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What Wine Is the Best Value in Restaurants?

What Wine Is the Best Value in Restaurants?


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It's a problem we face every time we dine out at our favorite restaurants: what wine to order? And when buying by the glass, which is best? While many may go with the "second-cheapest" tactic from the liquor store, a new study shows which wine varietals are in fact the best bang for your buck by the glass.

A research group that focuses on restaurant industry and analytics, called Restaurant Sciences, analyzed more than 10 million wine purchases at restaurants, nightclubs, and bars. (Man, you guys are drinking a lot of wine.) When the group looked at by-the-glass consumption, it found which wines were the least expensive, and most expensive, no matter where they were bought. Here's what the study found:

• The average pour for a glass of wine was about 6.18 ounces (so now you can calculate your cost per ounce — ouch.)

• The most ordered glasses of wine at restaurants? Chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon. About 45 percent of all white wines bought by the glass were chardonnay, while 29 percent of all red wines purchased by the glass were cabernet sauvignon. Chardonnays ranged in price from $5.23 at casual dining places up to $12.25 a glass at fine dining locations, while cabernet sauvignon ranged from $5.10 a glass to $12.86 at fine establishments.

• The best overall values for consumers, across all categories of dining, were pinot grigio and zinfandel. Pinot grigio cost $6.25 a glass at family dining establishments, but ranged upward of $8.32 a glass at fine dining establishments. Zinfandel averaged $5.17 a glass at family dining restaurants, and upward to $8.44 a glass at fine dining establishments.

• In the white varietals, pinot gris commanded the highest price across all types of establishments except fine dining. (Order a glass of pinot grigio over pinot gris, and you'll save on average about $2). In the red varietals, pinot noir was also highest in all types of establishments except in fine dining.

Still, it may not make much of a difference: "Consumers, however, were not concerned by prices per glass as three out of the four most popular wines were more expensive across the dining categories," said the president of Restaurant Services, Chuck Ellis, in a release. So we know you're going to be drinking it up no matter what the price.


Share All sharing options for: Sommeliers Pick the Best Wine Glasses for Every Scenario

No matter what wine you’re drinking, if it’s served in a great wine glass, it will usually taste better. Maybe that’s not the most verified science, but so many wine drinkers know it in their gut to be true.

But not all wine glasses are created equal. Not only do reds and whites do better in different glasses, not every person needs the same type of wine glass, depending on the drinking habits, preferred wine, and — let’s be honest — cabinet space.

So we spoke to some of the country’s top wine bars and wine-focused restaurants about the glasses they use most often (spoiler alert: It’s not just about getting the most expensive one). Here’s a practical guide to finding the glass out there for you, whether you’re frugal, clumsy, or just running out of kitchen space.

The best glass for… kitchens with minimal storage space

The Inalto Uno collection from Bormioli Rocco Bormioli Rocco

Bormioli Rocco Inalto Uno glass

If you can only buy one set, get wine glasses you can use for just about any kind of wine. These Bormioli Rocco glasses “are the best combination of visual appeal, durability, and flexibility in terms of accentuating as many types of wines as possible,” says Kyle Davidson, formerly beverage director and general manager of Elske in Chicago. Just don’t forget to buy a nice polishing cloth, he adds.

The best glass for… looking good without breaking the bank

Schott Zwiesel glasses from the Pure collection William Sonoma

Schott Zwiesel Pure white wine glass

For an elegant option that’s still affordable, Diane Gross of Cork Wine Bar in D.C. goes for the Schott Zwiesel Pure White Wine glasses. Sure, you could go even pricier and get professional, aroma-enhancing glasses, she says, but simple, well-made stems like these ones are the most beautiful for everyday use.

The best glass for… beer (that also works quite well for drinking wine)

Rastal Teku tulip glass

It may not be your first instinct to reach for a beer glass for drinking wine, but when Jhonel Faelnar, sommelier and wine director at Atomix and Atoboy in New York, is at home, he sips wine out of stemmed Teku beer glasses by German glassware company Rastal. “The shape of the bowl amplifies the aromatics just as well as any,” he says. “They’re also sturdy, compact, and easy to wash.”

