Following on the Top 20 Wineries, and the leading white wines, here are the results of the remaining categories I asked an international panel to vote on (I’ll append the names of the complete panel below, although just a few of them did not participate in the voting on individual wines).
While it had proved easy to get a plausible list of Top 5 White Wines, the same pattern did not happen with the reds, and after the first three the number of votes fell away dramatically. Also very different from the whites, some of which came from wineries that didn’t themselves make it into the Top 20 Wineries list – the red winners came from the three highest-placed wineries on that list.
The clear winner was Sadie Family Columella (with 16 votes), the blend of syrah and 18%ish mourvèdre. The winery also got votes for two wines in the Old Vineyard Series: Pofadder (cinsaut) and Soldaat (grenache).
Second place went to Kanonkop Paul Sauer, the overperforming, internationally underpriced Bordeaux-style wine from Stellenbosch (14 votes). Mullineux Family got third place with their Schist Syrah (10 votes) – but they also received 4 votes for the other of their released single-origin syrahs, Granite, as well as 3 voted for their (again overperforming and underpriced blended Syrah).
Some way behind, two wines tied with 6 votes each: another Bordeaux-blend, the Mvemve-Raats De Compostella, and Newton Johnson Pinot Noir. But it must be emphatically noted that the Newton Johnson vote was also diluted – there were votes for two of their single-vineyard pinots: Windansea (4) and Block 6 (2).
There was a total of 46 wines nominated for the Top 5 Reds – but more than half, 25, received only one vote.
Top 3 Sparkling Wines
Because it is a much smaller category, I asked for only 3 nominations from the voters. It’s tempting to call the result a tie, for reasons you will discern. At least there is no doubt which three wineries triumphed. Most votes (12) went to Villiera Monro Brut. Graham Beck Blanc de Blancs got 10 votes, but there were 7 votes for the same house’s Cuvée Clive, and 2 more for the Brut Zero. Silverthorn – by far the youngest of these three producers of méthode cap classique wines – received a total of 12 votes: 7 for the Green Man Blanc de Blancs and 5 for Jewel Box. Colmant was just outside the list. (It’s maybe worth noting again, to understand the mindset of the voters, that none of the these producers made it into the Top 20 Wineries.)
Top 3 Dessert Wines
Here, calling for 3 nominations again, I combined fortified and unfortified sweet wines. The winner was Klein Constantia Vin de Constance (12 votes) – only just ahead of Paul Cluver Riesling Noble Late Harvest (11 votes). Representing the fortifieds, De Krans Cape Vintage Reserve got 8 votes.
The voting panel:
Sommeliers: Hansi Joakim Blackadder; Gareth Ferreira; Neil Grant; Higgo Jacobs; James Pietersen; Joerg Pfuetzner; Francois Rautenbach
Retailers: Carrie Adams; Carolyn Barton; Mark Norrish; Roland Peens; Caroline Rillema
Local writers and critics: Michael Crossley; Christian Eedes; Michael Fridjhon; Edo Heyns; Tim James; Angela Lloyd; Melvyn Minnaar; Cathy Marston; Maggie Mostert; Ingrid Motteux; Christine Rudman; Cathy van Zyl
Foreign writers and critics: Tim Atkin; Tom Cannavan; Jamie Goode; Neal Martin; Anthony Rose