2017 SA Wine & Cellar Classifications confirm who's (still) on top form
published on:

Based on the best track records in 28 local and international forums for the assessment of wine quality and interest value over the past 10 years, the South African Wine & Cellar Classifications celebrate the country's leading outfits - those who are regularly on top form, their product judged top-notch again and again, year after year.

To be eligible for the Classification, updated annually since 2004, wines of the Cape must have earned very good to excellent reviews from at least one of the top judging panels for at least three vintages during the 10-year period under review – between 2007 and 2016 (inclusive) for the 2017 Classification. The critics include experts appointed for the Decanter World Wine Awards (UK), the International Wine Challenge (UK) and IWSC (UK), the Michelangelo awards (SA), Platter's SA Wine Guide (5 Stars and Highly Recommended), the Six Nations Challenge (AU), the Trophy Wine Show (SA) and the Veritas Awards (SA) – to mention just some of the panels – and it is the number of top-rated vintages as well as the type of accolades that determine Top 10 and Top 20 status among South Africa's most fancied wines in terms of the Classification.

Newcomers and resurgent champions in the Top Wine SA Hall of Fame – showcasing wines that have received very good ratings for at least eight releases/vintages during the past 10 years – include Ataraxia Chardonnay, Cloof The Very Sexy Shiraz, De Grendel Koetshuis Sauvignon Blanc and De Grendel Shiraz, Eagles’ Nest Shiraz, Flagstone Dark Horse Shiraz, Fleur du Cap Unfiltered Chardonnay, Groot Constantia Chardonnay, Kleine Zalze Family Reserve Shiraz, Nederburg Ingenuity (White Blend), Newton Johnson Family Vineyards Pinot Noir, Oak Valley Chardonnay, Rijk’s Reserve Pinotage, Stellenrust Barrel Fermented Chenin Blanc, Tokara Reserve Collection Elgin Sauvignon Blanc and Warwick Trilogy (Red Blend).

And among those producers joining or returning to the ranks of the Top 20 South African wineries in the 2017 SA Cellar Classification are Eagles’ Nest, Groot Constantia and Klein Constantia of the Cape Peninsula as well as La Motte of Franschhoek. 

‚óŹ Highlights of the 2017 SA Wine & Cellar Classifications celebrating the most consistently good wines of the various types produced in South Africa are given below in alphabetical order. The full Classifications can be viewed at www.topwinesa.com and are also available on request via email to the editor of Top Wine SA Mike Froud: mike@topwinesa.com


