South Africa 2000: Keep
Ripest, most generous vintage in many years, with big, burly, quick-maturing reds
The third consecutive very hot vintage. (For a number of producers, literally and spectacularly hot: huge mountain fires singed vineyards around the Simonsberg in Stellenbosch region, just before harvest. But the vast majority of Cape red wine labels were unaffected by the fires.) Initially hailed as the ripest, most generous vintage in many years, it made for big, burly reds, probably maturing quite quickly. Very high alcohols – nearing 15% in some cases. As wines were readied for blending and bottling, the vintage showed less fruit concentration and finesse than initially expected. Most probably best drunk within six or seven years of the vintage. The high alcohols will ‘keep’ the wines rather than improve them.
Constantia, Helderberg, Durbanville, Walker Bay, Simonsberg-Helshoogte-Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, Paarl, Darling, Swartland.
The first good bottlings of 2000 came from the following: Devon Hill, Stellenbosch (Cab S, Pinotage, Merlot); Laborie Estate, Paarl (Cab S); Devonair, Stellenbosch (Cab); Uiterwyk, Stellenbosch (Cab F, Pinotage); Stony Brook, Franschhoek ( Reserve Cab S, Pinotage); Avontuur, Helderber (Cab F); Buitenverwachting, Constantia (Merlot); Coopolse Finlayson, Stellenbosch (Merlot); Havana Hills, Durbanville (Du Plessis Reserve Merlot, Du Plessis Reserve Shiraz); Hamilton Russell Vineyards, Walker Bay (Pinot Noir); Fairview Primo, Paarl (Pinotage); L’Avenir, Stellenbosch (Pinotage); Tukulu (Pinotage); Bartho Eksteen, Walker Bay (Shiraz); Steenberg, Constantia (Shiraz); Slaley, Stellenbosch (Broken Stone Pinotage, Shiraz); Stonewall, Helderberg (Pinotage); Boland Winery, Paarl (Shiraz); Gilga, Stellenbosch (Shiraz); Muratie, Stellenbosch (Shiraz); Blaauwklippen, Stellenbosch (Barouche blend – Cab S, Shiraz, Pinotage); Kaapzicht, Stellenbosch (Steytler blend – Pinotage, Cab S, Merlot); Lanzerac, Stellenbosch (Classic blend – Cab S & F, Malbec); Morgenhof, Stellenbosch (blend – Cab S & F)
Most regular Cape red wine flagbearers have yet to release their 2000s. Watch for:
Cabernets and Cab-based blends: Rustenberg, Rust en Vrede, Thelema, Veenwouden, De Toren, Delaire, Boukenhoutskloof, De Trafford, Grangehurst, Kanu, Le Riche, Neil Ellis, Saxenburg, Vergelegen, Waterford, Veenwouden, Cordoba, Delaire, Flagstone, Avontuur, Jordan.
Merlot: Overgaauw, Jordan, Morgenhof, Spice Route, Veenwouden, Thelema, Villiera Reserve, Delaire, Hartenberg.
Shiraz/Syrahs: Boukenhotshkloof, Fairview, Delheim Vera Cruz, De Trafford, Kevin Arnold, Neil Ellis, Saxenburg Select, Hartenberg, Stellenzicht, Graham Beck.
Pinot Noir: Bouchard-Finlayson, De Trafford, Newton-Johnson, Glen Carlou
Pinotage: Simonsig, Kanonkop, Hidden Valley, Bellingham Spitz, Beaumont.
Mourvedre: Fairview, Beaumont