South African brilliance 2023
Wine ratings from Jancis Robinson
She is the grande dame of wine criticism, the first woman to hold the title of Master of Wine since the mid-1980s and has written some of the greatest standard works on wine. We are, of course, talking about Jancis Robinson. Her ratings and rating scales are internationally recognised and appreciated by wine lovers and experts worldwide.
Robinson uses the 20-point rating system in her ratings, in which she rates various aspects of the wine, such as appearance, smell, flavour and overall impression, on a scale of 0 to 20 points. Her ratings are considered well-founded and never unfair. The British wine critic, who still publishes a wine review every fortnight in the «Financial Times», is strict and is considered stingy rather than generous when it comes to awarding points. For her, 18 points is already a real hymn of praise.
This is the scale:
20 – Exceptional wine
19 – top class
18 – better than excellent
17 – excellent
16 – stands out from the crowd
15 – average
14 – dull and boring
13 – borderline flawed or unbalanced
12 – flawed or unbalanced
Jancis Robinson, together with Tamlyn Currin, published 133 tasting notes on current sparkling, white and rosé wines and 162 tasting notes on red wines from South Africa in October. Tamylin Currin writes: «Four tastings held recently in London showcased the crème de la crème of South African wine, and it turned out that South African wines really are among the crème de la crème at the top end, full stop. Jancis and I have tasted more than 250 wines together, and our scores are consistently so high that 16 seems low and 17 ordinary in a range like this. But that is not the case. Our rating scale has not suffered from inflation. South African winemakers are simply doubling down on quality.»
What do top-rated wines from other countries cost?
Here are a few well-known examples:
Château Palmer 2017 – France – 17.5 points – approx. CHF 300.-
Château Pétrus Pomerol MC 2018 – France – 19 points – from approx. CHF 4000.-
Vega Sicilia Valbuena 5º 2019 – Spain – 18 points – approx. CHF 150.-
Penfolds Grange Bin 95 Shiraz 2019 – Australia – 19 points – approx. CHF 650.-
Dominio de Pingus, Pingus 2017 – Spain – 18+ points – approx. CHF 850.-
Opus One Robert Mondavi Baron Philippe Rotschild 2019 – USA – 18+ points – approx. CHF 400.-
And South Africa?
Although more expensive wines are often associated with higher quality, the South African wine market shows that this does not always have to be the case. It is possible to find first-class wines at a reasonable price, especially in South Africa. This is also confirmed by this year’s Jancis Robinson ratings. Both established wineries and young guns have helped to raise the quality and reputation of South African wines. It is an exciting time to discover and savour the wines from this country. See for yourself.
White wine & Rosé
** available soon
** available soon
The lists are updated after the arrival of each new vintage.
Jancis Robinson «South African brilliance 2023 – sparkling, white, rosé», from 17.10.2023
Jancis Robinson «South African brilliance 2023 – reds», from 24.10.2023