The best glass for… clumsy friends

Glasses from the Schott Zwiesel Tritan collection Schott Zwiesel

Schott Zwiesel Tritan glass

For Mary Kurth, the owner of Spoke Wine Bar in Boston, the most important attribute for a wine glass is durability. The Schott Zwiesel Tritan stemware collection, she says, “has perfectly thin crystal on the lip, is lightweight, and doesn’t chip or scratch.” Upgrade to a Tritan Forte to “allow for swirling without the fear of splashing on your neighbor,” she adds.

The best glass for… getting maximum aromatics out of your wine

Glasses from Riedel’s Vinum collection Riedel

Riedel Vinum Viognier/Chardonnay wine glass

Riedel’s Vinum line has a glass for every grape varietal, from syrah to chardonnay. Yoon Ha, wine director of Benu in San Francisco, endorses the whole collection, due to the stems’ ideal weight, balance, and most important, the rounded shape of the bowl, which she says “yields a broader spectrum of fruit aromas and suppresses the undesirable notes.”

The best glass for… Champagne-worthy occasions

Zalto Denk’Art glasses at Charlie Bird in NYC Photo by Noah Fecks, courtesy of Charlie Bird

Zalto Denk’Art Universal glass

Turns out you don’t need flutes. “If you want to ball out,” says Etinosa Emokpae, sommelier at Friday Saturday Sunday in Philadelphia, Zalto stemware is a worthwhile splurge. “These glasses really bring out the best in wine,” she says. “I particularly love them for Champagne. You can really pick up all those complex aromas from Champagne without losing the bubbles!” There’s a reason these glasses pop up in fine restaurants from coast to coast.

The best glass for… getting a party started

Chambong glass

Jen Pelka of Une Femme Wines calls her Chambong — designed for rapidly shooting bubbly — “the ultimate party trick,” adding that “anyone who is hosting a good party should have some on hand.” There are now all sorts of Chambong knockoffs on the market, but Pelka says she’s been loyal to the original both at home and at the Riddler, her now-closed Champagne bar in San Francisco. “The Chambong team is constantly innovating on their product line, and they now even offer a 50-pack of their plastic Chambongs for parties,” she says.


Wonderful Wine Co. Malvasia

107 calories, 2.7g carbs, 0g sugar, 12.8% ABV

Have you ever heard of orange wine? Well, now that you have, and now that you know Winc's Wonderful Wine Co. makes a low-calorie version, you should make it a staple in your wine rack. White wine is allowed to come in contact with red skins during fermentation, which produces a beautiful orange color and a wine that has a flavor with citrus, peach, and honeysuckle notes. To make their keto-friendly, low-calorie wine, The Wonderful Wine Co. doesn't add any sugar during the winemaking process and they ferment their wines dry, which leaves no residual sugar in the wine by the time they bottle it. No extra sugar means fewer total calories.


The 50 best restaurants in Hong Kong you have to try

May 2021: With the new vaccine bubble, which started April 29, restaurants with vaccinated staff who have received their first dose of the jab will be allowed to operate until midnight and seat up to six customers per table. Thereafter, with staff that have received their second vaccination, restaurants can set up an area for customers who have taken their first vaccine dose, seating eight guests per table at 75 percent capacity and resume dining services until 2am. In light of this situation, we felt it appropriate to give recognition and support to our pick of the best restaurants that are feeding and serving joy to Hong Kong during this time.

As usual, temperature checks and hand sanitiser will be given to guests upon arrival, and customers must wear masks before and after the meal, and when picking up their orders. Guests must also log into the 'Leave Home Safe' app or register their contact details. Visit this link for regular updates on social distancing regulations in Hong Kong.

From new restaurants and concepts to established Hong Kong eateries doing what they can to stay relevant, creative and interesting, read on for our pick of the 50 best restaurants and get some inspiration for where your next meal could be.

