World's 50 Best Vineyards: which SA wine estates made the prestigious list?
A trio of local wine estates have been voted among the "50 most amazing places to taste wine and learn about winemaking". That's according to the World's Best Vineyards, a new ranking from the organisers of the World's 50 Best Restaurants awards.
The inaugural list, which features everything from small boutique wineries to ancient cellars, is based on the votes of 500 wine experts around the globe. This includes sommeliers, wine aficionados and luxury travel correspondents.
These experts take more than just vino into consideration. They also look at what other unique attractions wine estates offer — think horse-drawn carriage rides, classic car and art collections, mountain biking adventures, horseback riding, infinity pools and fine dining.
Not surprisingly, the three SA vineyards which made the 2019 list are all in the Western Cape.
Vergelegen Estate in Somerset West was the highest ranking local wine estate; it placed 34th out of 50. Delaire Graff Estate in Stellenbosch and Creation Wines in Hermanus, came in 39th and 45th place respectively.
WHAT MAKES SA VINEYARDS SPECIAL
The World's Best Vineyards website gushed about Vergelegen's rich 300-year history, praising its "extensive heritage display" and "beautifully-preserved homestead".
The estate's extensive gardens, home to a number of historic trees, including what's thought to be the oldest living oak tree in Africa, were also mentioned as a drawcard. As were the "array of fascinating tours" it offers.
Delaire Graff estate was likened to being heaven on earth, thanks to it's "jaw-droppingly beautiful landscape".
It was also proclaimed the "ultimate Wineland retreat" due to the super luxurious nature of the accommodation on offer, as well as the pan-Asian cuisine served up at its restaurant, Indochine.
Food was also mentioned as one of the highlights of a visit to Creation Wines, which was said to produce "outstanding" cool-climate Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
The estate's restaurant boasts seven different wine and food pairing menus, which led to it being called "a gastronomic oasis for wine and food aficionados from all over the world".
SO WHICH IS THE BEST VINEYARD IN THE WORLD?
Zuccardi Valle de Uco in Argentina took the number one spot on the World's Best Vineyards list.
The Argentinian winery was lauded as much for its unique, terroir-driven wines, as it was for the winery complex itself, a sprawling compound built from local stones, water and sand from the nearby Tunuyan River.
Bodega Garzon in Uruguay, and R. Lopez de Heredia Vina Tondonia in Spain, rounded out the top three podium.
The world's top 10 vineyards according to the World's Best Vineyards list:
- Zuccardi Valle de Uco, Argentina
- Bodega Garzon, Uruguay
- R. Lopez de Heredia Vina Tondonia, Spain
- Quinta do Crasto, Portugal
- Bodega Catena Zapata, Argentina
- Tie: Montes, Chile and Clos Apalta Winery, Chile
- Rippon, New Zealand
- Marqués de Riscal, Spain
- Weingut Dr. Loosen, Germany
The full list can be found on worldsbestvineyards.com
– Additional reporting by AFP Relaxnews