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James Suckling: South African Report 2018

James Suckling has recently released his 2018 South African report, in which he celebrates the quality of white wines being produced, urging wine lovers to, ‘take note: South Africa is on its game for white wines! The country’s whites are now deserving of every wine consumer’s attention, not least for the excellent value they have to offer’. Additionally, he is excited about the red wines being made in ‘indisputably cool-climate areas’ such as the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley (Bouchard Finlayson) and Elgin (Paul Cluver and Catherine Marshall Wines; although these two are not featured in the report). A number of wines from our producers scored very highly – please note that some of these vintages are not yet available in the UK.

Bouchard Finlayson Blanc de Mer 2017 – 92 pts

Apple tart, dried apricots, dust and hot stones. Medium to full body, vibrant acidity, fleshy stone and tropical fruit. A spicy, nutmeg finish. Drink now.

Bouchard Finlayson Missionvale Chardonnay 2016 – 92 pts

Lots of papaya, mangoes, cream, spices, praline, candied citrus peel, apple pastries and vanilla. Full body, a textured and oily palate, pretty acidity and a long finish. Drink now.

Bouchard Finlayson Hannibal 2016 – 94 pts

Always one of our favorites. This shows leather, dried rose petals, spice box, red licorice, nutmeg and baking spices with hints of cloves. The palate is succulent and delicious. Really punctuated by the bright acidity that seeps through layers of red fruit and dried-flower undertones. Polished, pretty tannins and a long finish. A blend of sangiovese, pinot noir, nebbiolo, shiraz, mourvedre and barbera. Drink now or hold.

Bouchard Finlayson Galpin Peak Pinot Noir 2016 – 94 pts

This is really lovely, showing aromas of caramelized lemon peel, cloves, jasmine, eucalyptus, raspberry cheesecake and darker elements of black plums and cherries. The serving of the fruit on the palate is impressive, but it’s all so well contained by the encompassing acidity and silky tannins. A long finish. Drink now or hold.

DeMorgenzon DMZ Chardonnay 2017 – 90 pts

A fresh and easy chardonnay with sliced apples and white peaches. Medium body and a straight-up finish. Drink now.

DeMorgenzon Reserve Chardonnay 2016 – 91 pts

Preserved lemons, cooked apples, white flowers, vanilla and cloves. Medium-bodied, zesty and linear with pretty acidity and a creamy finish. Drink now.

DeMorgenzon DMZ Chenin Blanc 2017 – 90 pts

Lemon curd, preserved lemons, hay, green apples and lime. Medium body, fresh acidity and a fruity finish. Drink now.

DeMorgenzon Reserve Chenin Blanc 2016 – 94 pts

A very pronounced nose of mangoes, papaya, dried apricots, dried honeysuckle and peach pit. Medium to full body, but it’s the acidity that really lifts this through beautifully to the very long yet taut finish. A wonderful combination of raw fruit power and finesse. Drink now.

DeMorgenzon Maestro Blue 2015 – 92 pts

A complex and focused red with aromas and flavors of dark berries, spices, smoked meat. Medium-bodied, juicy and flavorful. A blend of 44% grenache, 29% mourvedre, 21% syrah and 6% petite syrah. Drink now.

DeMorgenzon Maestro Red 2015 – 91 pts

Cranberry sauce, iodine, iron, rust, citrus peel and dark chocolate with dried herbs. Full body, structured tannins, pretty acidity and a fresh finish. Drink in 2020. A blend of 42% cabernet sauvignon, 29% merlot, 15% malbec, 10% petit verdot and 4% cabernet franc.

DeMorgenzon DMZ Syrah 2015 – 91 pts

A spicy, herby syrah with lots of black peppers, ripe stems and plenty of brambleberries. Medium to full body, juicy tannins and a succulent finish. Drink now.

DeMorgenzon Reserve Syrah 2015 – 93 pts

A very fragrant and finely spiced syrah with notes of pressed dried violets, jasmine and eucalyptus. Tight and fine-grained on the palate with plenty of grippy tannins. A long, chewy finish. Drink in 2020.

Glenelly Glass Collection Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 – 90 pts

Brambleberries, dried herbs, raspberry cheesecake and blackberry compote. Full body, flavors of berry compote, juicy tannins and a round finish. Drink now.

Glenelly Estate Reserve Chardonnay 2016 – 90 pts

Sliced green apples, pears and dried white raisins. Medium-bodied, fresh and dry. Drink now.

Glenelly Estate Reserve Red Blend 2012 – 91 pts

Blackberry compote, pressed violets, mulberries and some eucalyptus. Full body, lots of delicious fruit, firm tannins and a flavorful finish. Drink in 2020. A blend of cabernet sauvignon, merlot, petit verdot and syrah.

Glenelly Estate Reserve Red Blend 2011 – 90 pts

Dark plums, dark cherries, baking spices, vanilla and leather. Full body, lots of dark fruit, medium acidity and a chewy finish. Drink in 2021. A blend of cabernet sauvignon, merlot, petit verdot and syrah.

Glenelly Stellenbosch Lady May 2012 – 92 pts

Freshly picked blackcurrants, pressed violets, dried herbs and licorice, as well as a hint of burnt-blackberry essence. Full-bodied and tannic, but well-structured with a lovely serving of acidity. A chewy finish. Drink in 2021. A blend of 89% cabernet sauvignon, 10% petit verdot and 1% cabernet franc.

Glenelly Glass Collection Syrah 2016 – 90 pts

Stewed blackberries, plums and blackcurrants with some cloves. Medium body, tangy acidity and a fruity finish. Drink now.

Kanonkop Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 – 92 pts

This shows some really nice fresh fruit in the form of just-picked blackcurrants, cassis, mulberries and orange peel. Medium-bodied, linear and tight. Drink now.

Kanonkop Pinotage 2016 – 93 pts

Intense but really attractive notes of ripe stems, blackberry crumble, incense, jasmine, pressed violets, bark and ivy extract. The palate’s also a mouthful with chewy tannins, but it’s delivered across a bed of razor-sharp acidity that brings it through to a mouthwatering finish. Really well done. Drink in 2021.

Kanonkop Paul Sauer 2015 – 94 pts

A pronounced but very vivid nose of blackberries, dried mint, eucalyptus, chamomile, light mulberries and baking spices. Full body, ripe yet very structured tannins and a fine streak of acidity. A long, chewy finish. Drink in 2021. A blend of cabernet sauvignon, merlot and cabernet franc.

Rust en Vrede Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 – 90 pts

Strawberries, raspberries, dried mint and eucalyptus. Medium body, good grip from the tannins, a fine line of acidity and a medium-chewy finish.

Rust en Vrede Estate Wine 2015 – 91 pts

Creme de cassis, blackberry compote and dried herbs. Full body, ripe tannins and a structured, chewy finish. Drink in 2021. A blend of 57% cabernet sauvignon, 34% syrah and 9% merlot.

Rust en Vrede Estate Syrah 2015 – 91 pts

Dark cherry compote, blackberry crumble and blueberry puree with vanilla and spices. Full body, juicy tannins and a velvety, full finish. Drink in 2019.