With over 3 000 grape farms and just short of 600 cellars, the dynamic South African wine scene is captured in the annual Platter’s by Diners Club South African Wine Guide. The 2018 guide was launched in Cape Town on Friday 3 November at The Table Bay Hotel with
industry representatives, media and consumers eager to hear about the country’s top performing wine producers and wines and hand over their awards.
The 2018 Platter’s announcements brought many celebrations to a number of Cape South Coast wineries. A scoop for the Overberg is the inaugural Fortified Dessert Wine of the Year category which was presented to Beaumont Family Wines Starboard. This Bot River winner was the first announcement for the evening and saw winemaker Sebastian Beaumont, surprised but very proud, stepping up to receive the award. Sebastian continued this winning streak with Beaumont’s Chenin blanc, Hope Marguerite 2016, also taking Five Stars.
Bouchard Finlayson Awards
Of special significance for the Hemel-en-Aarde wine region was the performance of our local Pinot noirs. Only four Pinot noir wines were awarded Five Stars and two of them were from Hemel-en-Aarde – Bouchard Finlayson Galpin Peak Pinot Noir 2015 and Creation The Art of Pinot Noir 2016.
Bouchard Finlayson Galpin Peak Pinot Noir is no stranger to accolades and earlier this year the same vintage received international recognition when it won a gold medal and a regional trophy in the 2017 International Wine Challenge in the UK. Under the leadership of Peter Finlayson, the founder and cellar master of Bouchard Finlayson, the estate has been a pioneer in the production of Pinot noir in the South African market since 1991.
Winemaker Chris Albrecht, who has been with Bouchard Finlayson for seven vintages, says Pinot noir carries the crown of being the most terroir-expressive of all grape varieties. “We
are fortunate in that the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley represents that unique combination of soil and climate that exists in only a handful of places, providing the exact balance for the perfect expression of this elusive grape.”
Creation The Art of Pinot Noir 2016 was crafted by the co-owner and cellar master of Creation, Jean-Claude (JC) Martin, whose wife Carolyn, co-owner and marketing director of Creation, is Peter Finlayson’s niece (Carolyn’s father is Peter’s brother Walter Finlayson of
Glen Carlou fame).
JC is originally from Switzerland, where the couple were living until they decided to settle permanently in Hermanus in 2004. In fact, the story goes that, while the young couple were visiting Peter and his wife Geta in Voëlklip during a holiday in 2002, it was Peter who showed JC the virgin land on Hemel-en-Aarde Ridge which he considered suitable for vineyards. What JC found on this small farm were the ideal conditions for the successful cultivation of a wide range of cultivars, including, of course, Pinot noir. And thus Creation was born.
The limited-release Creation The Art of Pinot Noir was launched in 2013 and since then it has performed exceptionally well, locally and abroad. “We’re delighted with this significant accolade coming from what must be South Africa’s most influential wine guide. It certainly bolsters the estate’s proud track record for Pinot,” says Carolyn.
While the Creation Art of Pinot Noir can be described as the ‘Pinnacle of Pinot’, the estate also boasts an enviable track record for its Estate and Reserve Pinot Noir. Renowned British author and wine columnist, Jamie Goode, recently scored the 2015 Creation Reserve Pinot Noir 92 and the 2015 Creation Art of Pinot Noir an even more impressive 95. The authoritative Tim Atkin MW also gave the 2015 Creation Art of Pinot Noir a 95-point rating.
Locally winery Hermanuspietersfontein has long been associated with the production of premium Sauvignon blanc wines from grapes cultivated on their Sondagskloof farm. They stood their ground on this front, with winemaker Wilhelm Pienaar collecting Hermanuspietersfontein’s third Platter’s Five Star award for Kat met die Hout Been 2015. This blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon is now exclusively available at The Wine Village for tastings and sales.
Other local winners were winemakers Chris and Suzaan Alheit, who collected full marks for their Alheit La Colline 2016 which was produced in the Hemelrand cellar of Hans and Mary Ann Evenhuis.
Another local link to the 38th edition of the Platter’s Guide comes via the publisher, Jean-Pierre Rossouw. Jean-Pierre is no stranger to our region as he is based in the Overstrand
and when not working on the annual publication of the wine guide he can be found in the Walker Bay surf.