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Terlato Portfolio Leads South Africa Quality Surge

wine spectator south africa

The South African wine industry – and the star-studded Terlato portfolio from the country, led by Anthonji Rupert, Rust En Vrede and Ernie Els – is the subject of an extraordinary cover story and related articles in the July 31, 2013, Wine Spectator. The takeaway: South African wine has hit its stride, and the Terlato portfolio is setting the pace.

The Spectator’s man on South Africa, James Molesworth, makes the case that the country’s centuries-old wine industry, remade in the post-apartheid era, “is making better wines than ever.” Of 525 wine tasted blind, 180 earned 90 points or better, “easily the country’s best performance since I began covering South African wine in 2000.”

At the top of the heap: Anthonij Rupert.

Leading the way this year is the Anthonij Rupert Western Cape 2007 (95 points, $125), a richly layered Cabernet Franc-based blend from the reborn L’Ormarins winery, located in Franschhoek Valley. Since taking over the winery in 2005, owner Johann Rupert has set his sights squarely on quality, shifting his estate vineyards from the valley floor to the lower-yielding, more difficult-to-farm slopes above. It’s been a long process, but with in-house winemaker Dawie Botha working with consultant Michel Rolland, the winery now produces some of the country’s top reds.

But that was one of several wines from the Terlato portfolio to shine. Among the others:

  • 94 points: RUST EN VREDE 1964 Classification Stellenbosch 2008 – Ripe but racy, with flavors of cocoa, licorice, blackberry and plum.
  • 93 points: CIRRUS Syrah Stellenbosch 2009 – Not shy, with bramble, anise and blackberry and a muscular finish.
  • 90 points: ANTHONIJ RUPERT Optima Western Cape 2009 – Old-school feel, with roasted cedar and bittersweet cocoa notes surrounding a well-hewn core of black currant, fig and blackberry fruit. 

In addition to great scores, Rust en Vrede earns acclaim from the Spectator for its restaurant, cited by Editor & Publisher Marvin Shanken as a “don’t miss” spot to visit for travelers to South Africa. And golf legend Ernie Els is noted as “one of the few celebrities who is truly engaged with wine … (he) owns his vineyards and winery in Stellenbosch and takes an active role in shaping the taste profile of the wines from his estate.”

Click here for a reprint that includes all the great highlights of the Spectator‘s coverage of the Terlato South Africa portfolio.

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