IWR 10th Anniversary Retrospective: South African Wines

South Africa has been a principal focus of the International Wine Review over the past decade.  We’ve reviewed more wines and written more articles about South Africa than any other US wine publication.  As part of our ongoing 10th Anniversary Retrospective, we’ve compiled a list of our publications over the 2010-2015 period.  These reports can all be accessed using the “search” function on our home page at www.iwinereview.com  Links are also given to some of the publications. We’re happy to provide free copies of reports to anyone who sends a request to don@iwinereview.com


Report # 30:  The Wines of South Africa (February 2012)

SAFR 1The South African wine industry has rapidly modernized since the fall of apartheid 20 years ago, and today it produces wines that compete with the best in the world. Scores of young winemakers with international experience are crafting superb wines from vineyards, both newly planted and old bush vines, in remote regions. This report reviews South Africa’s wines, explores the diverse growing regions, and discusses the unique character of South Africa’s terroir.

Special Report: The Exciting Sparkling Wines of South Africa (February 2014)

SAFR 2With over 150 producers, the sparkling wine scene in South Africa keeps getting more interesting.  Of special interest are the smaller, newer producers who are dedicated to making only sparkling wines and only using Champagne varieties and practices.  This report provides a comprehensive, in depth look at the key producers of sparkling wine in South Africa along with evaluations of current releases.

Special Report: South African Chenin Blanc  (April 2013)

SAFR 3Chenin Blanc arrived in South Africa with the Dutch over 350 years ago. Today, South Africa grows more Chenin Blanc than any other country. In recent years it has discovered its heritage of old, dry-farmed bush vines and is making rich, terroir-driven wines. We review over 50 wines made in diverse styles.

Special Report: South African Value Wines (March 2012)

SAFR 4While its premium wines receive most the critical attention, South Africa also competes with Chile, Spain and other countries in the value market. In this report we review 175 great value South African wines costing under $20.  Most of these wines are widely distributed in the US and Europe and can be found in local wine shops, super markets and restaurants.


South African Sparkling Wine:  A Hidden Treasure  January 2012

For the most part, South Africa keeps its sparkling treasure hidden from the rest of the world, mostly because the producers of the méthode champenoise wines are young and small in size. Except, that is, for the large Graham Beck operation managed by South Africa’s most experienced chef du cave, Pieter Ferreira.  We review over 40 wines.

The Sweet Wines of South Africa  February 2012

South Africa makes a wide variety of excellent sweet wines—botrytis-tinged Chenin Blanc, straw wine, fortified Port-like reds and late harvest Muscat, the most famous being the Vin de Constance first produced in the 17th century.  It also makes a unique Muscadel vin de liqueur called Hanepoot Jerepigo that rarely leaves its shores.  We review the best sweet wines to be found in South Africa.

Southern Hemisphere Sauvignon Blanc Tasteoff April 2010

A mostly South African panel of professional tasters does a blind tasting of some of the best Sauvignon Blancs from Chile and South Africa, two Southern Hemisphere countries recognized for their success with this variety.  The top two wines are a South African Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon blend from the Elim region and a Chilean Sauvignon Blanc from the San Antonio region.


Steenberg Winery of Constantia: History in a Glass January 2015

Steenberg is one of the premiere wineries in South Africa’s Constantia region. It also has one of the most colorful histories of any South African wine farm. In this article we report on our most recent visit to Steenberg along with assessments of its current releases.

South Africa’s Eagles’ Nest: Flying High December 2014

The vineyards of Eagles’ Nest are located high in the Constantia Mountains a short distance from the sea. The sheltered, high valley where it’s located is ideal for fully ripening red varieties like Merlot and Syrah. In this article we report on our tour of the vineyards and tasting of current releases, led by winemaker Stuart Botha.

The Wines of Miles Mossop February 2013

Miles Mossop, recently elected to the prestigious Cape Winemaker’s Guild, is responsible for both the Tokara Winery’s superb portfolio and for the wines at his own boutique eponymous winery.  Located high in the Simonsberg Mountains outside Stellenbosch, Tokara makes Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Bordeaux Red Blend, and other wines from its vineyards in Stellenbosch, Elgin, and the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley.  The Miles Mossop Winery makes one of South Africa’s elite Chenin Blanc blends.

New Releases from Neil Ellis in South Africa August 2012

Neil Ellis is one of the pioneers of modern South African wine. Today he makes very good wines, most priced at $20 or less per bottle, under the Neil Ellis, Sincerely, and Left Bank labels, all imported to the US and widely available.

Spice Route:  New Releases from Swartland July 2012

With the backing of Charles Back and with Eben Sadie at the winemaking helm, Spice Route is the winery that started the Swartland Revolution. Today Charl du Plessis makes a full range of quality wines offered at extremely fair prices, all from Swartland fruit.

Older Articles

Fresh 2011 Rosés from South Africa: Boekenhoutskloof, Fairview, Goats do Roam July 2012

Wines from the Cederberg Wilderness Area June 2012

Top Ten South African Red Wine Values Under $20 May 2012

Top South African White Wine Values Under $20 April 2012

Belfield: A South African Boutique Winery in Elgin February 2012

The Wines of Blaauwklippen Valley in Stellenbosch: Kleinood, Keermont & de Trafford November 2011

Tasting Sangiovese in South Africa with Ntsiki Biyela of Stellekaya November 2011

Six Hats Fair Trade Wines from South Africa: Super Value with Equity October 2011

South African Sparklers: Simonsig Wine Estate MCC June 2011

Mulderbosch Wine: Current Releases March 2011

Graham Beck: South Africa’s Sparkling Wine King May 2010

South African Chenin Blanc: Some of the Best from Raats, Riebeek, Mulderbosch, De Morgenzon, Rudera, Ken Forrester, and de Trafford May 2010

Shannon Vineyards: South African Viticulture at its Best April 2010

Thelema: Consistent Quality from Mountain Vineyards April 2010

Reyneke Wines: South African Biodynamic Pioneer April 2010

Mike Potashnik and Don Winkler

January 2015

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