conjunction with Prescient, a multinational financial services provider, is pleased to present the fifth annual Cabernet Sauvignon Report (previously the Christian Eedes Cabernet Sauvignon Report).

Wines to rate 90 or higher on the 100-point scale were as follows:

Delaire Graff Reserve 2013
Price: R500

Spier Woolworths Private Collection 2013
Woolworths price: R149.95

Plaisir de Merle 2012
Price: R180

Nederburg II Centuries 2012
Price: R345

Môreson Magia 2013
Price: R750

Thelema 2012
Price: R195

Vergenoegd 2011
Price: R190

Boekenhoutskloof Stellenbosch 2014
Price: R420

Fleur du Cap Unfiltered 2013
Price: R144

Kleine Zalze Vineyard Selection 2013
Price: R115

Rickety Bridge Paulina’s Reserve 2013
Price: R250

Stony Brook Ghost Gum 2012
Price: R275

To read the tasting report in full, download the following: Prescient Cabenet Sauvignon Report 2016

To view a photo album of the awards function, CLICK HERE.

There will be public tastings of the top performing wines. To buy tickets for the Cape Town event on 26 May, CLICK HERE. To buy tickets for the Johannesburg event on 2 June, CLICK HERE.

To find out more about Prescient, CLICK HERE.


14 comment(s)

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    Belinda McLaughlin | 23 May 2016

    It is always interesting reading the reports! I was delighted to see Plaisir de Merle mentioned, one of my personal favourites, but often seems to be forgotten about.

    Kevin R | 21 May 2016

    Hi Christian,

    Would there be any value in opening a new wine competition where wines are initially tasted and then re tasted as museum class and awards are only given on the combined score?

    Surely longevity should be rewarded?

    Justin | 21 May 2016

    Hi Christian. How did the other Cab (2012 vintage) from Delaire do amongst the 3 tasters? Was their consensus on that score? I recall that same wine being one of Tim Atkin’s favorite reds in his report last year.

      Christian | 21 May 2016

      Hi Justin, Delaire Graff Reserve 2012 rated 3.5 Stars in the Cab Report 2014 (prior to the switch to the 100-point system) while the super-deluxe Delaire Graff Laurence Graff Reserve 2012 (R2450 a bottle from Wine Cellar) rated 87 in the Cab Report and 91 when I tasted it blind in the recent “SA Luxury Red Wine Taste-Off”, which saw 12 wines priced from R735 upwards in the line-up.

    smirrie | 20 May 2016

    Christian thank you for the report it is always a nice topic for debate.

    Scores between 86-89 relates to 3.5 Platter Stars or is more compared to a 4 Star.

    Any case my point is that many of the wines in that bracket will score a 4.5 Platter Star. It seems for me that our Cabernet has decreased in quality if this scores is used compared to Shiraz always scoring higher it seems.

    Was the judges not perhaps a touch too strict ?

    Well while I ponder I am opening up a Thelema Mint 2009 Cab. Good stuff trust me.

      Christian | 20 May 2016

      Hi Smirrie, I would suggest that scores between 86 to 89 are roughly equivalent to Four Stars in terms of the Five Star rating system as used by Platter’s. By the same token, 90-92 might be thought of as Four and a Half Stars and 93 to 95 as Five Stars, while scores of 96 to 100 are reserved for a great vintage from a great grower in a great region. I don’t think the panel was too strict and I think it’s really important we neither under- or overestimate SA wine quality. Since January 2015, the wines to have rated 96 or higher on this site are: Alheit Magnetic North Moutain Makstok 2014, Boekenhoutskloof Noble Late Harvest 2005 and 2006, Klein Constantia Vin de Constance 2011, Mullineux Schist Syrah 2010 and 2013 and Sadie Family Columella 2013.

    Kwispedoor | 20 May 2016

    Hi, Christian

    “.., the intention here is very much to
    do good by what might be called the seeded players,..” – given that, I’m left wondering about the apparent omission of Cabs like those from Kanonkop and Waterford, both of whom would comfortably get a top 60 seeding from myself.

    I must also say that I pine for the days when we had more great Cabernet at lower alcohol levels. It’s just so much nicer and easier to drink a good 13 to 13.5% ABV bottle of wine with a friend than a good wine at 14.5% or higher ABV. I note that 13.85% is the lowest ABV amongst the wines scored 90 or more, while almost all are 14.5% and higher. I had hopes that producers who display more restraint (Restless River, Belfield, etc.) might also get rewarded in the 90-plus point bracket, but I guess it’s a sign of the times…

    With reference to your assessment of the Kanonkop Paul Sauer 2012 recently, I often wonder how the riper reds of our time will mature. We know how surprisingly well many of our sixties and seventies reds have aged (and in Kanonkop’s case also their eighties and nineties wines), but is any wine farm’s current track record for very old wines still valid considering the very different stylistic approaches nowadays?