Highlights of 2017 SA Wine Classifications


Top 10 SA Chardonnay 

Chamonix Reserve

Groot Constantia

Hamilton Russell

Jordan Barrel Fermented

Jordan Nine Yards

Mulderbosch Barrel Fermented

Oak Valley

Paul Cluver Estate

Rustenberg Five Soldiers

Tokara Reserve Collection Stellenbosch


Top 10 SA Chenin Blanc 

Beaumont Hope Marguerite

Bellingham The Bernard Series Old Vine


DeMorgenzon Reserve

Kanu KCB

Ken Forrester The FMC

Kleine Zalze Cellar Selection Bush Vines

Kleine Zalze Vineyard Selection

Spier 21 Gables

Stellenrust Barrel Fermented


Top 10 SA Sauvignon Blanc

Cape Point


David Nieuwoudt Ghost Corner

De Grendel Koetshuis

Diemersdal Eight Rows

Diemersdal MM Louw

Graham Beck Pheasants' Run

Kleine Zalze Family Reserve Sur Lie

Nederburg Private Bin D234

Tokara Reserve Collection Elgin


Top 10 SA White Blends

Cape Point Isliedh

Flagstone Treaty Tree

Miles Mossop Saskia

Nederburg Ingenuity

Nitida Coronata Integration

Sadie Palladius

Spier Creative Block 2

Tokara Director's Reserve

Vergelegen G.V.B

Vondeling Babiana


Top 10 SA Cabernet Sauvignon 


Cederberg Five Generations

Fleur du Cap Unfiltered

Guardian Peak Lapa


Le Riche Reserve

Nederburg Private Bin R163

Rustenberg Peter Barlow

Stark-Condé Three Pines




Top 10 SA Merlot 

Anura Reserve

De Grendel

Dieu Donné


Fleur du Cap Unfiltered


La Petite Ferme

Laibach Claypot


Shannon Mount Bullet



Top 10 SA Pinot Noir 

Bouchard Finlayson Galpin Peak

Bouchard Finlayson Tête de Cuvée

Chamonix Reserve

Crystallum Cuvée Cinéma

Hamilton Russell


Newton Johnson Family Vineyards

Oak Valley

Paul Cluver Seven Flags


Top 10 Pinotage 

Beyerskloof Diesel

Diemersfontein Carpe Diem

Flagstone Writer's Block


KWV The Mentors

Rijk's Private Cellar

Rijk's Reserve

Simonsig Redhill

Wildekrans Barrel Select Reserve

Windmeul Reserve 


Top 10 SA Shiraz/Syrah 

Boekenhoutskloof Syrah

Bon Courage Inkará


De Grendel

Eagles' Nest

Hartenberg The Stork

Kleine Zalze Family Reserve

Rustenberg Buzzard Kloof Syrah


Simonsig Merindol Syrah


Top 10 SA Red Blends 

Eikendal Classique

Ernie Els Signature

Jordan Cobblers Hill

Kaapzicht Steytler Vision

Kanonkop Paul Sauer

La Motte Pierneef Collection Syrah Viognier


Sadie Columella

Saronsberg Full Circle

Tokara Director's Reserve


Top 10 Sparkling Cap Classique 

Bon Courage Jacques Bruére Blanc De Blancs

Bon Courage Jacques Bruére Brut Reserve

Desiderius Pongrácz

Graham Beck Brut Blanc De Blancs

JC Le Roux Scintilla

Laborie Blanc De Blancs

Simonsig Cuvée Royale Blanc De Blancs

Simonsig Kaapse Vonkel Brut

Villiera Monro Brut

Villiera Woolworths Vintage Reserve Brut 


Top 10 SA Unfortified Dessert 

Delheim Edelspatz Noble Late Harvest

Fairview La Beryl Blanc

Fleur du Cap Noble Late Harvest

Klein Constantia Vin de Constance Natural Sweet

Mullineux Straw Wine

Nederburg Private Bin Edelkeur Chenin Blanc Noble Late Harvest

Nederburg Private Bin Eminence Noble Late Harvest Muscadel

Nederburg Winemasters Noble Late Harvest

Neethlingshof Maria Noble Late Harvest

Paul Cluver Riesling Noble Late Harvest


Top 10 SA Fortified Dessert 

Badsberg Red Muscadel

Bon Courage Red Muscadel

Bon Courage White Muscadel

Du Toitskloof Hanepoot Jerepigo

KWV White Muscadel Jerepigo

Nuy Red Muscadel

Nuy White Muscadel

Orange River Cellars Red Muscadel

Orange River Cellars White Muscadel

Rooiberg Red Muscadel

Slanghoek Red Muscadel 


Top 10 Cape Ports 

Axe Hill Cape Vintage

Boplaas Cape Tawny NV

Boplaas Cape Vintage

Boplaas Cape Vintage Reserve

De Krans Cape Tawny NV

De Krans Cape Vintage

De Krans Cape Vintage Reserve

Delaire Graff Cape Vintage

KWV Cape Tawny NV

Landskroon Cape Vintage

*  Where there are more than 10 wines included in the Top 10 Classifications there was a tie for 10th place


Top 20 SA Wine Cellars Overall – 2017 Classification



Cape Point Vineyards

Cederberg Private Cellar


Eagles' Nest

Fleur Du Cap (Bergkelder)

Groot Constantia Estate

Hamilton Russell Vineyards

Jordan Wine Estate

Kanonkop Wine Estate

Klein Constantia

Kleine Zalze

La Motte


Paul Cluver Wines

Rustenberg Wines


Simonsig Wine Estate



* The SA Cellar Classification is based on the ratings of wines that are unfortified, i.e. with no spirit added


2017 Top Wine SA Hall of Fame

The following South African wines stand out as having received top accolades – gold medal standard or better – from the top tasting panels locally and/or internationally for at least eight vintages in respect of a 10-year span of vintages rated during the past 10 years (2007 to 2016) 

Ataraxia Chardonnay

Beaumont Hope Marguerite (Chenin)

Beyerskloof Diesel Pinotage

Beyerskloof Pinotage Reserve

Boekenhoutskloof Cabernet Sauvignon

Boekenhoutskloof Syrah

Bon Courage Inkará Shiraz

Boplaas Cape Vintage Reserve (Port)

Cape Point Isliedh (White Blend)

Cederberg Five Generations Cabernet Sauvignon

Cederberg Sauvignon Blanc

Cederberg Shiraz

Chamonix Chardonnay Reserve

Chamonix Pinot Noir Reserve

Cloof The Very Sexy Shiraz

David Nieuwoudt Ghost Corner Sauvignon Blanc (Cederberg Cellar)

De Grendel Koetshuis Sauvignon Blanc

De Grendel Shiraz

De Krans Cape Vintage Reserve (Port)

