2017 Cape Classification

Wednesday, 20 September, 2017
Tim Atkin MW
This is my fifth attempt to classify the Cape's best producers, an annual exercise that has stimulated considerable debate in South Africa. This is very loosely based on the 1855 Bordeaux Classification, although quality rather than price is the sole criterion I use.

There are six different bands: first, second, third, fourth and fifth growths, consisting of 20 wines each, and a larger group of 100 crus bourgeois. I’ve increased the number of wines included from 150 to 200 in 2017.

My 2017 classification is a snapshot of the Cape wine industry. Mindful that a critic should attempt to reward talent, irrespective of a long track record in some cases, I have chosen my favourite producers, rather than parroted the opinions of others. Track records can be overrated in my view. Some of my classified producers have only made a few vintages – Alheit, Beeslaar, Blackwater, David & Nadia, Lismore, Patatsfontein, Storm and Thorne & Daughters, for example – but I think that’s irrelevant. I think these wineries will help to define the Cape wine industry over the next quarter of a century.

To read more online, click here.

Click here to read the report (pdf).