The day all winemakers across the country mark in their calendars has finally arrived: Tim Atkin's South Africa 2023 Report is here!
Tim Atkin, an internationally renowned wine critic and Master of Wine, is celebrated for his authoritative reviews and annual reports that guide experts and novices alike in the ever-evolving world of wines. In a stunning effort, Atkin meticulously tasted 2,205 wines from 419 wineries this year, encapsulating his eleventh-annual overview of South African wines.
“Looking back over the last decade, I’m constantly amazed at the industry's progress. Everyone should take great pride in brand South Africa,” Tim reflects.
With 201 wines scoring an impressive 95 points or more this year and only one wine receiving the coveted 100-point score, the stakes have never been higher. Spier has never shined brighter, bringing home an outstanding five 90+ scoring wines as follows:
Spier 21 Gables Chenin Blanc 2021 (Old Vine): 92 Points
Spier 21 Gables Cabernet Sauvignon 2019: 91 Points
Spier Creative Block 2 2022: 91 Points
Spier Creative Block 3 2019 : 91 Points
Spier Creative Block 5 2020: 91 Points
A Coming of Age Story
“We are all deeply honoured," Cellar Master Johan Jordaan reflects with pride. "Achieving five ratings over 90+ points is no small feat and reinforces Spier’s belief in the power of regenerative farming. As the ratings suggest, good intentions, good soil and lots of hard work yield fruitful results!”
Leading the Spier award-winners with 92 points is our 2021 Spier 21 Gables Chenin Blanc. Having brought home 93 and 92 points from IWSC and Decanter, respectively, this year, this wine is indeed shining. Made from vines that are 37 years and older, this Chenin Blanc qualifies for the prestigious Old Vine Project status. The story goes that, at one point, the vines would be uprooted. Luckily, Johan and the vineyard team recognised the potential and resurrected the vineyard, now nicknamed ‘Lazarus’, symbolising the renewed life given to it. “It continues to reward us vintage after vintage,” enthuses Johan Jordaan.
Meanwhile, the 2019 Spier 21 Gables Cabernet Sauvignon from Stellenbosch earned 91 points and clinched gold at both the IWSC and Decanter awards earlier this year. Cabernet Sauvignon has been a hallmark of South African winemaking, with its roots in Stellenbosch tracing back to the 19th century. The region's Cabernet Sauvignon, with a terroir akin to Bordeaux and Napa Valley, stands as a testament to the area's capability to produce wines that can rival the best in the world.
As described by Johan, “Crafted from select vineyards situated at the foothills of the Helderberg mountain, this wine offers a brilliant mix of fruit, body, and balanced tannins.”
A Stroke of Mastery: The Creative Block
Our Creative Block 2, 3 and 5 have also scored an impressive hat-trick, each receiving scores above the 90-point mark. As Spier’s most awarded range, the Creative Block celebrates Spier's winemaking creativity with white and red Rhône- and Bordeaux-style blends crafted from 2, 3, or 5 specially selected varietal blocks. Not only do these wines offer a complex taste, but they also champion the Spier Arts Trust project. Launched in 2004, this initiative has provided a platform for established and emerging South African artists.
"Since its inception, the programme has facilitated the purchase of over 17,500 Creative Blocks from a constellation of talented artists, not only bolstering Spier's collection to one of the most extensive in contemporary South African art but also providing a valuable source of income for the artists,” explains Johan.
The Spier team couldn't be more pleased with this year’s Tim Atkin results. With roots digging deep into our farm’s healthy soils, we're all about rolling our sleeves and thinking ahead. Our commitment is not merely to the vintage in the barrel but to the promise of the land that sustains us. Here’s to farming with good intentions.
Spier wines can be purchased directly from our farm in Stellenbosch, our online store and multiple retail outlets, supermarkets and international partners.