Diemersdal Eight Rows Sauvignon Blanc

Diemersfontein Carpe Diem Pinotage

Eagles' Nest Shiraz

Ernie Els Signature (Red Blend)

Fairview La Beryl Blanc (Straw Wine)

Flagstone Dark Horse Shiraz

Fleur du Cap Noble Late Harvest (Bergkelder)

Fleur du Cap Unfiltered Cabernet Sauvignon (Bergkelder)

Fleur du Cap Unfiltered Chardonnay (Bergkelder)

Graham Beck Pheasants' Run Sauvignon Blanc

Groot Constantia Chardonnay

Guardian Peak Lapa Cabernet Sauvignon

Hamilton Russell Chardonnay

Hartenberg The Stork Shiraz

Jordan Barrel Fermented Chardonnay

Jordan Nine Yards Chardonnay

Kanonkop Cabernet Sauvignon

Kanonkop Paul Sauer (Red Blend)

Kanonkop Pinotage

Kanu KCB Chenin Blanc

Ken Forrester The FMC Chenin Blanc

Klein Constantia Vin de Constance Natural Sweet

Kleine Zalze Family Reserve Shiraz

Kleine Zalze Family Reserve Sur Lie Sauvignon Blanc

La Motte Pierneef Collection Syrah Viognier

Miles Mossop Saskia (White Blend)

Morgenster (Red Blend)

Mulderbosch Barrel Fermented Chardonnay

Nederburg Ingenuity White Blend (White Blend)

Nederburg Private Bin D234 Sauvignon Blanc

Nederburg Private Bin Edelkeur Chenin Blanc Noble Late Harvest

Nederburg Private Bin Eminence Noble Late Harvest Muscadel

Nederburg Private Bin R163 Cabernet Sauvignon

Nederburg Winemasters Noble Late Harvest

Newton Johnson Family Vineyards Pinot Noir

Nitida Coronata Integration (White Blend)

Oak Valley Chardonnay

Paul Cluver Estate Chardonnay

Paul Cluver Riesling Noble Late Harvest

Raats Family Cabernet Franc

Raka Biography Shiraz

Rijk's Private Cellar Pinotage

Rijk's Reserve Pinotage

Rust en Vrede Estate (Red Blend)

Rustenberg Five Soldiers Chardonnay

Sadie Columella (Red Blend)

Sadie Palladius (White Blend)

Saronsberg Full Circle (Red Blend)

Saronsberg Shiraz

Simonsig Kaapse Vonkel Brut (MCC)

Simonsig Redhill Pinotage

Stark-Condé Three Pines Cabernet Sauvignon

Stellenrust Barrel Fermented Chenin Blanc

Thelema Cabernet Sauvignon

Tokara Director's Reserve Red

Tokara Director's Reserve White

Tokara Reserve Collection Elgin Sauvignon Blanc

Tokara Reserve Collection Stellenbosch Chardonnay

Uva Mira The Single Tree Chardonnay

Vergelegen G.V.B White

Warwick Trilogy (Red Blend)

Waterford Cabernet Sauvignon

Windmeul Reserve Pinotage


Seeking consenses among the world’s wine experts

The SA Wine and Cellar Classifications are based on reviews by the most respected panels of judges in forums where South African wines have a significant presence:

Cap Classique Challenge – South Africa

Cape Port Challenge – South Africa

Champagne & Sparkling Wine World Championships – United Kingdom

Chardonnay du Monde – France

Chenin Blanc Top 10 Challenge – South Africa

Concours Mondial de Bruxelles – Belgium

Concours Mondial du Sauvignon – France

Decanter World Wine Awards – United Kingdom

Drinks Business Global Masters – United Kingdom

International Wine & Spirit Competition – United Kingdom

International Wine Challenge – United Kingdom

Michelangelo International Wine & Spirits Awards – South Africa

Muskadel SA Awards – South Africa

Muscats du Monde – France

Perold Cape Blend Competition – South Africa

Platter’s South African Wine Guide

Rosé Rocks – South Africa

Sauvignon Blanc Top 10 Competition – South Africa

Shiraz SA Wine Challenge – South Africa

Six Nations Wine Challenge – Australia

Sommeliers Selection – South Africa

Syrah du Monde – France

Top 10 Pinotage Competition – South Africa

Top 100 SA Wine Challenge – South Africa

Trophy Wine Show – South Africa

Ultra Value Wine Challenge – South Africa

Veritas Awards – South Africa

Winemag.com – South Africa


Tel: +27.218552374   Fax: +27.218552373   Email: tasting@kenforresterwines.com  
Scholtzenhof farm, 96 Winery Road , Stellenbosch, 7599, South Africa