The 2023 CWG Auction wines rated: 91 – 92 points

By , 25 September 2023



The 39th Nedbank Cape Winemakers Guild (CWG) Auction is set to be held on Friday 6 October and Saturday 7 October 2022 at the Lord Charles Hotel in Somerset West – register here. This year’s auction will see a total of 39 wines from 31 guild members on offer – I tasted all of these wines sighted, notes and ratings to be released over the next three days. The wines to rate 91 – 92 points were as follows:

Cap Classique


Graham Beck Blanc de Blancs Chardonnay Barrel Fermented 2014 – Pieter Ferreira
W.O. Western Cape. 100% Chardonnay from Robertson and Darling. Fermented in a combination of foudre and barrel. Pear, lemon and orange, baked bread and vanilla on the nose while the palate is rich and broad with a creamy mousse – opulent rather than energetic.


Silverthorn Big Dog IX Cap Classique 2018 – John Loubser
W.O. Robertson. 69% Chardonnay, 31% Pinot Noir. 69% barrel-fermented; 53 months on the lees. The nose shows hints of lemon, raspberry and red apple to go with reduction as well as subtle nutty, yeasty notes. Good depth of fruit, tart acidity and creamy mousse, the finish gently savoury.


Graham Beck Blanc de Blancs Cuvée 108 Chardonnay 2014 – Pieter Ferreira
W.O. Coastal. 100% Chardonnay. 50% barrel fermented; 108 months on the lees. Complex but rather advanced and hard-to-describe aromatics – some lemon but also waxy, buttery notes. The palate is very rich with tangy acidity and a soft mousse, the finish intensely savoury. Alc: 12%.



Newton Johnson Family Vineyards Sandford Chardonnay 2021 – Gordon Newton Johnson
W.O. Upper Hemel-en-Aarde Valley. Lemon, orange, some waxiness plus hints of vanilla and spice. Rich and round with tangy acidity – an impression of sweetness initially but ends dry. An opulent wine that’s full of flavour. Alc: 14.2%.


Survivor CWG Chardonnay 2022 – Pierre Wahl
W.O. Tradouw. Exotic aromatics of lemon, orange and stone fruit plus floral perfume and spice on the nose. The palate is luscious – lots of sweet fruit offset by tangy acidity make this quite seductive. Alc: 13.73%.


Jordan CWG Chardonnay 2022 – Gary Jordan
W.O. Stellenbosch. Fermented and matured for 12 months in 228-litre barrels. Lemon, maybe some orange, vanilla and a trace of flinty reduction on the nose. The palate is rich and broad with a creamy texture and well-integrated acidity – technically sound but “California-esque” which is to say powerful and arguably lacking energy. Alc: 12.45%.



Boplaas CWG Daniel’s Legacy 2021 – Carel Nel
W.O. Western Cape. 55% Touriga Nacional, 21% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Shiraz and 8% Tinta Barocca. Exotic aromatics of red and black berries, a pronounced but not unattractive herbal note and flowers. The palate has good fruit depth, pleasantly tart acidity and smooth tannins – a wine with a certain glossiness about it. Alc: 14.33%.


David Finlayson Wines Inkunzi Tempranillo 2018 – David Finlayson
W.O. Stellenbosch. A slight reduction precedes dark berries, incense and earth on the nose while the palate is full bodied and statuesque – succulent fruit and an intensely dry finish, the acidity perhaps a little hard and disjointed. Alc: 14.8%.


Neil Ellis Wines Amper Bo Tempranillo 2017 – Warren Ellis
W.O. Bottleray. Cassis, cherries and plums plus leather, earth, vanilla and spice on the nose. Plump fruit, moderate acidity and tannins that are already quite mellow, the finish gently savoury. Satisfying if not scintillating drinking. Alc: 14.74%.


Spier Frans K Smit CWG Special Edition 2019 – Frans Smit
W.O. Stellenbosch. 43% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Cabernet Franc 19% Merlot and 11% Petit Verdot. Aromas of dark berries, earth, some leafiness and quite prominent oak-derived notes including vanilla, pencil shavings and spice. The palate shows dense fruit, bright acidity and firm tannins – perhaps slightly astringent on the finish. Big and chunky but not without balance, a quintessential example of a Cape Bordeaux Red Blend. Alc: 14.06%.


Survivor CWG Pinot Noir 2022 – Pierre Wahl
W.O. Hemel-en-Aarde Ridge. 30% whole-bunch fermentation. Rose, musk, cherry, herbs, vanilla and spice on the nose. The palate is rich and round – good fruit density, fresh acidity and fine yet still grippy tannins. Alc: 13.86%.


Dewaldt Heyns Family Wines CWG Shiraz Reserve 2021 – Dewaldt Heyns
W.O. Tulbagh. Matured for 20 months in new French oak. Red and black cherry, some reduction, vanilla and pepper on the nose. The palate is sweet, big and bold – bright acidity ensures some verve, while tannins are powdery, the texture smooth. Polished as you might expect from this winemaker. Alc: 14.73%,


3 comment(s)

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    Christian Eedes | 26 September 2023

    Hi Udo and Kwidpedoor,

    Thank you for your comments. I’d make two points: 1) The definition of a score of 90 – 92 on this website is “Excellent” – let’s keep wine scores real; and 2) the NJ Sandford has the highest alcohol of any of the seven examples of Chardonnay on Auction – to my palate, it’s not quite as focussed as some of the others.

    Udo | 26 September 2023

    The rating for the Sandford Chardonnay can’t be right. One of the most spectacular wines of the whole line-up! Maybe a typo or misunderstanding the wine.
    I tasted it twice, both times stunning.

    Kwispedoor | 25 September 2023

    I thought the 2021 Newton Johnson Sandford Chardonnay was quite spectacular. Such energy running through that wine!

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