South Africa is often considered a hybrid of Old and New World. It has a rich winemaking history stretching back over 400 years. However, apartheid-related wine boycotts across the 20th century caused it to drop off the map somewhat, and it wasn’t until the 1990s that new, artisan producers started to appear in the country, making some great wine which is still renowned today.
The relatively cool climate – with the influence of the Atlantic and Indian oceans – enables South Africa to grow some excellent white grapes. Chenin Blanc is the first that probably comes to mind when you think about South Africa. And that’s understandable – there’s more Chenin planted in South Africa than there is in its Anjou homeland. However, you’ll also find world-class Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling, along with the likes of Semillon and Vermentino.
And what a year for South African white wine in the IWSC 2022, with 10 producers being awarded Gold medals. Just topping the list with 97 points was GPS Series Sauvignon Blanc-Semillon 2020 – ‘a magnificently sensuous wine bursting with gorgeous notes,’ according to IWSC judges. Other notable wines include Quest, Old Vine Chenin Blanc 2021 with 96 points. It displays the typical Chenin characteristics of ‘baked lemon, melon zest, citrus and honey,’ and has a ‘richly fruited and textured creamy complexity.’ Another Chenin, also scoring 96 points, was Stellenbosch Vineyards Credo 2021, described by judges as ‘invitingly full’, ‘textured’, and with ‘lavishly layered complexity’.
It isn’t all about the Chenin Blanc however, with Delheims, Edelspatz Botrytis Riesling 2020 impressing judges with its ‘enhanced aromatics with an abundance of complexity’, and the ‘dazzingly aromatic’ Jordan Nine Yards Chardonnay 2020.
Further highlighting South Africa’s incredible performance at the 2022 IWSC, three South African white wines – all from the Western Cape – were also awarded a trophy: Barrique 2019, Vrede en Lust; GPS Series Sauvignon Blanc-Semillon 2020, Richard Kershaw Wines; and The Vineyard Collection Grenache Blanc 2021, Perdeberg Wines. After the IWSC medal announcements, an elite team of judges gathered to retaste the Gold medal winning wines. With more than 4,000 wines tasted over the course of the awards, just 20 wines were selected as 2022’s trophy winners.
Discover these fantastic bottles and even more superb South African white wine, all tasted blind by experts, in our selection of award-winners at this year’s IWSC.
HOW DO WE JUDGE THESE WINES?
We run a tightly structured, rigorous wine tasting process. That means that each wine sample is pre-poured into numbered glasses and assessed blindly by the judges. Most importantly, our IWSC wine judges are experts in their field, who work across all sectors of the wine industry. For evidence, see our full list of judges.
HOW DO WE SCORE THESE WINES?
Only the best wines sampled receive a Gold or Silver award. For example, to win Gold, wines have to score between 95 and 100 points. Meanwhile, Silver wines range from 90 to 94 points. Click here to read more on our scoring system.
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