Eaten somewhere on this list and loved it? Know of a restaurant that should be on here instead? Let us know and share it with the hashtag #TimeOutEatList


America's 50 Best Wine Retailers

Wine shops are more than just beverage outlets. They’re advisors, educators and retreats where we go to think about wine. Here is your ultimate guide to the best across the country, born from passionate discussion among our network of editors about what makes a great bottle shop in 10 different categories.

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Its snug confines always bustling, Cinelli's is hands-down one of the area's more popular Southern Italian joints. Indeed, on weekends, it's not uncommon to see the line for tables extending out the door and hungry families eagerly waiting their turn to enjoy cooked-to-order pasta plates and hand-tossed pizzas. The dishes honor recipes that Pop Cinelli and family brought from their native Monte San Giovanni back in 1965. Although many diners opt for a table in the comfortable main dining room, you can also get a pie to go from the neighboring pizzeria. Delivery orders are also accepted.

Wanna know where many locals think you can find the best mussels on LI? The only Belgian place in downtown Garden City, that's where! So, order an Amstel (keep the tab open!), stuff a napkin in your collar, and ask the server to set you up with a heaping order prepared Thai, Creole, or Provençal-style – and served with frites and mayo. If you don't dig shellfish, they also serve delicious sandwiches, traditional fish dishes, and other main courses like steak au poivre and herb-roasted chicken. Weekly beer and wine dinners on Monday and Tuesday nights respectively, feature three courses and beverage for $35. Reservations are encouraged.


The Heights’ pretty new wine bar and tasting room is offering curbside retail service on its wine and food offerings. A new to-go menu lists items like a cheese and charcuterie picnic package and smoked chicken stuffed pasta with suggested wine pairings.

While those placing an order to-go from B&B Butchers can choose from any of the bottles from the steakhouse’s coveted wine list, visitors to the butcher shop can opt for more budget-friendly options. In addition to shopping deli meats and cheeses to take home, visitors can choose from a selection of red, white and rosé wines, priced at $20.


American red wines to look for

Chronic Cellars 2018 Purple Paradise Red (Paso Robles) $15, 92 points. A roasted red-plum aroma meets with savory leather and dried beef jerky on the nose of this Zin-based bottling. There’s a decent grip right away on the palate, and those tannins hold up through the roasted strawberry, cinnamon and pie crust flavors. Best Buy. —Matt Kettmann

Parducci 2017 Small Lot Petite Sirah (Mendocino County) $14, 92 points. Sleek, sophisticated and understated, this full-bodied wine is keeping plenty of concentrated blackberry and blueberry flavors in reserve for the future. Fine-grained tannins support a surprisingly supple mouthfeel. Best through 2027. Best Buy. —Jim Gordon

Bogle 2017 Old Vine Zinfandel (California) $12, 91 points. This full-bodied wine shows excellent depth of flavor and great structure. Rich blackberry and plum notes ring clear as a bell, accompanied by light shades of oaky spices. Best Buy. —J.G.

Lohr 2016 South Ridge Syrah (Paso Robles) $15, 91 points. This widely available wine carries aromas of ripe berry, plum, violet and lavender that lead into a palate loaded with flavors of black currant and purple flowers. Polished tannins and just-right acidity frame it all. Best Buy. —M.K.

Matchbook 2018 Estate Bottled Red Gravel Cabernet Sauvignon (Dunnigan Hills) $15, 91 points. This is a brawny, full-bodied and firmly tannic wine that’s nevertheless seductive, complex and layered. A dark color and impressions of tobacco, black currant and sage make it delicious to sip. Best through 2027. Best Buy. —J.G.

Hahn 2018 G-S-M (Central Coast) $14, 90 points. Aromas of dark red berry and crumpled hibiscus make for a delicious entry to the nose of this blend of 69% Grenache, 29% Syrah and 2% Mourvèdre. The palate is lively in acidity and texturally engaging, carrying flavors of dark berry, licorice and star anise. Best Buy. —M.K.

Hayes Valley 2018 Meritage (Central Coast) $12, 90 points. This is a screaming deal of a Bordeaux-style red blend. Light aromas of cherry, oregano, marjoram and black pepper lead into a complex palate of blackberry and more dried herbs. The light body rests on a pleasantly stiff frame lifted by buoyant acidity. Best Buy. —M.K.

