| SA Wine Ratings, News, Opinion & Analysis

Tim James: Could great old names be rescued?

An almost inevitable topic came up for discussion among those attending the recent grand match between some old Cape stars and their international equivalents: the modern decline in reputation of wines like Chateau Libertas – the 1959 vintage of which had just given us all great satisfaction. I’ve had, incidentally, many fine old vintages of [...]

August 3, 2015
by Tim James
with 0 Comments

Tim James: SA legends vs the world

A most remarkable tasting was held in Cape Town last Friday evening. Some 15 people paid quite a bit of money to sit down at a table at Aubergine restaurant and work though five pairs of wines – one South African and one foreign in each pair. The oldest two wines were from 1948, the [...]

July 27, 2015
by Tim James
with 7 Comments

Zonnebloem Lauréat 2012

Although the faux Petrus label will always get me, the 2012 vintage of Zonnebloem Lauréat is actually pretty decent stuff. It’s a blend of 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot and 5% Petit Verdot plus an unconventional 5% Shiraz and 5% Mourvèdre; maturation lasted 14 months in French and Hungarian oak, a combination of first- and [...]

July 1, 2015
by Christian
with 1 Comment

What went into the Zonnebloem Cabernet 1965?

One of the highlights of the recent South African Old Wine Tasting to mark the beginning of judging at the Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show was the Zonnebloem Cabernet 1975 (see here). By all accounts, a lot of leeway was allowed when it came to compiling these wines and asked Elize Coetzee, part of the [...]

May 8, 2015
by Christian Eedes
with 5 Comments

Zonnebloem Cabernet 1965

Among the 21 reds shown at the Old South African Wine Tasting prior to the judging of the Old Mutual Trophy Wine, three vintages of Zonnebloem Cabernet Sauvignon, namely 1965, 1969 and 1970 were probably the stand-out wines. Steven Spurrier, the man who organised the “Judgement of Paris” Wine Tasting in 1976 and on this [...]

May 4, 2015
by Christian Eedes
with 10 Comments

Zonnebloem Pinotage 1975

Distell-owned Zonnebloem is apparently enjoying double digit growth year on year as “youngsters” (25 to 30 year olds) connect with the heritage of a brand which has existed since the1940s. How to build on this? For one thing, get hot-shot industrial designer Haldane Martin to develop a range of merchandising units for restaurants and bars [...]

April 11, 2014
by Christian
with 1 Comment

Zonnebloem Cabernet Sauvignon 1984

Yesterday over lunch a magmum of Zonnebloem Cabernet Sauvignon 1984 supplied by Anel Grobler and Jan Laubscher of and Not particularly carefully stored by their own admission, it was brilliant even so. Still extraordinarily primary, still plenty of shape and form.  The assertion is often made that proper winemaking only began here in [...]

December 13, 2013
by Christian
with 2 Comments

Lanzerac Pinotage 1963

On Friday, a visit to the Tabernacle, Distell’s underground wine library housing a 14 000-bottle collection of rare local and international wines. A small group of tasters including the likes of’s Jamie Goode and Greg Sherwood MW were there to select some older wines for this year’s Nederburg Auction. The extraordinary line-up was as [...]

March 18, 2013
by Christian
with 2 Comments
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