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Alternative Varieties Report 2019 by Winemag at Babylonstoren


10 April 2019

Alternative varieties is perhaps a little of a misnomer, as in fact it is more about minority varieties.. But Single Variety only - so no blends are included in the report.

South Africa has 95 000 hectares under vine with 10 varieties  making up 86% of these plantings: Chenin Blanc, Colombar, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinotage, Chardonnay, Merlot, Ruby Cabernet and Cinsault, in that order.  This means that 14% have plantings of minor varieties - and it is these which fall into the Alternative Varieties report.
Hence one finds Semillon, Cabernet Franc and Riesling, which one does not really think of alternative, in this mix.

The Top White was the Babylonstoren Wine Club wine - a Semillon with 95 points and the Raats Family Reserve Cabernet Franc 2016 won the Top Red at 94 points
Semillon was South Africa’s 13th most planted variety making up 1.2% of the national vineyard at the end of 2017 while Cabernet Franc was 14th making up 0.9% - showing how tiny a proportion of the total these are taking up.

Although many of the winners are from Stellenbosch, there were a few good scores from further away: Lyra Quasar Colombard 2018 from Northern Cape producer Orange River
Cellars which rated 89 and the Nebbiolo 2018 and Viognier NV from Abingdon in Lions River, KZN, which both rated 90.  

Hat's off to Organic producer Org de Rac in the Swartland for their Verdelho 2018 at 92 points. Great value to be had.