Bookwalter NV Notebook 14NV Red (Columbia Valley) $10, 90 points. There’s a lovely sense of purity to the blue fruit aromas of this wine, which are accented by notes of herb, whole green pepper, coffee and cherry. The palate delivering more of the same, with a coffee note linger on the finish. There’s a whole lot of quality and value to be had. Best Buy. —Sean Sullivan

Kiona 2018 Estate Grown Lemberger (Red Mountain) $15, 90 points. The fruit for this wine comes from 40-year-old vines. It kicks off with fruit-forward aromas of boysenberry, blueberry and plum. The palate is soft, bringing a compelling sense of purity to the blue fruit flavors. Reminiscent of a blue-fruited Syrah, it’s thoroughly delightful and a big-time value to boot. Best Buy. —S.S.

Kirkland Signature 2016 Red (Napa Valley) $11, 90 points. This blends together 67% Merlot, 24% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Petit Verdot, 3% Cabernet Franc and 2% Malbec. It offers a wealth of full bodied flavor and complexity within thick, dense walls of red and black currant, plum, licorice and dried herb, the oak sweet on the finish. Best Buy. —Virginie Boone


SA's 90 Best Wines: 15% off Platter's 2019 Guide

All 90 of South Africa&rsquos best wines. Announced at the official Platter&rsquos 2019 SA Wine Guide launch at the Table Bay Hotel at the V&A. And the big surprise is all-new 25 Wines of the Year awards in all varietal categories.

PLATTER&rsquoS BEST WINES OF SA 2019
Platter&rsquos SA Wine Guide is famous for its grading with the reveal of the five-star awarded wines. Some 9000 wines were tested to arrive at this ultimate five-star selection. The number of five-star wines announced has grown to 90 in 2019, and many refer to it as the definitive overview of South Africa&rsquos best, prize and award-winning wines.

"Platter's 2019 is &ndash as always &ndash the wine lover's essential guide to the wines, wine estates and winelands of the Cape," says the guide's publisher, Jean-Pierre Rossouw. "We are pleased to be teaming up with CapeTownMagazine to offer you 15% off on the new edition until 16 November, as well as delivery. Read more about our 90 five-star wines, our hidden gems and those that offer great value for money."

New in this year&rsquos guide: Look out for the all-new international 100 points score for all wines. Plus: An icon that represents SA&rsquos heritage vineyards.

PLUS: EXCLUSIVE 15% DISCOUNT ON PLATTER&rsquoS 2019
What about getting the new 2019 guide delivered to you first? To help you get the best in SA wine first, CapeTownMagazine.com have arranged a special coupon code. Use &ldquocapetownmagazine&rdquo when ordering the guide online and you get a 15% discount. Order the 2019 wine guide here.

WIN A TASTING EXPERIENCE WITH THE PUBLISHER
Plus: When you order with the Platter&rsquos 2019 &ldquocapetownmagazine&rdquo coupon code, you&rsquore entered into a draw to win a unique tasting experience with the guide's publisher JP Rossouw at Tamboers Winkel in Cape Town on 29 November.

See the complete Platter's 2019 selection of five star wines, plus all the Wine fo the Year winners and a selection of special awards below:

CABERNET FRANC
Also known as Bouchet or Breton after one Abbott Breton who first planted Cabernet Franc at Bourgueil Abbey after receiving cuttings of the grape from Cardinal Richelieu sometime in the 17th century. It&rsquos often grown from blending, but bottles beautifully on it own, albeit with a natural spiciness that becomes softer about 30 minutes after decanting. And these are South Africa&rsquos best Cabernet Francs:

Wine of the Year: Raats Dolomite 2016

Five Star wines:
Raats 2016
Raats Dolomite 2016
Van Loggerenberg Breton 2017

CABERNET SAUVIGNON
Prominent in the industry although a relatively new varietal (somewhere around the 17th century). There was a lot of dispute over the actual origin of Cabernet Sauvignon until DNA typing finally proved once and for all in 1996 that it is, in fact, a cross between Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc. Here are the best Cabernet Sauvignon wines of South Africa:

