Have you heard the news?? The highly anticipated annual Tim Atkin MW South African Report was recently released, and the results as always, outstanding!
After tasting 2,206 wines over a period of five weeks in March and June 2023, and in London on his return, Tim Atkin MW is upbeat about the South African wine industry and says it is “producing the greatest wines in its history” despite the prevailing economic and structural setbacks faced by many.
The reasons, he believes, are: “Better viticulture and site-selection, superior virus-free plant material and a broader palette of grape varieties.”
In his newly released 319-page 2023 South Africa Report, now in its 11th annual edition, he contends that the country’s whites are “some of the best on the planet” and claims “the Cape has eclipsed the Loire Valley as the source of the world’s best dry Chenin Blancs”. Meanwhile, its reds “are now a match for … its world-class whites”.
The only wine to gain full marks is a red, the Boschkloof Epilogue Syrah 2021, underscoring his confidence in South Africa’s expression of this Rhône grape. Two reds crack 99 points. They are the Le Riche Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2020 and the Porseleinberg Syrah 2021.
Some of the other high scoring wines come from our friends at Kanonkop Wine Estate, Warwick Wines and Meerlust Estate.
He acknowledges the decline in the national vineyard that has shrunk from a peak of just over 102 000 hectares in 2006 to the present 89 400 hectares, but also points to its increasing diversity. There are around 110 wine grape varieties currently under cultivation, with South Africa’s vines growing “in the oldest viticultural soils in the world”.
He highlights the extent to which terroir is increasingly defining South Africa’s best wines. While there is “more and more focus on the best areas for individual varieties and wine styles”, he believes the industry could benefit from “greater precision” in demarcation. There should be greater official accent placed on sub-regions, he asserts. This could accelerate the country’s focus on site-specific and soil-specific wines.
Once again, “Chenin makes a disproportionate number of South Africa’s top whites” either alone or in Mediterranean blends. He scores 29 Chenins 95 points or higher. Chardonnays is the second most successful variety, with 20 wines earning 95 points or more.
Tim Atkin MW says the South African wine industry is “producing the greatest wines in its history” despite setbacks faced by many. To purchase this complete report, where more details can be found, visit www.timatkin.com.
To Read what other critics including Tim Atkin MW think about South African wines click here to read our blog The Most Credible Critics Of South African Wine
Tim Aktin MW report
Chenin Blanc Association