South African Wine: Best In Southern Hemisphere


 

No doubt, you'd say we are biased, when the title of our blog reads South African Wine is Best In Southern Hemisphere. But there is actually data to prove the point.

Recently, we subscribed to www.robertparker.com, a globally respected wine site that rates thousands of wines from all over the world. We highly recommend the US$13 monthly subscription (with a free one-month trial) for wine enthusiasts that wish to get opinions about the wines they are looking to buy, either for investment or for consumption at this weekend’s barbecue.

You can sort by country, grape varietal and even by the name of the winemaker if you know it. Naturally, we were curious to see how South African wines stand up under the Parker microscope when compared to its contemporaries in the Southern Hemisphere. The results revealed that South Africa has the highest average score over the period 2012-2017, and together with Argentina it is the only country to consistently score 90 and above.

Country/Region

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

Average

Argentina

92E

96I

92I

92R

95R

91R

93

Australia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

South Australia

89T

91T

94T

87R

94T

94T

91.5

Western Australia

90T

92T

91T

90T

91T

91T

90.8

New South Wales

88T

85I

89I

94T

81I

78I

85.6

Chile

91E

93I

92E

91I

93R

87R

91.2

New Zealand

84E

85E

86E

90E

91R

82I

86.3

South Africa

96E

91R

96E

92E

93R

91E

93.2

Average

90

90.4

91.4

90.8

91.1

87.7

 

Source: robertparker.com

Note: Full data is only available across all countries up to 2017.

Rating ranges:                          

96-100 – Extraordinary
90-95 – Outstanding
80-89 – Above Average
70-49 – Average

Maturity:

E – Early maturing and accessible
– Irregular
R – Ready to drink
T – Still tannic

Ratings are of course only part of the wine equation. Cost is also a consideration for most wine buyers.  Happily, South African wines also score well in this area too, this is due in part to the weakness of the South African Rand, but also because South African wines do not command the kind of price premium that well known Southern Hemisphere wines command.

If we take New Zealand’s well known, and highly regarded winemaker, Cloudy Bay, as an example, we see that their 2016 Chardonnay is priced at S$49 on www.vivino.com and is given 89 points by Robert Parker. Compare that with South Africa’s Eikendal Janina Unwooded Chardonnay, which also scores an 89 from Parker, but is 13% cheaper at S$43 on www.vivino.com and www.winetoshare.com

The same is true of certain reds. Cloudy Bay’s highly rated Pinot Noir is another example. Priced at S$65 on www.vivino.com, the 2015 vintage was given 90 points by Parker. South Africa’s Crystallum Peter Max Pinot Noir 2015 was also awarded 90 Points by Parker, but is retailing on www.vivino.com and www.winetoshare.com at S$58.

Wine, like art, is personal in nature. What one drinker’s palate says of a wine cannot be the final word (even Robert Parker’s), but the data across six years reveals a story of South African renaissance in this ancient and cherished process. South Africa has just celebrated 362 years of wine making history. Three and a half centuries after the persecuted French Huguenots arrived in the Western Cape and planted their first vines in Franschhoek (“French Corner” in Dutch), what a privilege it is to be drinking these world beating fine wines.

 

WineToShare.com is a specialist in South African Wine. Effective March 1, 2021 we will be incorporating Robert Parker’s ratings on selected wines that we carry in our store.