Stellenbosch’s Kleine Zalze wines have excelled once again in the 2020 edition of the authoritative annual review of South African wine just released by Tim Atkin MW. No less than eight Kleine Zalze wines received medals of excellence having attained over 90 points in the 100-point assessment.
A certified Master of Wine, Atkin is one of the world’s pre-eminent wine journalists whose annual South Africa Special Report has become an important barometer of wine quality in South Africa. The UK, where Atkin is based, is among the most valuable and hotly contested markets for wine in the world – and a market where Kleine Zalze has repeatedly been recognised for the quality of its wine.
“Good news is most welcome considering the difficult year the industry endured and we are grateful for the recognition of our continued efforts to improve the quality of our wines,” says Kleine Zalze owner and managing director Kobus Basson. “It is also an auspicious year for the farm. The 2020 harvest saw the first fruit harvested from vineyards planted as part of our extensive vineyard redevelopment program we started a few years ago.”
This year saw a small increase on the previous year in the number of Kleine Zalze’s wines scoring 90+, but again displayed the winery’s excellence across price points, cultivars and vintages.
Selected from a line-up this year of 1 328 wines, top achievers were the Kleine Zalze
· Family Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 (93 pts)
· Family Reserve Chenin Blanc 2019 (93 pts)
· Family Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2019 (90 pts)
· Family Reserve Shiraz 2017 (91 pts)
· Vineyard Selection Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 (91 pts)
· Vineyard Selection Chardonnay 2019 (90 pts)
· Vineyard Selection Chenin Blanc 2019 (91 pts)
· Vintage Brut 2013 (90 pts)
In communicating the results, Atkin says: “Overall, I am extremely impressed with the quality of what I tasted in 2020, especially from the 2017 and 2019 vintages. The 2017 vintage in particular deserves its place among the best-ever Cape harvests, as good as and, in some cases, even better than 2015. Against formidable odds, South Africa is making some of the greatest wines in its history.”
The excellent results in Atkin’s report follows recent reviews by the esteemed local panel at Winemag.co.za, which also highlighted the quality of Kleine Zalze wines. Stellenbosch wines dominated the platform’s Prescient Cabernet Sauvignon Report, released in June with Kleine Zalze Vineyard Selection Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 scoring 91/100. Two Kleine Zalze wines also achieved 93 points in the Prescient Chenin Report – the Kleine Zalze Family Reserve Chenin Blanc 2018 and Kleine Zalze Vineyard Selection Chenin Blanc 2019.
In terms of future releases, Kleine Zalze cellar master Alastair Rimmer reported for the 2020 harvest that better rainfall over the winter period compared to the preceding seasons had “a very positive influence”.
About the redeveloped vineyards, the first fruit harvested was from Cabernet Sauvignon planted in 2016. “For a first harvest, the quality of the wine we made from those grapes is exceptional and hence the new blocks are an extremely exciting prospect for the future,” he says.
The final phase of this round of replanting will be in 2021 and will be the culmination of a seven-year redevelopment plan.