Over The Barrel | Platter’s 20

Over The Barrel | Platter’s 2014 ‘aquamarine’ edition launched – now with brandy

The new John Platter Wine Guide for 2014 (‘aquamarine edition’) will be released on Friday 8 November with a couple of great additions to the already packed annual book on SA wines.

Over The Barrel | Platter’s 20


Platter aquamarine Guide 2014

In a remarkable year for South African wines the new Platter Guide chose a staggering 80  five star wines, the guide’s highest honour, up from 62 in the previous edition.

This was the 34th edition of South Africa’s original and trusted wine adviser but now also guides one through the ins and outs of locally produced brandy and ‘sherry’.

The new guide for the first time includes descriptions and ratings of more than 60 brandies and husk spirits across a broad spectrum – from ultra-exclusive Au.Ra to ubiquitous ‘Klippies’ – together with brief profiles of distillers and brands.  The leading South African sherry-style wines are also featured in the 2014 edition.

The judges and tasters for the 2014 edition were:

  • Michael Fridjhon, Angela Lloyd
  • Master of Wine Cathy van Zyl
  • Cape Wine Masters Winnie Bowman, Greg de Bruyn, Tim James, Christine Rudman, Meryl Weaver
  • David Biggs, David Clarke, Christian Eedes, Higgo Jacobs, Cathy Marston, Fiona McDonald, Ingrid Motteux, Greg Mutambe, Jörg Pfützner, James Pietersen & Dave Swingler.

It is great to see the number of Cape Wine Masters on the list of judges and tasters.


For those not aware, the rating system is out of five stars, five being exceptional bottlings identified by the individual tasters and then also emerge from a second round of blind tastings (without sight of the label), still with the judges’ highest rating.

Of the five star awarded wines, the red and white that receive the most votes from the judging panel are named Platter’s Wines of the Year.

This year the Red Wine Of The Year is Newton Johnson Windansea Pinot Noir 2012 (Wine of Origin Upper Hemel-en-Aarde Valley), described in the guide as “rich, fragrant and warmly sensuous” while the White Wine Of The Year is De Morgenzon Maestro White 2012 (Wine of Origin Stellenbosch), a blend of Chenin Blanc, Roussanne, Viognier and Chardonnay noted as “perfectly balanced for delicious current drinking or keeping”.

In an ongoing focus on value for money, Platter’s identifies a number of entry-level wines which are exceptionally drinkable and well priced. The best of these, like the five star candidates, go into a second round of blind tasting to select the Superquaffer of the Year. For the fourth time since Superquaffer inception in 2006, the ultra-easy sipper of the year is a Chenin Blanc: Boland Kelder Five Climates Chenin Blanc 2013 (Wine of Origin Paarl), praised in the guide as a “cracking crowd pleaser” and an “over-deliverer of note”.

The names of the 14 other top Quaffers appear in the new guide under the heading “Wines of the Year” along with the 80 five stars, 114 Highly Recommended wines (which missed five stars but are nonetheless extremely fine and collectible in their own right), and 89 reds and whites showing particular potential for cellaring (these age worthy wines appear under the banner ‘Buy Now, Drink Later’).

Platter’s prestigious Winery of the Year award is the editor’s (Philip van Zyl) personal selection after considering a variety of criteria, the aim being to showcase a producer who epitomizes the best of South African wine-growing today. “The award is influenced by the results of the five star tasting,” says the editor, “and this edition’s haul of four maximum ratings gives Mullineux Family Wines an astonishing 11 five stars to date, and places them firmly in the league of the greatest modern-era South African wineries. This in just seven years of operation! Warmest congratulations go to winemakers/co-owners Chris and Andrea Mullineux and the team on an exceptional achievement.”

Brandy tastings and ratings on Platter’s familiar five-star scale were done by Cape Wine Masters Winnie Bowman and Tim James, with constant reference to Dave Hughes, perhaps South Africa’s most experienced judge of spirits and founder of the Cape Wine Academy.  The “sherries” were assessed by Winnie Bowman and Cape Wine Master Christine Rudman.

“By publishing brandy and sherry notes alongside those for wines,” says Platter’s new publisher, Jean-Pierre Rossouw, “we’re not only providing useful information and buying advice but also intending to create a sense of discovery and excitement among our readers. Many top producers make brandies and sherry-style wines, and they are world-class. It may surprise consumers that Nederburg produces brandy; or that Douglas Green makes “sherry“ – and these listings will hopefully prompt further exploration of South Africa’s internationally acclaimed brandy and sherry-style offerings.”

In addition to spotlighting some 900 South African producers, merchants and brands, and over 7,400 wines, brandies and “sherries”, Platter’s 2014 also packs extensive information on where to go and what to do in wine country.

