The candidate five star wines were then entered into a second round of evaluation, conducted "blind" (without sight of the label) across a variety of categories, including reds and whites, sparkling, dessert wines and port styles. Only bottled (i.e. market-ready) wines, available during the currency of the 2012 guide, were considered.
Of the 139 five star contenders, 45 got the nod from the assembled panel. Remarkably, three producers each netted three five star ratings, namely Boekenhoutskloof, for their Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Semillon Noble Late Harvest; and Mullineux Family Wines, for their Syrah, White Blend and Straw Wine; and Nederburg, with their Ingenuity White, Edelkeur and Eminence. Graham Beck Wines was the other star performer, with five star ratings for two wines: the new Chalkboard #3 Cabernet Sauvignon and Pheasants' Run Sauvignon Blanc.
Noteworthy this edition is the high number of first-time five star recipients, including Badsberg Wine Cellar, Colmant Cap Classique & Champagne, Diemersfontein Wines, Glenelly Cellars, Miles Mossop Wines, Mont Destin and Oak Valley Wines. Established producers returning to five-star form after a gap of several years are La Motte, which last bagged the maximum rating in the 1995 edition, and KWV, in the 1986 guide.
The best-performing categories this edition are Red Blends, with seven wines, and Sauvignon Blanc, Shiraz, Unfortified Dessert Wines and White Blends with five wines each. Of the single-variety white-wine categories, Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay and Grenache Blanc yield three, two and one five star wines respectively, while Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Franc are the top order in the single-variety reds line-up.
The leading Wine of Origin appellations are Stellenbosch, with 9 five star wines, followed by Western Cape (7), Coastal (5), and Franschhoek, Paarl and Swartland, with 4 apiece.
The five star wines for 2012 are:
- Warwick 2008
- Boekenhoutskloof 2009
- Graham Beck Chalkboard #3 2007
- Stark-Condé Three Pines 2009
- Chamonix Reserve 2010
- Newton Johnson Domaine 2010
- Oak Valley 2009
- Boekenhoutskloof Syrah 2009
- Fairview The Beacon 2008
- Mont Destin Destiny 2007
- Mullineux Syrah 2009
- Saxenburg Select 2007
- Bouchard Finlayson Hannibal 2010
- De Toren Fusion V 2009
- Glenelly Lady May 2009
- La Motte Pierneef Shiraz-Viognier 2009
- Meerlust Rubicon 2007
- Miles Mossop Max 2008
- Sadie Family Columella 2009
- De Wetshof The Site 2009
- ordan CWG Auction Reserve 2010
- Beaumont Hope Marguerite 2010
- Diemersfontein Carpe Diem 2010
- Vins d'Orrance Kama 2010
- KWV Mentors 2010
- Graham Beck Pheasants' Run 2011
- Hermanuspietersfontein No 5 2010
- Kleine Zalze Family Reserve 2010
- Steenberg CWG Auction Reserve The Magus 2010
- Strandveld 2010
- Fable Jackal Bird 2010
- Flagstone CWG Auction Reserve Happy Hour 2009
- Mullineux White Blend 2010
- Nederburg Ingenuity 2010
- Tokara Director's Reserve White 2010
Méthode Cap Classique Sparkling
- Colmant Brut Chardonnay NV
- Topiary Blanc de Blancs Brut 2009
- Badsberg Badslese 2009
Dessert Wine Unfortified
- Boekenhoutskloof Semillon Noble Late Harvest 2008
- Fleur du Cap Noble Late Harvest 2010
- Mullineux Straw Wine 2010
- Nederburg Edelkeur 2010
- Nederburg Eminence 2010
- Boplaas Cape Vintage Reserve 2009
- De Krans Cape Vintage Reserve 2009
The five star wines will be available for tasting today and tomorrow at the Cape Wine Europe show in London.
Publisher Andrew McDowall extended the team's congratulations to all the five star winegrowers, and to the makers of the wines that didn't make the five star cut but are to be featured among the outstanding and highly collectible Wines of the Year for 2012.
To be unveiled with the book launch in November are the two Wines of the Year (a white and a red), the 'Superquaffer' of the Year - the wine judged to be the most drinkable and well-priced of all the entry-level bottlings tasted for the current edition – and the Winery of the Year, judged by the editor to epitomise the best of South African winegrowing today.
The 2012 edition will be available from the end of November 2011 from selected bookshops and retail outlets, as well as this website. The recommended retail price is R159.95.