Wine of the Year: Le Riche Reserve 2015

Five Star wines:
Bartinney Cabernet 2015
Erika Obermeyer Erika O 2015
Le Riche Reserve 2015
Reyneke Reserve 2015
Stellenbosch Reserve Ou Hoofgebou 2016
Warwick The Blue Lady 2015

GRENACHE NOIR
Also called Garnacha (in Spanish), Grenache Noir only arrived in the Cape in the 19th century. And, although not very widely planted, it&rsquos gaining popularity because the grape actually grows quite well in SA&rsquos Mediterranean-warm climate. This is South Africa's best Grenache Noir:

Wine of the Year: Sadie Soldaat 2017

Five Star wines:
Sadie Soldaat 2017

MERLOTS
Meaning &ldquolittle blackbird&rdquo in an old regional French dialect is one of the most popular varietals in the world. Smoother and less aggressive than Cabernet Sauvignon, it pairs well with most food and is an all-around safe bet for almost any occasion. These are the best Merlots from South Africa:

Wine of the Year: Shannon The Shannon Black 2013

Five Star wines:
Oldenburg 2015
Shannon The Shannon Black 2013
Thelema Reserve 2015

PETIT VERDOT
Wine of the Year: Thelema Sutherland Reserve 2015

Five Star wines:
Thelema Sutherland Reserve 2015

PINOTAGE
The one that made us famous. Pinotage is the uniquely South African blend of Pinot Noir and Cinsaut &ndash developed by SA professor Abraham Isak Perold in 1925. Read more about the history of pinotage in South Africa.

These are South Africa&rsquos prize-winning Pinotage wines:

Wine of the Year: Kanonkop Black Label 2016

Five Star wines:
Beeslaar 2016
Beyerskloof Diesel 2016
Kanonkop Black Label 2016

PINOT NOIR
Derived from the French words for pine (the grape&rsquos fruit-bearing branches resembling tightly clustered pine cones) and black. It&rsquos one of the oldest known varietals in the world &ndash the oldest in France for sure. It can be traced back to the first century. And these are South Africa&rsquos five-star Pinot Noirs:

Wine of the Year: Crystallum Cuvée Cinéma 2017

Five Star wines:
Crystallum Cuvée Cinéma 2017
Newton Johnson Family Vineyards 2017

SHIRAZ/SYRAH
Spelt both Shiraz and Syrah (although it has many more names), it all refers to wine grown from the same grape. Syrah is the French name, while Shiraz is believed to have its origin in the old Persian empire of Shiraz. It&rsquos high polyphenol content is also one of the likely sources of the widespread claims of the health benefits of wine. And these are the best Shiraz wines of South Africa:

Wine of the Year: Leeuwenkuil Syrah 2015

Five Star wines:
Dorrance Syrah Cuvée Ameena 2016
Hartenberg CWG Auction Reserve Shiraz 2015
Leeuwenkuil Heritage Syrah 2015
Luddite Shiraz 2014
Mullineux Iron Syrah 2016
Mullineux Schist Roundstone Syrah 2016
Porseleinberg Syrah 2016
Rall Ava Syrah 2017
Rhebokskloof Black Marble Hill Syrah 2015
Rust en Vrede Single Vineyard Syrah 2015

TINTA BAROCCA
Wine of the Year: Elemental Bob Graveyard 201

Five Star wines:
Elemental Bob Graveyard 201

RED BLENDS
Never discount blends. Blending red wine varietals is as old as winemaking itself. And today red blends sell more by volume around the world than most single red varietals. Not to mention that blends often make for the most interesting wines, because you can use them to emphasise the best parts of numerous varietals. Here are South Africa&rsquos best red wine blends:

Wine of the Year: Red Blend, Cape Bordeaux: Plaisir de Merle Signature 2012
Wine of the Year: Red Blend, Pinotage: Beyerskloof Faith 2014
Wine of the Year: Red Blend, Shiraz/Syrah: Saronsberg Full Circle 2016
Wine of the Year: Red Blend, Other: Ernie Els Proprietor's Blend 2016