Dining, accommodation and cellar door tasting options are covered extensively, along with many winery amenities, attractions and activities. GPS coordinates; easy-to-use maps and quick look-up tables provide invaluable help for visitors planning their own Winelands rambles, while listings of specialised wine tour operators offer a variety of alternatives for those searching for a guided experience.

Fully updated notes on the major wine growing regions, grape varieties, wine making styles, wine tasting terms, and the major wine competitions and awards, as well as listings of wine educators country-wide complete the wide-ranging Platter’s offering.

The 5 star wines and brandies from the Platter 2014 guide are:


Cabernet Franc

– Raats Family 2011

– Warwick 2010

Cabernet Sauvignon

– Boekenhoutskloof 2011

– Cederberg Five Generations 2011

– Ernie Els Proprietor’s 2011

– Neil Ellis Vineyard Selection 2010

РStark-Cond̩ Three Pines 2011


РChateau Naud̩ Le Vin de Fran̤ois 2011

– Rijk’s Reserve 2009

– Spioenkop ‘1900’ 2012

Pinot Noir

– Newton Johnson Windansea 2012 (Red Wine of the Year)

– Newton Johnson Family Vineyards 2012


– Cederberg CWG Auction Reserve Teen die Hoog 2011

– Eagles’ Nest 2010

– Fable Syrah 2011

– Hilton The Dalmatian 2010

– Mont Destin Destiny 2009

– Mullineux Family Schist Syrah 2011

– Mullineux Family Granite Syrah 2011

– Rust en Vrede Single Vineyard Syrah 2011

РStark-Cond̩ Three Pines Syrah 2011

– Saronsberg 2011

– Sijnn 2011

Red Blends

– Bouchard Finlayson Hannibal 2011

– Chamonix Troika 2011

– Delaire Graff Botmaskop 2011

– Eikendal Classique 2011

– Ken Forrester Three Halves 2009

– Thelema Rabelais 2009

– Windmeul Reserve Cape Blend 2012


– Chamonix Reserve 2012

– Hamilton Russell 2012

– Newton Johnson Family Vineyards 2012

– Richard Kershaw Elgin Clonal Selection 2012

Chenin Blanc

– Alheit Radio Lazarus 2012

– Beaumont Hope Marguerite 2012

– Botanica Old Vine 2012

– DeMorgenzon Reserve 2012

– Jean Daneel Signature 2012

– Kleine Zalze Family Reserve 2012

– Mullineux Family Schist 2012

– Opstal Carl Everson 2012

– Reyneke 2012

– Sadie Family Skurfberg 2012

– Stellenrust 48 Barrel Fermented 2012

Grenache Blanc

– The Foundry 2012

– AA Badenhorst Family CWG Auction Reserve White Grenache Vuilgoed 3 2012


– Simonsig CWG Auction Reserve The Russety One 2012

Sauvignon Blanc

– Cederberg David Nieuwoudt Ghost Corner Wild Ferment 2012

– Klein Constantia Perdeblokke 2012

– Kleine Zalze Family Reserve 2012

– Mulderbosch 1000 Miles 2012

– Tokara Walker Bay 2013


– Constantia Uitsig 2012

White Blends

– Cape Point Isliedh 2012

– Cederberg David Nieuwoudt Ghost Corner Bowline 2012

– David Aristargos 2012

– DeMorgenzon Maestro White 2012 (White Wine of the Year)

– Fable Jackal Bird 2012

– Fairview Nurok 2012

– Flagstone Treaty Tree Reserve 2011

– Nederburg Ingenuity 2012

– Nitida Coronata Integration 2012

– Rall 2012

– Reyneke Reserve White 2011

– Sadie Family Palladius 2011

– Tokara Director’s Reserve 2012

Méthode Cap Classique

– Klein Constantia Brut 2010

– Silverthorn The Green Man Blanc de Blancs 2010

Dessert Wine, Fortified

– Alvi’s Drift Muscat de Frontignan White 2010

Dessert Wine Unfortified

– Delheim Edelspatz Noble Late Harvest 2012

– Fleur du Cap Noble Late Harvest 2012

– KWV The Mentors Noble Late Harvest 2012

– Mullineux Family Straw Wine 2012

– Nederburg Eminence 2012

– Nederburg Edelkeur 2012

– Nederburg Winemaster’s Reserve Noble Late Harvest 2012


– Axe Hill Cape Vintage 2011

– De Krans Cape Vintage Reserve 2011

– KWV Cape Tawny NV


– Boplaas Potstill 20 Years Brandy

– KWV 15 Year Old Alambic

– KWV 20 Year Old

– Oude Meester Souverein

– Van Ryn 12 Year Distillers Reserve

– Van Ryn 20 Year Collectors Reserve

– Van Ryn Au.Ra


All in all a great selection of SA wines. Hopefully we can see the book on shelves very soon in the UK.


Read more from our wine expert: 

Over The Barrel | South African wine auction exceeds R8 million

Over the Barrel | Cape Blends

Over the Barrel | Kanonkop Vertical