Flushed with Atkin Report Success

by Kyla Van Heerden

Tim Atkin Special South Africa Report 2023

If wine scores were cards in a high stakes game, this would be the poker equivalent of a flush…

The stakes don’t get any higher than in the annual release of Tim Atkin’s Special South African Report each September. Renowned Master of Wine, Tim Atkin, has become one of the most highly regarded in South Africa with his annual report eagerly anticipated – sometimes with trepidation, to see precisely which wines have received much coveted 90+ scores.
Haute Cabrière is thrilled with the 2023 Special South African Report where, once again, a host of their wines were awarded wonderfully high scores ranging from 90 to 95. Of the seven wines from their three ranges to achieve these high ratings, the highest accolade was awarded to the Haute Collection Amphora Chardonnay achieving 95 out of 100 – the first of Haute Cabrière’s wines to attain this sought-after achievement.

Tim Atkin, MW, is esteemed internationally for his in-depth knowledge and critical assessments of wine producing areas, publishing Special Reports on Rioja, Argentina, Chile, Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne and a host more. As the co-chair of the International Wine Challenge and contributor to a range of influential wine publications, as well as having won a multitude of wine writing awards, Atkin is uniquely qualified to assess the vinous state of many nations.
2023 marks the 11th year of his SA report with 2,205 wines sampled from 419 wineries. Franschhoek’s Haute Cabrière has established a solid track record for excellent results with a variety of wines – although Chardonnay continues to stake its claim for pre-eminence. In the 2022 edition – six wines achieved 90+ scores, four of them Chardonnay, while in the latest release this figure increased to seven wines, again with four Chardonnays.

In the 2023 Report, Haute Cabrière’s Old Vine Project Certified Chardonnays (unique in the Franschhoek Valley) led the portfolio with the highest ratings. The 2022 vintage of Haute Cabrière’s Haute Collection Amphora Chardonnay attained the highest score of 95 Points, while the same vintage of Haute Collection Chardonnay received a score of 94. Hailing from old vines planted in 1983, the significant difference between the two individual wines was in the method of maturation: the former aged in 450-litre terracotta amphora while the latter was fermented and aged in a combination of oak barrels and amphora.
A further two wines from the 2022 vintage scored 93 Points: Haute Cabrière’s Haute Collection Pinot Noir (prized for its terroir characteristics) and Haute Collection Amphora Semillon (a grape which continues to play an important role in establishing Franschhoek’s wine reputation).

Founded 40 years ago as a specialist Cap Classique producer, Haute Cabrière’s current cellar master – Tim Hoek – said he was delighted that Haute Cabrière’s 2018 Pierre Jourdan Blanc de Blancs was awarded 92 Points. This 100% Chardonnay Cap Classique is a bottle-fermented sparkling wine which spent five years on the lees.
The newest wine to the Haute Cabrière Reserve range, the Haute Cabrière Chardonnay Rèserve, achieved 91 Points for the 2022 vintage, while the 2020 Haute Cabrière Arnim Family Rèserve, an unusual Syrah – Pinot Noir blend, rounded out the poker-type flush by attaining 90 Points.

“I want everyone to know how amazing Franschhoek is as a wine valley!” says second generation custodian of Haute Cabrière, Takuan von Arnim. It’s his biggest point of pride that their Haute Collection and Haute Cabrière Réserve Range now proclaim Wine of Origin: Franschhoek as the valley comprises a tiny portion of the national vineyard, but punches above its weight in terms of class and excellence.

Cellar Master, Tim Hoek, reiterated Haute Cabrière’s dedication to producing premium quality “reflecting the region’s exceptional aspects”. “One of these characteristics is diversity – no two Franschhoek vineyards are alike. As Haute Cabrière’s maiden Haute Cabrière Chardonnay Réserve 2021 showed, each vineyard parcel in the region has distinct elements showing a unique fingerprint of excellence.” That particular wine scored 90 Points in last year’s Atkin SA Report – so with 91 Points this year, it is fast developing a consistent track record.

“Looking back over the last decade, I’m constantly amazed at the progress the industry has made and continues to
make. Everyone should take great pride in brand South Africa.” – Tim Atkin, 2023

Honour roll:
95 Points | 2022 Haute Collection OVP Amphora
Chardonnay, by Haute Cabrière
94 Points | 2022 Haute Collection Chardonnay,
by Haute Cabrière
93 Points | 2022 Haute Collection Amphora Semillon,
by Haute Cabrière
93 Points | 2022 Haute Collection Pinot Noir,
by Haute Cabrière
92 Points | 2018 Pierre Jourdan Blanc de Blancs Cap
Classique, by Haute Cabrière
91 Points | 2022 Haute Cabrière Chardonnay Rèserve
90 Points | 2020 Haute Cabrière Arnim Family Rèserve

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