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1997 vintage guide for Red South Africa

South Africa 1997: Keep

The top producers overcame difficult conditions to make concentrated, yet well-balanced wines

Weather Conditions

Among the longest ever seasons in South Africa – harvesting continued into April-May in the experience of winemakers; also among the coolest, including some mid-season showers, with long hang-times lengthening ripening. Many picked too early (greener tannins, thinner wines); those who waited were rewarded with some impressive, rich, if sometimes too-alcoholic, wines.

Best Appellations

Stellenbosch, Paarl, Constantia, Swartland, Franschhoek, Walker Bay.

Best Producers

Stellenbosch: J.P. Bredell (Shiraz); Le Riche Wines (Cab. Res. & Cab.); Saxenburg PC (“Super” Shiraz & Merlot); Simonsig (Shiraz Res. & Pinotage, Red Hill); Grangehurst (Cab. Merlot & Pinotage); Meerlust (Bordeaux blend Rubicon & Pinot Noir Res.); Hidden Valley (Pinotage); Kanonkop (Pinotage, Bordeaux blend Paul Sauer & Cab.); L’Avenir (Pinotage & Bordeaux blend, L’Ami Simon & Cab.); Thelema (Cab.S & Merlot); Beyerskloof (Bordeaux blend); Uiterwyk (“Top of the Hill” Pinotage); Zevenwacht (Pinotage); Fleur du Cap * (Merlot); Kaapzicht (Pinotage Res.); Laibach (Pinotage); Simonsig (Pinotage); Sonop * (Pinotage); Slaley (Shiraz Res.); Stellenzicht (Syrah & Stellenzicht Bordeaux blend); Neil Ellis (Cab.Res. & Cab. & Cab. Merlot); Clos Malverne (Pinotage Res.); Delaire (Merlot); Delheim (Bordeaux blend, Grand Res. & Cab.); De Trafford (Cab. & Merlot); Vriesenhof (Bordeaux blend Kallista); Jordan (Merlot Res.); Lievland (Bordeaux blend, DVB); Middelvlei (Shiraz); Rustenberg (Cab. Peter Barlow & Bordeaux blend Rustenberg Estate); Rust-en-Vrede (Shiraz); Warwick (Bordeaux blend, Trilogy); Zonnebloem (Shiraz); Knorhoek (Cab, Pinotage); Martin Meinert (Cab-Merlot); Vergenoegd (Shiraz).

Constantia: Klein Constantia (Shiraz).

Walker Bay: Bouchard-Finlayson (Pinot Noir Galpin Peak & Tête de Cuvée); Hamilton Russell (Pinot Noir & Ashbourne P.N.); Southern Right (Pinotage).

Franschhoek: Boukenhoutskloof (Syrah); Bellingham (Cab.Premium & Pinotage); Cabriere (Pinot Noir); Boschendal (Shiraz); Rickety Bridge (Shiraz).

Swartland: Swartland Coop (Shiraz); Darling Cellars (Cab.).

Paarl: Villiera (Pinotage Res.) Savanha (Pinotage Res.); Backberg (Shiraz); Fairview (Shiraz, Cyril Back); Welgemeend (Bordeaux blend, Res.).

Paarl (Wellington): Veenwouden (Bordeaux blend Classic & Merlot).

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