Leading UK wine writer Tim Atkin MW has launched his South Africa Special Report – September 10th 2020. A major achiever was Benguela Cove Lagoon Wine Estate, scoring over 90 points out of 100 and winning Medals of Excellence for all six of its entries for the first time, in the eighth annual report.
The Atkin report is normally based on the author’s visits to South Africa, but this year he could not travel to the Winelands because of Covid-19. Instead, he tasted 1,328 wines in London. Against formidable odds, South Africa is making some of the greatest wines in its history, he says.
The Walker Bay vineyard’s top achievers included its Benguela Cove Catalina Semillon 2018, awarded 94 points. This was the same score as its 2017 vintage last year, which sold all its 1,400 bottle limited production in just two weeks and was crowned with 5 stars in the 2019 Platter’s Wine Guide. Produced from a single, 0.9-hectare vineyard, the semillon’s youthful character adds a herbal note and produces a lot of tension that benefits from time to evolve, says cellar master Johann Fourie.
The Benguela Cove Vinography Sauvignon Blanc 2019, in the vineyard’s artisan range, was also awarded a commendable 94 points. This was a one-point improvement on the performance of the 2018 vintage entered last year. Vinography was created as a limited edition series, highlighting selected parcels that can change each year, along with the techniques employed by Johann Fourie’s team in the vineyard and cellar.
The Benguela Cove Sauvignon Blanc Walker Bay 2019 scored 93 points. Nurtured on the vineyard’s south and west-facing slopes, with a shale and iron laterites soil, the vintage offers delicate fruit notes, followed by a creamy mid and bright acidity.
Other medal winners included the Collage 2018 on 92 points, a Bordeaux-style blend with well-knitted tannins, trailed with vivacious fruits; the 2018 Malbec on 91, delivering an intensity of colour and palate; and at 90 points the 2019 Chardonnay, popular for its cool climate elegance, finesse and overall balance.
Penny Streeter, owner of Benguela Cove Lagoon Wine estate says: “Our thanks to Tim Atkin and the recognition of the consistent improvement of our wines, year on year. As a boutique, largely limited edition winemaker, we have invested in a new winery and sustainable farming practices to achieve and maintain top quality over the long term. Each year our reputation grows, creating new export markets and increasing numbers of wine tourists to the estate”
The wine farm supports the Sustainable Wine South Africa initiative of WOSA, (Wines of South Africa). Visitors can enjoy vineyard tours and wine tastings on the popular pontoon trips on the lagoon, as well as lunch and dinner in the hospitality areas, set within the UNESCO designated Kogelberg Biosphere.
Johann Fourie says:
“As a producer selling internationally, it’s important to get Tim’s feedback not only because he knows South African wines so well but because they are judged in a global context and how they stack up against the best in the world. Getting 90 plus across various grape varietals both white and red shows the diversity in terroir we are spoiled with at Benguela Cove. What is particularly pleasing is to see the score of the wines creeping up year on year which is a sign that we’re on the right track and constantly improving.”
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