Tim Atkin 2021 South Africa Wine Special Report
Benguela Cove Lagoon Wine Estate, owned by UK entrepreneur Penny Streeter, was a standout performer in the ninth annual South Africa Special Report compiled by leading UK wine writer Tim Atkin MW and released on September 10th, 2021. Medals of Excellence were awarded for all seven of its entries for the second consecutive year with each wine achieving 90 or more points out of 100.
Penny Streeter bought Benguela Cove in 2013, producing 150,000 bottles annually in the Cape vineyard. UK acquisitions then followed, of Mannings Heath golf club and then Leonardslee Lakes and Gardens near Horsham, where with her South African winemaker Johann Fourie she planted 37 acres of vines in 2017 and 2018, to create South African-style wine and hospitality destinations.
Benguela Cove’s top achievers included its Benguela Cove Catalina Semillon 2020, awarded 95 points in the Atkin’s 2021 report. This is a one-point increase on the previous 2017 and 2018 vintages of this wine which also received 5 stars in the 2019 Platter’s Wine Guide.
“Exciting things are happening at Benguela Cove under winemaker Johann Fourie, typified by the quality of this cool climate Semillon from the Bot River lagoon. Salty, herbal and creamy, with lemongrass intensity, a hint of oyster shell and a tangy finish,” said the Atkin’s report, which rated Benguela Cove in the top 20% of vineyards in its classification of the best Cape producers.
The Benguela Cove Vinography Sauvignon Blanc 2020, in the vineyard’s single vineyard range, was awarded 94 points for the second year in a row: “This top Sauvignon Blanc hails from a one-hectare plot that was picked early in the morning to preserve freshness. Oak-fermented with a combination of different yeast strains, it shows flavours of lanolin, tangerine and pink grapefruit with leesy intensity and a saline bite,” according to the report.
Also, in the Vinography range, the Chardonnay 2020 scored 93 points: “Every bit as attractive as its label design, this top-end Chardonnay is part of an increasingly impressive range from Benguela Cove. Sea breeze and struck match aromas segue into a palate that’s saline, mineral and bracingly fresh with a focused, deftly wooded finish”.
The Benguela Cove Sauvignon Blanc 2020 scored 93 points, matching the score of the previous year’s vintage: “A very classy, cool climate Sauvignon Blanc from Johann Fourie that combines oaked and ceramic egg-fermented components to impressive effect. Perfumed and refined, with notes of lime, grapefruit and fresh herbs and a whisper of vanilla spice”.
Other medal winners included the 2019 Collage on 92 points: “As its name suggests, Collage is a red blend featuring Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec and Petit Verdot. Fresh and oceanic, with subtle wood, granular tannins, cassis and plum fruit and a green, herbal undertone”.
The 2020 Chardonnay achieved 91: “This coastal site is very well suited to white grapes, producing wines with impressive freshness and precision. Leesy, sappy and tangy, Johann Fourie’s Chardonnay combines aromas of cinnamon and white flowers with a crunchy, pear and citrus palate.
The report warded the 2019 Syrah a score of 90, “Richly coloured, serious and intense, this is very much a cool climate Syrah, with some whole bunch fermentation adding spice and texture. Fennel and blackberry flavours are supported by sinewy tannins and a zesty, mineral-edged finish”.
Penny Streeter OBE, owner of Benguela Cove Lagoon Wine estate says: “Each year our reputation develops, resulting in new export markets and an increase in wine tourists visiting the lagoon estate. We are grateful to Tim Atkin, for recognising our wines’ continuous improvement over the years. Investment in our winery and sustainable agricultural techniques has ensured high quality throughout our time as a smaller, mostly limited-edition winemaker.“
Johann Fourie says: “As a producer selling internationally, it’s important to get Tim’s feedback not only because he knows South African wines so well but because they are judged in a global context and how they stack up against the best in the world.
“Getting 90 plus across various grape varietals, both white and red, shows the diversity in terroir we are spoiled with at Benguela Cove. What is particularly pleasing is to see the score of the wines creeping up year on year which is a sign that we’re on the right track and constantly improving.”
The winery is a supporter of WOSA’s Sustainable Wine South Africa project (Wines of South Africa). Vineyard excursions and wine tastings are available on the lagoon’s pontoon, as well as lunch and dinner in the hospitality facilities, all of which are located within the UNESCO-designated Kogelberg Biosphere.
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