Of the five-star wines, the red and white receiving the most votes from the judges are named Platter's Wines of the Year.

Durban - It is said every bottle of wine has its own tale – a long-held dream turned reality, an ailing vineyard nursed to life, or a crumbing cellar restored to glory. The newly-released Platter’s Guide To South African Wines 2013 (recommended retail price: R169.95) honours just those romantic snippets.

Publisher Andrew McDowall says too much focus falls on the nuts and bolts of wine rather than the mystery and allure, something the guide aims to shift from the background to the foreground. The theme extends to a full-colour photo gallery by young Capetonian Teddy Sambu.

The guide’s 33rd edition features more than 900 wine producers, merchants and brands, including 54 that are new, and more than 7 300 wines. The descriptions and star ratings again make it easy for consumers to pair appropriate wines with any occasion, while the good-value indicators highlight budget-friendly offerings across the quality levels.

However, it is the five-star line-up that always takes centre stage and this year boasts a record 62 wines achieving the top grade.

Cape Chamonix has four five-star wines; Fairview, Mullineux Family and Nederburg three each; and Boschendal, Fleur du Cap, Jordan, Raka, Sadi Family and Tokara two each.

Twelve wineries have received their inaugural five-star ratings. They are AA Badenhorst Family, Alheit, Bon Courage, Cederberg, Dalla Cia, David, Fryer’s Cove, Keets, Mvemve Raats, Nitida, Saronsberg and Von Ortloff.

Of the five-star wines, the red and white receiving the most votes from the judges are named Platter’s Wines of the Year. This year’s honours go to the Mullineux Family Syrah 2010 and Paul Cluver Noble Late Harvest 2011.

The value-for-money section rates the Superquaffer of the Year, which, for the first time since 2007, was won by a red, Melck’s Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon 2011, produced by Muratie Estate.

There are also 98 highly recommended wines, those that missed out on a five-star rating, but which are nonetheless collectables in their own right. A further 134 wines show cellar-ageing potential.

The Winery of the Year award is the editor’s personal selection after considering various criteria, the aim of which is showcasing a producer epitomising the best of South Africa’s winegrowing today.

Editor Philip van Zyl says the award is influenced by the five-star ratings and Cape Chamonix’s ever-improving performance, culminating in this year’s achievement, made it the obvious choice.

The print version will be available mid-November, but it may be ordered online at: www.wineonaplatter.com, www.kalahari.com and www.sawinesonline.co.uk. The web-based version is available at www.wineonaplatter.com, with applications for Apple and Android devices. - The Mercury

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