Platter's 2021 SA Wine Guide

The eagerly awaited 2021 hardcover edition of South Africa’s original and still favourite wine adviser, Platter’s Guide, is here, in an upbeat, vibrant colour that’s certain to lift the spirit and brighten the outlook of winelovers everywhere.

The 41st edition of this best-selling guide features well over 900 producers, merchants and brands, including 49 new ones, and over 8,000 locally produced wines, as well as brandies, husk spirits and sherry-style wines.

The guide’s descriptions and ratings, compiled in association with a team of leading experts, make it easy to find the right wine for any occasion, while the good-value indicators highlight those bottlings which are especially budget friendly across all quality levels.

Platter’s 2021 also packs extensive information on where to go and what to do in wine country. Cellardoor tasting options are covered in detail, along with many winery amenities, attractions and activities, plus dining and accommodation in Cape Town and the winelands. GPS and What3Words coordinates, easy-to-use maps and quick look-up tables provide invaluable help for visitors planning their own wineland rambles, while listings of specialised wine tour operators offer a variety of alternatives for those who prefer a guided experience.

Fully updated notes on the major winegrowing regions, grape varieties, winemaking styles, winetasting terms, and the major wine competitions and awards, as well as listings of wine educators country-wide form part of a wide-ranging offering.

As always, the guide is prefaced by an insightful and thought-provoking overview of important developments and trends in South Africa and the wider wine world.

A much-anticipated feature of the guide is the reveal of the cover colour. This year it is a bright and uplifting green, which the publisher, Jean-Pierre Rossouw, named “Fresh Leaves”. The colour was chosen with the help of Platter’s fans on social media as being emblematic of hope and positivity after a deeply challenging year for all South Africans.

A highlight of any new edition is the five star wines line-up – the exceptional bottlings which emerge from a second round of tasting with the highest rating on the Platter’s scale of 0 – 5 stars (“Somewhat less than ordinary” to “Superlative. A South African classic”). This edition a record 211 wines received five stars, equating to 95 or more on the 100-point international scale.

Of the 5-star-awarded wines, the highest scorers within each category receive the sought-after accolade, Wines of the Year. This time there are 28 category winning wines. Also noteworthy are 215 Highly Recommended wines, which narrowly missed five stars but are nonetheless extremely fine and collectable in their own right, earning a rating of 94 on the 100-point scale; 165 reds and whites showing particular potential for cellaring (these ageworthy wines appear under the banner “Buy Now, Drink Later”); and 187 Hidden Gems, wines which tasters feel are particularly worthy of note, being interesting, attractive, unique, representative of an important trend or simply extraordinarily drinkable.

The three prestigious Winery of the Year awards are the highest accolades bestowed by Platter’s. The Top Performing Winery of the Year goes to the winery that achieves the most five star results after the annual final tasting round. This year the recipient is Kleine Zalze Wines, the well-known and very popular landmark winery in Stellenbosch.

Platter's 2021 SA Wine Guide
Platter’s 2021 Winery of the Year – JP Rossouw (publisher) with Kleine Zalze team Alastair Rimmer, Kobus Basson and RJ Botha

The Editor’s Award Winery of the Year award recognises a winegrowing individual or team who, based on performance in the current edition as well as their track record, are ambassadors par excellence for South African wine. This year the award goes to Rall Wines’ Donovan Rall, who has featured at the topmost level of achievement in the guide since his first appearance in 2008.

Platter's 2021 SA Wine Guide
Platter’s 2021 Editor’s Award Winery of the Year – JP Rossouw (publisher) with Donovan Rall of Rall Wines

The Newcomer Winery of the Year is awarded to a producer who debuted in Platter’s this year and achieved the highest scores. The well-deserved recipient of this distinction is Pilgrim Wines, with South Africa’s first commercial bottling of trousseau, the French red variety officially known locally as bastardo do castello, and a stunning 94-point Chenin Blanc.

Platter's 2021 SA Wine Guide
Platter’s 2021 Newcomer Winery of the Year – JP Rossouw (publisher) with Riëtte and Henry Kotzé of Pilgrim Wines

Platter’s 2021 hardcover is available from selected bookstores and retailers nationwide from 21 December 2020. The recommended retail price is R360.00 incl VAT.

A subscription to the digital editions, namely the web-based version as well as the apps for Apple and Android devices, is available from www.wineonaplatter.com/products or in the app stores (a single subscription unlocks all digital versions).