Stars of the 2016 Cape Winemakers Guild Auction

Picking out the top pours from South Africa's premier wine auction.
Photo courtesy Cape Winemakers Guild

The Nedbank Cape Winemakers Guild Auction is an annual South African event recognized as the country’s leading wine auction open to both the general public and wine trade. Taking place on the first Saturday of every October, it features rare, limited edition and small-batch selections produced exclusively for the event by members of the Cape Winemakers Guild, an association of 48 of South Africa’s best winemakers.

Crafted to raise the standard and international standing of South African wines, these selections represent winemaking excellence, with wines of remarkable lineage and enduring quality. All of the auction wines are subject to rigorous scrutiny by the Guild’s tasting panel and tested by an independent laboratory.

Membership to the Cape Winemakers Guild is by invitation only. It is extended to winemakers recognized for their high standards of craftsmanship who have been producing outstanding wines for a minimum of five years and are actively involved in the winemaking operations of a cellar from harvest to bottling.

The Guild also meets regularly as a technical tasting group, evaluating wines from around the world and sharing knowledge and ideas, ensuring that they remain current on global winemaking techniques, styles and practices, staying at the forefront of innovation.

The Cape Winemakers Guild Auction wines have become a benchmark standard, with the CWG label representing an assurance of masterful skill and exceptional quality from the South African wine industry. The 2016 auction selections include 32 red wines, 15 white wines, three Méthode Cap Classique sparkling wines and two fortified wines.

Cape Winemakers Guild Auction
Photo courtesy Cape Winemakers Guild

Top White Wines

Kaapzicht 2015 Auction Select 1947 Chenin Blanc (Stellenbosch); 93 points. Winemaker: Danie Steytler. Direct and clean aromas of Anjou pear, apple flesh, hay, citrus zest, lime leaf and wet stone greet you on the nose of this attractive old-vine Chenin Blanc. The palate boasts a pleasant weight and richness, but with lifting acidity and bright, citrusy flavors for balance. Notes of fresh hay and soft toast unfold on the finish. It’s a joy to drink now, but this harmonious and well-balanced wine will age well through 2022.

Jordan Stellenbosch 2015 Cape Winemakers Guild CWG Chardonnay (Stellenbosch); 93 points. Winemaker: Gary Jordan. This wine is a stunner, exhibiting superb balance between all the key elements–ripe fruits, bright acidity, integrated oak and a lush texture. Rich without being overdone, with attractive notes of toasted red apple and orange zest that are laced with hints of toasted nuts, salinity and chalky minerality. The palate is full and flavorful but not flabby or fat, with ample acidity that keeps the whole experience fresh through the long, toasty finish. Drink now–2022.

Tokara 2015 Cape Winemakers Guild Siberia Chardonnay (Hemel en Aarde); 92 points. Winemaker: Miles Mossop. There’s beautiful concentration yet ample freshness to the ripe wood-grilled apple, pineapple, melon and lemon-curd aromas and flavors in this wine. A hint of toasted brioche adds depth, while accents of fresh herbs and pressed yellow flower add an earthy elegance. The palate is full and round, yet not overly so, with ample acidity to lift the mouthfeel while lingering flavors of apple pie and spiced orange dance seductively on the finish. Drink now–2022.

Top Red Wines

Rijk’s 2013 Cape Winemakers Guild CWG Pinotage (Tulbagh); 94 points. Winemaker: Pierre Wahl. A dense, full-fruited and powerful wine, the bouquet is loaded with ripe, brambly berry and plum aromas that are hit with complementary notes of char, cured bacon, black pepper and a touch of bittersweet cocoa powder. The palate is plush and decadent, with superb balance between the supple yet structured tannins, ample acidity and bold black-fruit flavors. The long, evolving finish transitions seamlessly from fruity richness to baking spice, then black tea and finally sweet smoke. Delicious now, but should cellar well through 2022.

Saronsberg 2012 Cape Winemakers Guild Sneeusig Shiraz (Tulbagh); 94 points. Winemaker: Dewaldt Heyns. Big, bold and powerful, this is currently a bruiser, but one that has the components to age well through 2025, at least. Loads of dark blackberry and boysenberry are hit with accents of black pepper, chicory, char and cocoa shavings. The palate is rich and plushly textured, with structured tannins and mouthfilling black-fruit flavors that linger endlessly on the spicy finish.

Edgebaston 2013 Cape Winemakers Guild Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon (Stellenbosch); 93 points. Winemaker: David Finlayson. Dense and concentrated, this is a powerful yet sexy wine that will please fans of ripely styled Cab Sauvs. Intense scents of blackberry, cassis, boysenberry, cigar box and spice cake dance in the glass and carry through to the bold, full-figured palate. The tannins are strong yet supple, with a texture like crushed velvet and additional notes of singed leather, tree bark, cigar and roasted espresso that unfold on the long finish. You can drink this now after some time to air or decanting, or try it after 2021 and through 2026.

To see the full list of reviews for this year’s auction wines, click here.

For more information about the Guild’s 32nd auction on October 1, 2016, visit capewinemakersguild.com

Published on September 27, 2016
Topics: South Africa
About the Author
Lauren Buzzeo
Managing Editor, Print, and Tasting Director

Reviews wines from South Africa and Languedoc-Roussillon. Reviews beers.

Buzzeo joined Wine Enthusiast Magazine in 2006 as a tasting coordinator, and eventually became Tasting Director and Senior Editor, responsible for overseeing all aspects of the tasting and review program. Most recently, Buzzeo assumed the role of Managing Editor. Since coming to Wine Enthusiast, she has made it one of her personal missions to promote the acceptance of cross-drinking, encouraging everyone to embrace finely crafted libations across all beverage categories. Buzzeo is also an avid homebrewer and a member of the AHA (American Homebrewers Association). Email: lbuzzeo@wineenthusiast.net.




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