SA Brandy Classification


Johann Rupert, recently crowned by Forbes as the richest South African, made a splash last month when he launched his Cape Vintner Classification at the Wine Gallery of banksta Paul Harris at Ellerman House in Bantry Bay. Producers may apply to join. Which is a bit like Idi Amin Dada awarding himself the VC. Although Africa’s most decorated Field Marshall is lucky to have escaped being hit over the head with the City of London’s Pearl Sword by the Queen, according to the indiscreet diaries of Lord Louis Mountbatten who was himself blown up by the IRA.

The best classifications are made by the market, as was the case with the 1855 classification in Bordeaux that CVC aims to imitate. So where does this leave brandy, the soul of SA wine? (as Distell spirit chief Caroline Snyman calls it).

fig6 615x461 SA Brandy Classification

From the recommended retail prices of brandies submitted to a blind tasting at Classic Wine magazine last year (graphed above), SA brandies fall naturally into three classes: First, Second and Cru Bourgeois (popular in Boksburg), to coin a phrase.

FIRST GROWTH BRANDIES

Oude Molen VOV
KWV 15 YO
Van Ryn’s 20 YO
KWV 20 YO
Van Ryn’s 12 YO
Oude Meester 18 YO
Van Ryn’s 15 YO

SECOND GROWTH BRANDIES

KWV 10 YO
Richelieu 10 YO
Van Ryn’s 10 YO
Klipdrift Gold
Boplaas Reserve 8 YO
Ladismith 8 YO
Haute Cabriere Fine de Jourdan
Collison’s White Gold
Joseph Barry Muscat
Nederburg Solera
Joseph Barry Traditional
Oude Meester Demant
Laborie Alambic
Oude Molen Renee Single Cask
Uitkyk
Upland Pure Potstill
Oude Meester 12 YO
Kaapzicht

CRU BOURGEOIS

Klipdrift Export
Olof Bergh
Wellington VO
Commando
Oude Meester VSOP
Klipdrift Premium
Martell VO
Oude Molen 100 Reserve
KWV 3 YO
Mellow Wood
Richelieu International
KWV 5 YO
Mellow Wood 5
Viceroy
Flight of the Fish Eagle

As is the experience in France, when it comes to taste, best value is to be found in bottom drawers, with the Classic Wine bargains highlighted above.