      Christian | 20 May 2016

      Hi Kwispedoor, Kanonkop are still selling 2012 reviewed last year and have committed to submitting 2013 for review in next year’s report while Waterford 2013 is already entirely on allocation.

      As for the ongoing debate about alcohol levels, I think we all have to accept underripe, weedy wines are no longer acceptable in the market place. Open Zonnebloem from the 1960s or Nederburg from the 1970s now and they can be breathtaking but what were they like to drink on release? These wines were termed “dikvoet” which doesn’t exactly imply elegance. Also, we cannot ignore the general qualitative progression that has come with improved technique over the last five decades – litre for litre, there is much higher quality now than there was in the 1980s when I reached legal drinking age.

      That said, restraint is a most desirable attribute in wine and if you think what scored 90+ are too rich and concentrated then you should see some of the examples that ended up under 90.

      The question you pose about old wines is interesting. Apparently no-one cellars wine anymore but whenever the discussion comes up as to what our very best wines are, then the issue of age-worthiness is always raised. While the wines of 40 or 50 years are now much celebrated by those in the inner circle, they are not that relevant to what is happening in the winelands in 2016 as so much has changed in every respect. What is problematic is that I don’t think we scrutinise the wines of 10 to 15 years ago hard enough in terms of informing ourselves on the right way forward. My point is what’s really happening on a scientific level in wine is hugely complex and as a result it regularly defies our preconceptions. By way of anecdote, I opened a bottle of Chamonix Troika 2003 recently hoping for something rather fine only to find it quite thin and tired. I then opened Ernie Els 2003, notorious for being style for the “American market” and it showed beautifully, still very much alive and well…

        Kwispedoor | 20 May 2016

        Christian, I don’t think anyone really debates the place of under-ripe, weedy and thin wines in the market place. Nobody wants those. It’s among some collectors who are willing and able to mature wine – admittedly a small contingent – where more classically styled wines are missed nowadays. A brilliant old wine will always have something that a brilliant young wine just can’t have…

        I would guess that the wines of the sixties and seventies were called “dikvoet” not because they were ripe and extracted with high alcohol levels, but mostly because they had a different tannin structure. Today producers proudly proclaim that big red wines are ready to drink upon release and that it’s good for x amount of years. Back in the days, people used to proudly proclaim that you shouldn’t get near the wine for a decade: “Put it away and forget about it!”. The more serious wines were punted as ones that require maturation before opening. Perhaps there’s some truth in that, especially with regards to great Cabernet? If it’s going to be really great in 25+ years, perhaps it needs to be just a little less easy and polished in its youth?

        As for your experience with the two 2003’s, two different bottles of the same wines could have showed differently on another day. I recall a blind tasting a few years ago where good value red wines were tasted blind against flagship-type wines and the 2003 Ernie Els was disappointing on that day, coming 11th out of 13 wines. It may also say something about how Stellenbosch Cabernet matures versus Franschhoek Cabernet. But regardless of those (and other) possibilities, I take your point that “…what’s really happening on a scientific level in wine is hugely complex and as a result it regularly defies our preconceptions.” True, that. And part of the attraction.

        Bobby | 21 May 2016

        Hi Christian,
        I get your point about Waterford 2013 and allocation. But…
        This allocation includes Woolworths, where it is widely available and a convenient place for many local readers of your blog. Since you have 2 own label Woolworths winesin your list and Waterford 2012 was a high scorer last year, I wonder whether its inclusion may have been justified?
        This is nitpicking, though.

      Allister | 20 May 2016

      Thanks for the support @Kwispedoor, and for considering us in the panel tasting @Christian. We have found that our Cabernet doesn’t fare too well in the midst of a tasting of traditionally styled Cabernet. It is so specific to our little patch of dirt in Elgin, and is more restrained, as you point out. We can play around with the winemaking formula but best to let the fruit and terroir show. If you like it, superb! If not, at least it is an honest representation of a single vineyard (with some splashes from the Merlot and Syrah across the field). Really interesting results nonetheless. Thanks all!

    Christian | 20 May 2016

    Hi Bobby, The answer is more or less. The advantage of a panel over a single taster is that it is collegial – each individual taking responsibility for the group outcome. The disadvantage is that there is an averaging effect. – I think a three-person panel (as used by is far superior to a seven-person panel as used by Veritas, for instance. In the case of Simonsig The Garland 2009, I’m happy to report I again liked it very much when compiling the Cab Report even if Peens and Pietersen were less enthusiastic about it.

    Bobby | 19 May 2016

    Interesting to note quite different ratings for Simonsig The Garland 2009 in a fairly short space of time.

    Since we are humans and not machines, such examples in unsighted tastings, even for the same taster(s), are expected.

    Christian, can we take the rest of the ratings as your likely scores if you were to post them as individual blog entries?

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