Platter’s by Diners Club South African Wine Guide 2019 was launched at Cape Town’s Table Bay Hotel on 5 November 2018 with over 200 guests in attendance, the VIPs including the wine producers who achieved the maximum Five Star rating in the new edition – reserved for wines that are “South African classics” and scored 95 points or more on the internationally recognised 100-point scale.
A total of 90 wines achieved the coveted Five Star status this year. Publisher of Platter’s by Diners Club, Jean-Pierre Rossouw, says: “All wines that scored 93 points or higher in the primary assessment went into a second round of tasting, conducted blind (without sight of the label) by small panels including experienced palates from outside the team. The stringency of this model means that our Five Star wines showed their consistent brilliance. Hearty congratulations to all!”
This edition, the ultimate Platter’s accolade, Winery of the Year, has expanded to become a trio of pinnacle awards, each saluting excellence in South African wine-making. The Newcomer Winery of the Year recognises the winery that records the best results as a first-time participant in the guide. This honour goes to Erika Obermeyer Wines, with two Five Stars on debut. The Top Performing Winery of the Year award goes to Mullineux, who are no strangers to Platter’s accolades, having twice previously been Winery of the Year. In the new guide they achieve a remarkable four Five Stars plus a Wine of the Year. Finally, the Editor’s Award for 2019 goes to Newton Johnson Vineyards, as editor Philip van Zyl’s personal commendation of this family venture’s consistently superb quality over a range of styles of wine.
In a further innovation, the number of Wines of the Year has also been increased, and the expanded line-up now reflects the highest-scoring Five Star wines in their category (or, in instances where wines were tied with the highest scores, the judging panels’ preferred wine). The list of the 25 remarkable wines follows below.
Another first in this edition is the introduction of 100-point scores, printed alongside the familiar “Platter’s Stars”, for the recently tasted wines. Jean-Pierre Rossouw comments: “100-point scoring is the global standard, and by combining this notation with our own long-standing star-rating system, we hope that our international readers in particular will better understand and contextualise our judges’ assessments. We see the two rating systems coexisting in the guide in the future.”
These are the highest-scoring Five Star wines within each tasting category. In instances where there were a number of wines tied at equal points, we asked the panel to identify their favourite.