Platter 5 Star Wines for 2016
06 November 2015
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Brad Brown: Welcome onto this edition of Old Mutual Live, great things start here, great things start now and recently the announcement for the winners of the 2015 Platter 5 Star Wines were announced, for the 2016 rather and I wanted to find out a little bit more about them here on the podcast today and we’ve got the editor of the Platter Wine Guide on the podcast today. Philip, welcome, nice to catch up.
Philip van Zyl: Good, thank you for having me.
Great wine at a reasonable price
BB: Philip just looking at that list of wines that you guys have put together, the 5 Star Wines for 2016, it’s an incredible, incredible list. We’re just really blessed here in South Africa aren’t we, we’ve got some phenomenal, phenomenal wines.
PVZ: Yeah, you’re absolutely right and I have to say that on average we’ve got some fantastic for some fantastic prices relative to what’s available internationally so we’re really, we’re spoilt for choice and we’re spoilt for purse friendliness as well.
BB: You talk about that and I think the vast majority of South Africans don’t actually realise how lucky we are. I mean with the Rand/Dollar exchange rate at what it is at the moment, we do. I mean for the quality we’re getting for the price you can’t get that anywhere else in the world.
PVZ: Ja, I would agree with that. I think that we, just as an example, I mean our 5 Star line-up this year includes the Neil Ellis Groenekloof Sauvignon Blanc which is a hugely popular wine and I mean it retails for, I think it’s under R 80 and it’s a five star wine, the 2015 vintage so that’s incredible. It’s just absolutely fantastic.
BB: Ja, I’m not even going to try and do that conversion into Dollars because I think we would cry but ja, I mean that just says everything but let’s just look at the big winners this year and the white of the year goes to Warwick Wines, the White Lady Chardonnay 2014. Tell us a little bit about that wine and why it’s so special.
Some of the stars of the show
PVZ: Just to say that the wines of the year are the result of a third stage of tasting. In other words, our tasters taste, so first of all as a, in the first round they allocate ratings. The wines that were rated four and a half star then go into the next round of tasting. Then a tiny selection of those go into the final round, a third round of tasting for the Wines of the Year.
So you really have to be something special to get in, out of, I think it was, 643 wines that went into the second round to make it into the top as the Wine of the Year is something truly special. So we’re talking about an extraordinary wine and I think that the thing about the White Lady Chardonnay 2014; we said at the launch party that 2014 was a fantastic year for Chardonnay generally.
Of course Warwick have been making Chardonnay for many years and it’s a special wine because it’s very balanced, it has a kind of a, there’s this word called ‘minerality’ about it. In other words, it’s got a lot of fruit, a lot of liveliness on the palate so it’s an easy drinking but it is a profound wine.
BB: Philip, let’s move on to the Red of the Year. Tell us a little bit about who won that one.
Mullineux & Leeu Family Wines
PVZ: The winery’s called the Mullineux & Leeu Family Wines, so it’s christened Andrea Mullineux who started the winery ten years ago. They’re based in Riebeek Kasteel in the Swartland and they make three different Shiraz’s and the name Shiraz in French is Syrah, which is the name that they prefer to use.
Because it’s a French style of wine and they make, first of all the wine is a blend of different vineyard sites and then they’ve got two others. The one that won the Red Wind of the Year, which is the Iron, as in iron-rich soils, so that’s from a particular vineyard site in the Swartland which, as I say has this iron, lots of iron in the actual soil and that’s the wine that won. It’s a 2013 vintage.
BB: They had a pretty good year this year in the competition because they cleaned up the other two big ones too, the Dessert Wine of the Year there and then they also picked up the Winery of the Year. Has it happened where one winery has won the Dessert Wine, the Red Wine, as well as the Winery of the Year in the same year?
PVZ: No, in fact the Dessert Wine is a new category. It’s the first time we’ve had that so they’re the first recipient winner so that makes it all the more special that they could come along with a dessert wine and get the first prize so to speak in the same year. So that’s five 5 Star’s, two of the Wines of the Year plus the Winery of the Year. It’s incredible.
BB: That’s amazing. Tell us a little bit about that dessert wine though.
PVZ: It’s very interesting because first of all it’s what they call a straw wine, so what happens is that the grapes are picked very ripe and then they’re laid outside on straw mats basically to shrivel and that concentrates all the flavours, the sugars, all of the good stuff over I think a period of about two weeks or so.
Then it’s fermented so that’s how you make a straw wine. You can then either put it in a barrel or you don’t have to but maybe some winemakers prefer to do that. So what Chris and Andrea have done is they’ve done that but on top of that they’ve used a Portuguese style of winemaking which is a Salira, which is a like a fractional blend.
One year you put in some into a barrel. In other words every year you put in some more into this barrel system so this one, I think has been going, their Salira for the straw wine has been going for six or seven years now. This is the first time that they’ve actually drawn some of that wine off so it’s incredibly, a very complex kind of vinification and takes years and years and it’s just absolutely fantastic wine and brilliantly packaged as well.
BB: It sounds incredible. For those who haven’t heard much about that winery, it sounds like they’re doing amazing things there in the Swartland.
PVZ: They most certainly are. In fact, this is the second time. The year before, 2014, they were also the Winery of the Year and it’s all the more incredible because they’ve only really been going for ten years which is not a heck of a long time in the scheme of things and they’re just very meticulous. They do everything absolutely perfectly and ja, so they get fantastic results.
BB: That’s phenomenal. I’m going to pop the link to the entire list into the show notes of this episode of Old Mutual Live, if you want to go check out all the 5 Star Wines but those were the three big winners this year and they sound like incredible wines, can’t wait to taste those.
Philip, thank you very much for your time at Old Mutual Live today, we look forward to catching up again soon and finding out a little bit more about the Platter’s Wine Guide. Just delving into the history, it’s been around for a long, long time and it is almost the industry standard when it comes to what you should and shouldn’t be drinking so to speak in the South African Wine Industry so much appreciated, we look forward to catching up again soon.
PVZ: Great, thank you very much.