Five Star wines:
Allée Bleue L&rsquoAmour Toujours 2014
Kanonkop Paul Sauer 2015
Muratie Ansela van de Caab 2015
Plaisir de Merle Signature 2012
Ridgeback Signature C 2016
Beyerskloof Faith 2014
Boekenhoutskloof The Chocolate Block 2017
Erika Obermeyer Erika O Syrah-Grenache Noir-Cinsault 2016
Saronsberg Full Circle 2016
Ernie Els Proprietor&rsquos Blend 2016
Rust en Vrede Estate 2015
Waterford The Jem 2014

CHARDONNAY
For quite some time, people thought Chardonnay was a Pinot variety. Not so, it&rsquos its own varietal. It originated in Burgundy, France, some say because Emperor Charlemagne&rsquos wife in the first century disliked how the red wines stained his white beard, and demanded white grapes be planted in the region instead. These are South Africa&rsquos prize-winning Chardonnay wines:

Wine of the Year: Leeu Passant Stellenbosch 2016

Five Star wines:
Haskell Anvil 2017
Leeu Passant Stellenbosch 2016
Oak Valley Groenlandberg 2017
Restless River Ava Marie 2016
Warwick The White Lady 2017

CHENIN BLANC
South Africa&rsquos signature white grape and the most widely planted. Despite being planted as early as 1655, it wasn&rsquot properly identified until 1965. Before this, the grape was simply known as Steen. Here are the best Chenin Blanc wines of South Africa:

Wine of the Year: DeMorgenzon The Divas 2017

Five Star wines:
Beaumont Hope Marguerite 2017
Botanica Mary Delany 2017
Cederberg Five Generations 2016
City on a Hill Wine Company 2017
David & Nadia 2017
David & Nadia Hoë-Steen 2017
David & Nadia Skaliekop 2017
DeMorgenzon Reserve 2017
DeMorgenzon The Divas 2017
Metzer Montane 2017
Rall Ava 2017
Sadie Skurfberg 2017
Savage Never Been Asked To Dance 2017
Spier 21 Gables 2017
Spier Farm House Organic 2016
Spioenkop Sarah Raal 2017
Stellenrust 53 Barrel Fermented 2017
Thistle & Weed Duwweltjie 2017

SAUVIGNON BLANC
The name directly translates to &ldquowild white&rdquo, a reference to how the grapes grew wild in France&rsquos Loire Valley France until it was tamed by early winemakers. One of the most planted grapes in the world, Sauvignon Blanc was crossed with Cabernet some time in the 19th century to create Cabernet Sauvignon. These are South Africa's five-star Sauvignon Blanc wines:

Wine of the Year: Unwooded: Steenberg The Black Swan 2017
Wine of the Year: Wooded: Bartho Eksteen Houtskool 2017

Five Star wines:
Steenberg The Black Swan 2017
Bartho Eksteen Houtskool 2017

SEMILLON
Properly written Sémillon. The name mimics the locals of France&rsquos Bordeaux wine region&rsquos pronunciation of Saint-Émilion, the town where Sémillon was first produced. One of the Cape&rsquos true heritage grapes, Sémillon became known as the Groendruif in the 17th century in SA and it accounted for up to 90% of all new grapes planted here in the early 19th century. Here are the top Semillion wines of South Africa:

Wine of the Year: Rickety Bridge Road to Santiago 2016

Five Star wines:
Alheit La Colline 2017
Benguela Cove Catalina 2017
Rickety Bridge Road to Santiago 2016

WHITE BLENDS
Quality white blends are really special because most producers prefer to reserve white grapes only for pure varietals. Interestingly, blending doesn&rsquot originally come from the idea of layering different flavours of wine &ndash like we assume today. Blending actually started long ago as a way of insuring against loss of a crop. If you had two vineyards with different varietals and one of them doesn&rsquot ripen properly, you would blend the two and get a fairly decent wine out of the mix. Today, though, quality white blends are done with absolute precision and purpose. These are South Africa&rsquos best white wine blends:

