Prescient Cabernet Sauvignon Report 2020: Top 10

By , 30 June 2020



Best Cabernet Sauvignon 2020
Tokara, Stellenbosch.


This year’s Cabernet Sauvignon Report convened by and sponsored by multinational financial services company Prescient is now out. There were 100 entries from 78 producers and these were tasted blind (labels out of sight) by a three-person panel, scoring done according to the 100-point quality scale.

The best Cabernet Sauvignon in South Africa

The top 10 wines overall were as follows:

Babylonstoren 2018
Price: R200
Wine of Origin: Simonsberg-Paarl
Abv: 14.3%

Bellevue Estate The Reserve Collection 2018
Price: R220
Wine of Origin: Stellenbosch
Abv: 13.3%

Diemersdal The Journal 2018
Price: R320
Wine of Origin: Durbanville
Abv: 14.39%

Ernie Els Major Series 2017
Price: R200
Wine of Origin: Stellenbosch
Abv: 14.43%

Le Riche Reserve 2017
Price: R620
Wine of Origin: Stellenbosch
Abv: 14.45%

Oldenburg Vineyards 2018
Price: R245
Wine of Origin: Stellenbosch
Abv: 14.31%

Reyneke Reserve 2017
Price: R850
Wine of Origin: Stellenbosch
Abv: 14.1%

Stark-Condé Stellenbosch 2017
Price: R275
Wine of Origin: Stellenbosch
Abv: 14%

Stellenrust Douwe Steyn 2015
Price: R590
Wine of Origin: Stellenbosch
Abv: 14.3%

Tokara Reserve Collection 2017
Price: R330
Wine of Origin: Stellenbosch
Abv: 14.86%

About Cabernet Sauvignon

Cabernet Sauvignon is the world’s most famous red wine variety, one important reason for this being that it maintains a recognizable style and character almost everywhere it is established. It is late ripening and it can sometimes make for wines that are lean and astringent but the best examples display exceptionally deep colour, the characteristic aroma of blackcurrants (cassis) and a high level of tannins. In addition, they have an almost unequaled capacity to age in bottle.

Cabernet Sauvignon’s traditional home is Bordeaux, particularly the so-called Left Bank vineyards situated west of the Gironde river but other benchmark versions come from Napa Valley in Northern California and Coonawarra and Margaret River regions of Australia. In South Africa, it is the third most widely planted variety making up just under 11% of the total area under vineyard.

What does top Cabernet Sauvignon go for?

The average cellar-door price of the Top 10 this year is R385 a bottle with Babylonstoren 2018 and Ernie Els Major Series 2017 jointly the most affordable, both selling for R200 a bottle.

Buy the best Cabernet Sauvignon online

Johannesburg boutique wine retailer Dry Dock Liquor is offering all wines in the top 10 for sale – buy now.

In-depth analysis

To read the report in full, including key findings, tasting notes for the top wines and scores on the 100-point quality scale for all wines entered, download the following: Prescient Cabernet Sauvignon Report 2020



15 comment(s)

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    Johan Giliomee | 11 July 2020

    Are we on par or better than Nappa’s best Cab Sauv?

      Christian Eedes | 14 July 2020

      Hi Johan, Speaking very broadly, I think the SA’s top Cabs will hold its own against the best from anywhere in the world in sheer quality terms but allowance should be made for difference in aromatic and flavour profile due to regional growing conditions.

    Solomon Matipwili | 3 July 2020


    How do I enter my wine in the competition and also advertise in the magazine?

    Gareth | 1 July 2020

    Hi Christian,

    Thanks for compiling this report. It’s great to see a good turnout, even though one personal favourite doesn’t seem to have entered.

    What I find fascinating is that the more “entry level” offerings from established Cabernet producers such as Stark-Conde and Kleine Zalze faired better than their more expensive “flagships”. Could you please provide some notes on what stood out for the panel as differences in quality with these examples?

      Christian Eedes | 2 July 2020

      Hi Gareth, When it comes to the two Stark-Condé wines, there’s very little in it in sheer quality terms – Three Pines is essentially a single-vineyard wine while the wine designated as Stellenbosch might well be considered an Estate Blend consisting as it does of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Petit Verdot, 4% Petite Sirah, 2% Malbec, 1% Cabernet Franc and perhaps is more complete/less singular.

      As for the two Kleine Zalze wines, the Family Reserve 2016 plays off against the Vineyard Selection 2018 and vintage has to be a factor. The panel found the Family Reserve sweet, overly rich and lacking drive as opposed to the Vineyard Selection was that much more balanced while still in the plush house style.

    Matt A | 30 June 2020

    They have updated now to include a list of “some of the top 10 wines” but still include what looks like the Stark Conde three pines when in fact it was the Stellenbosch Cab that made the top 10.

    I know I am being pedantic but this is a wine site after all…

    Derek Sumption | 30 June 2020

    I agree with your previous commentator, unless there’s a fuller description on the Dry Dock site, I’m not buying!

      Taryn Pienaar | 30 June 2020

      Hi Derek, this is Taryn fro Dry Dock. Thank you for alerting us to these issues. We have now updated the site to reflect the correct vintages. We do hope that you will shop with us.

        Kevin R | 30 June 2020

        Hi Taryn,
        Just a polite heads-up to possibly save you headaches later – think you are still showing the Stark Conde 3 Pines although it’s been renamed on your site. There is quite a difference in price between the 3 Pines (approx R450) and their Stellenbosch Cab (featured here, approx R275).

    Matt A | 30 June 2020

    Hi, Have yet to read the report in full, but RE the link to Dry Dock. That is a bit misleading. I have been waiting for a few of these wines to be released so was surprised to know they had the full top 10. I followed the link and sure enough they do not have all of the top 10 listed. The wines they do have on sale either are not the correct vintage and in some instances do not even specify the vintage. This is going to sucker people into buying the wrong wine. Not fair advertising.

      Taryn Pienaar | 30 June 2020

      Hi Matt, this is Taryn from Dry Dock. Thank you for raising those concerns. We have now updated the site to reflect the correct vintages. Please note that the Le Riche Reserve is only being released in September. We do however now have all the wines reflecting under the link.

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