South Africa 2002: Keep
Elegant, flavourful reds
High humidity conspired with mild early/mid-season conditions to turn the first cool year since 1997 into an incubator for widespread mildew and rot. A late-February heatwave provided some respite, but also caused sugar levels to peak ahead of physical maturity, resulting in some under-ripe wines. Rapid onset of cool autumn weather favoured late-harvested and botrytised whites but hampered late-ripening reds such as Cabernet, especially virus-affected clones. Ability to cope with extreme conditions is the key to this challenging vintage, and purchasers should be guided more by growers’ track records than particular varieties or sites.
The first good bottlings of 2002 came from the following: Allée Bleue, Franschhoek (Pinotage); Bellevue, Stellenbosch (Pinotage); Bon Courage, Robertson (Shiraz); Coleraine, Paarl (two ‘Culraithin’ wines: Cab S & Syrah); Devon Hill, Stellenbosch (Cab S); Diemersfontein, Wellington (‘regular’ & ‘Carpe Diem’ Shiraz; ‘Carpe Diem’ Pinotage); Erica Vineyards, Walker Bay (Raka ‘Quinary’ classic blend Cab S & F, Merlot, Malbec, Petit V); Fairview, Paarl (‘Primo’ Pinotage; Merlot; ‘SMV’ blend Shiraz, Mourvèdre, Viognier; Carignan); Flagstone, Helderberg (‘Bowwood’ blend Cab S, Merlot); Glen Carlou, Paarl (Shiraz); Havana Hills, Tygerberg (‘Du Plessis’ classic blend Cab S, Merlot); Kevin Arnold, Stellenbosch (Shiraz); Lammershoek Winery, Swartland (‘Roulette’ blend Shiraz, Carignan, Grenache, Viognier); Luddite, Walker Bay (Shiraz); Muratie, Stellenbosch (Shiraz); Rijk’s Private Cellar, Tulbagh (Pinotage); Slaley, Stellenbosch (Pinotage, Shiraz); Southern Right, Walker Bay (Pinotage); Vins D’Orrance, Stellenbosch (Syrah); Wamakersvallei Winery, Wellington (‘La Cave’ Pinotage).