Wine of the Year: White Blend, Cape Bordeaux: Vergelegen GVB 2015
Wine of the Year: White Blend, Other: Thorne & Daughters Rocking Horse 2017

Five Star wines:
Cape Point Isliedh 2017
Shannon Capall Bán 2015
Vergelegen GVB 2015
Warwick Professor Black 2017
B Vintners Vine Exploration Co Harlem to Hope 2017
Lourens Lindi Carien 2017
Mullineux Old Vines 2017
Rall 2017
Sadie Palladius 2016
Savage 2017
Stark-Condé The Field Blend 2017
Thorne & Daughters Rocking Horse 2017

METHODE CAP CLASSIQUE
Another uniquely South African varietal, MCC refers to sparkling wine made in South Africa using a bottle fermentation process. Also known as the traditional or classical way of making sparkling wine &ndash hence the name.

Wine of the Year: Villiera Monro Brut 2012

Five Star Wines:
Colmant Absolu Zero Dosage NV
Villiera Monro Brut 2012
Woolworths Vintage Reserve Brut 2012

DESSERT WINE, UNFORTIFIED
A large scope to consider, dessert wines can be anything from sparkling &ndash think Semi-Sec/Semi Secco (off-dry) or Dolce (sweet) &ndash all the way to richly sweet wines like Late Harvest, Noble Rot and Eiswein (ice wine). In between are the lightly sweets such as Riesling and sweeter styles of Chenin Blanc. There are also a few sweet reds, such as Lambrusco, Schiava and a range of Late-Harvest reds. These are the best unfortified dessert wines in South Africa:

Wine of the Year: Natural Sweet: Klein Constantia Estate Vin de Constance 2014
Wine of the Year: Noble Late Harvest: Paul Cluver Riesling 2017
Wine of the Year: Vin de Paille: Mullineux Straw Wine 2017
Wine of the Year: Port-Style: Overgaauw Cape Vintage 1998

Five Star wines:
Klein Constantia Estate Vin de Constance 2014
Paul Cluver Riesling 2017
Mullineux Straw Wine 2017
De Krans Cape Vintage Reserve 2016
Overgaauw Cape Vintage 1998

BONUS: BRANDY/HUSK SPIRITS
Boplaas Potstill 20 Years Reserve
Dalla Cia 10 Year Old Celebration Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot Husk Spirit
KWV 10 Year Old Vintage
KWV 12 Year Old Barrel Select
KWV 15 Year Old Alambic
KWV 20 Year Old
KWV Nexus
Oude Meester Souverein
Van Ryn 12 Year Distillers Reserve
Van Ryn 15 Year Fine Cask Reserve
Van Ryn 20 Year Collectors Reserve

WINERIES OF THE YEAR 2019
Every year, Platter's announce the top-performing vineyards for the year. This year, there are three top-tier wineries who receive this coveted accolade.

Newcomer of the Year: Erika Obermeyer Wines
Awarded to the wine producer who debuts on the guide with the highest score. Erika Obermeyer Wines had two Five Stars on their debut.

Top Performing Winery of the Year: Mullineux
Awarded to the wine producer who achieves the most five-star ratings. Mullineux achieved a remarkable four Five Stars plus a Wine of the Year accolade.

Editor's Award: Newton Johnson Vineyards
Editor Philip van Zyl gave his personal commendation of this family venture&rsquos consistently superb quality over a range of styles of wine.

PLATTER&rsquoS 2019 SA WINE GUIDE
&ldquoIt's such a brilliant guide to the best in South African wine, especially if you&rsquore not a wine expert,&rdquo says CapeTownMagazine.com founder Marcus Zandhuis. &ldquoIt&rsquos comprehensive, insightful and useful. You get a clear picture of regions, the different wines and special experiences. You don&rsquot need to visit all the wine farms to find something unique. The guide provides an entry point for a region when you are there, or, for example, helps you to identify and taste only certain varietals in an area and re-discover a region in that way. And if you taste only one varietal for one day, it&rsquos quite significant how your taste and understanding develops.&rdquo

SOUTH AFRICA&rsquoS BEST WINE MADE EASY
It&rsquos everyone&rsquos guide to SA wines. Not an expert, but just want to know enough to decide on where to go over the weekend for a tasting or a glass? This is the guide. Looking for something specific, like wine experiences coupled with a picnic? Find the curated selection in Platter&rsquos.

