South Africa 1994: Drink soon

A variable year but some good Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinotage and Shiraz was made

Weather Conditions

Among the hottest, driest, shortest vintages of recent times in South Africa ; much lower yields and generally concentrated fruit. But the heat waves rushed the ripening and growers were often forced to pick beyond – and before – ideal ripeness. Excessive alcohols – nudging 15% sometimes – did nothing for elegance. Variable tannins.
Those with tough tannins (Cabernets) will never come round completely; but most can (should) be kept another 2-5 years. Shiraz, Merlot, Pinotage can be drunk now. (Cape 96s are generally already more approachable than 94s).

Best Appellations

Best regions: Stellenbosch, Constantia, Paarl, Wellington, Franschhoek, Walker Bay.

Best Producers

Stellenbosch: Cordoba (Shiraz); Simonsig (Shiraz); Blaauwklippen (Cab.S); Le Bonheur (Cab.S); Vlottenburg Co-op (Cab.); Kanonkop (Bordeaux blend, Paul Sauer, Cab.) Lievland (Cab.); Saxenburg PC (Cab.); Thelema (Cab. & Merlot); Grangehurst (Merlot); Overgaauw (Merlot); Stellenzicht (Bordeaux blend & Pinotage & Syrah.); Rozendal (Bordeaux blend); Eikendal (Bordeaux blend, Res.); L’Avenir (Cab.); Morgenhof (Cab.); Neil Ellis (Cab.) Warwick (Cab.); Simonsig (Pinotage), Zonnebloem* (Pinotage); Meerlust (Bordeaux blend, Rubicon). Stellenryck (Cab.).

Paarl:
KWV Cathedral Cellar * (Bordeaux blend, Triptych, Pinotage); Villiera (Bordeaux blend, Cru Monro); Plaisir de Merle (Cab.). Backsberg (Merlot); Bellingham (Pinotage).

Constantia: Klein Constantia (Shiraz).

Wellington (Paarl): Veenwouden (Bordeaux blend, Classic).

Franschhoek: L’Ormarins (Bordeaux blend, Optima); Cabriere (Pinot Noir).

Walker Bay: Bouchard-Finlayson (Pinot Noir); Beaumont (Pinotage).