Prescient Signature Red Blend Report 2020: Top 10

By , 1 September 2020




This year’s Signature Red Blend Report convened by and sponsored by multinational financial services company Prescient is now out. There were 45 entries from 39 producers and these were tasted blind (labels out of sight) by a three-person panel, scoring done according to the 100-point quality scale.

Top 10

The 10 best wines overall are as follows:

Boschendal Black Angus 2017
Price: R320
Wine of Origin: Stellenbosch
Abv: 14.5%

Boschendal Nicolas 2017
Price: R199
Wine of Origin: Coastal Region
Abv: 14%

De Krans Tritonia Calitzdorp Blend 2017
Price: R195
Wine of Origin: Calitzdorp
Abv: 13.71%

Guardian Peak SMG 2017
Price: R160
Wine of Origin: Western Cape
Abv: 14.5%

Joostenberg Bakermat 2017
Price: R250
Wine of Origin: Paarl
Abv: 14.5%

Org de Rac Die Waghuis Red 2018
Price: R150
Wine of Origin: Swartland
Abv: 14.5%

Org de Rac Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2019
Price: R95
Wine of Origin: Swartland
Abv: 14%

Rust en Vrede Estate 2017
Price: R450
Wine of Origin: Stellenbosch
Abv: 14.8%

Tierhoek Grenache Syrah Mourvedre 2019
Price: R120
Wine of Origin: Piekenierskloof
Abv: 13.21%

Warwick Three Cape Ladies 2017
Price: R190
Wine of Origin: Stellenbosch
Abv: 14.47%

The Rust en Vrede barrel cellar.

About the category

Why should South Africa be bound by the Bordeaux model when it comes to creating great blended red wine? Perhaps the Rhône is a better reference point given local growing conditions while the so-called “Cape Blend” incorporating Pinotage potentially gives us a unique selling proposition. Then, of course, there are the red blends of yesteryear – Alto Rouge, Chateau Libertas and Rustenberg Dry Red to name but three – which conformed to no particular model but are revered for their complexity and longevity.

Once again, we called for wines which were “distinctive of their originators” and instead of the usual practice of dividing them into various sub-groups according to style (Pinotage-based vs Shiraz-based being the differentiation most usually made), we tasted them as one continuous line-up – the thinking being that the fundamentals of wine appreciation such as complexity and balance should apply when it came to making quality assessments.

What does a top Signature Red Blend go for?

The average price of the Top 10 is R212,90 with Org De Rac Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2019 the most affordable at R95 a bottle.

In-depth analysis

To read the report in full, including key findings, tasting notes for the top wines, buyer’s guide and scores on the 100-point quality scale for all wines entered, download the following: Prescient Signature Red Blend Report 2020

Shop online

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



4 comment(s)

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    Uwe Böbs | 2 September 2020

    Hi and thanks for the prompt reply. I stand to be corrected, and I accept your reasoning given. It is of course, the winemakers prerogative to enter or not.
    I also understand that estates and winemakers need a platform to compare, use these competitions as a sounding board and to showcase a winning wine to the world to possibly negotiate better terms of trade. That is entirely understandable.
    If winemakers call for this lumped-together competition, I have no qualms. Is it however, not more due to the lack of bigger numbers of entries in separate competitions (i.e. how many entries would you get from a Rhône style competition) that this competition is the alternative?
    I find it difficult to have to compare a solid Stellenbosch Red in eg. the Rust en Vrede Estate Red with the Fairview Extrano or the GSM from Tierhoek?
    Will one not automatically drop out of contention because of its lighter, softer style than a full-bodied red or visa versa? Can one then actually taste and compare these at a blind tasting?

    Uwe Böbs | 2 September 2020

    I personally think you are doing a serious disservice to winemakers and producers by lumping all these blends together and I think this competition is not quite doing justice to some great blends:
    How for eg. can they compare a Fairview Extra~no (which is a pure Italian varietal blend) with a Rust en Vrede Estate Red, or the Org de Rac Shiraz Cab Sauv Merlot blend. Or the Tierhoek GSM (or the Org de Rac SMGV) with the Ernie Els Proprietor`s Blend (Shiraz plus Bordeaux)
    All great wines on their own but surely you cannot compare them fairly?

      Christian Eedes | 2 September 2020

      Hi Uwe, Our departure point is that attempting to divide wines into very specific sub-categories is ultimately a task with no hope of success. We would argue that growing conditions (terroir) and winemaking intention are just as important, if not more so, than what varieties get used. We think that more inspiration should be taken from local red wines of the middle 20th century where just about all varieties were utilised. For the record, Extrano is from Tempranillo, Grenache and Carignan and Fairview position it as being broadly Spanish in style.

        Elliot Sober | 2 September 2020

        i dont agree , variety matters most. a sauvignon blanc in NZ is going to taste more like a Cape SB than a NZ Chardonnay. Genetics is (almost) everything.

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