PLUS: GET THE GUIDE FIRST
Remember that you can have the guide delivered to your office. Use &ldquocapetownmagazine&rdquo when ordering the guide online and you get a 15% discount. When you order, you're also automatically entered to win the exclusive tasting experience with the guide's publisher JP Russouw and us at Tamboers Winkel on 29 November 2018.

Place your order before 25 November to ensure you're in the running to win that tasting experience. Order the 2019 wine guide here.

Look out for the announcement on CapeTownMagazine.com on 5 November. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter. To be the first to know SA&rsquos best wines 2019 make sure you receive our popular newsletter.

Dress in your best to watch the races and party at the Sun Met.

Vote for your favourite vino at a blind wine tasting.

Enjoy seafood and wine in a gorgeous heritage site at Proe Pringle Bay.

From lofts among the trees to a luxurious seven-bedroom villa surrounded by vineyards at Marianne Wine Estate. Plus, if you&rsquore an SA or SADC resident, you get a 20% discount off your stay.

See private art collections and meet the world-famous Pigcasso at Art Franschhoek.

Enjoy a day of Chardonnay at the Elgin Chardonnay Colloquium 2019.

See MJ Lourens and Pierneef cross borders at Land Rewoven at La Motte Museum.

Fabulous fair, sumptuous interiors and fine wine at Tryn at Steenberg.

One of Stellenbosch&rsquos most peaceful, pretty escapes. Have you been to Jordan Wine Estate?

Taste award-winning wines at the home of Chenin Blanc at Ken Forrester Wines.

New place in Stellenbosch: Built on beer and ice-cream: Wingerd Vista.

Vegetarian and vegan fine dining at Grub & Vine&rsquos Veg & Vine.

Drink wine, listen to live music and browse stalls at the Boschendal Friday Night Market.

New: Strictly African food in a unique Mzansi-style at Afrobar & Pitso&rsquos Kitchen.

How about special wine experiences? Have a look at our selection of unique wine tastings around the Western Cape, discover special wine farm trips on the weekend, find new spots to explore in the Cape Winelands and places to have wine and eat out around Cape Town.

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Comments

Tom Mullan on March 20, 2018:

Are very low priced wines even wine? And what are the ingrediants added to make them taste like wine?

Patricia on June 20, 2015:

I tried Vendange Sweet Red tonight and I am disgusted. Has anyone ever read the label? It&aposs not even friggin&apos WINE. It says red wine, WATER, high fructose corn syrup. Need I even say more. WTF? I am disgusted. Waste of money.

Marie on January 09, 2015:

I drank a liter of Vendange Cab last night. No excuses, no apologies. It gave me a nice, mellow buzz and I went through today feeling great. Not even a trace of a hangover.

Whippy on August 22, 2014:

I&aposve read somewhere that the Winking Owl wines are produced by Gallo, but I don&apost know. I like them fine. If you haven&apost tried the Winking Owl Pinot Grigio, you are missing out. It&aposs easily their best white, IMO. For the reds, I prefer their Merlot while I did not like the Shiraz. Hail cheap wine!

Mountain-Gem on April 12, 2014:

I think the Franzia must have changed over the years. I bought a box of White Zin after reading some good reviews and it was almost undrinkable. The worst thing was the next day headache and runs. I remember those from decades ago drinking Red Mountain Vin Rose&apos. Or maybe its just the Zin because I don&apost think anyone else specifically mentioned that one.

After that I tried the Vella WZ and its much, much better. Thanks for the great article.

kenny on November 29, 2013:

I was surprised to hear you mention "Gluhwein". Wondering if you are German? Not many people know about this wine since it is mainly a German tradition. My mom is German and has told me about this wine, though I have never tried it. Now I think I am going to. Could you tell me exactly what the brand name is of the gluhwein you mention above?

kenny on November 25, 2013:

Jackie, how could you back out on the Franzia wines . I think they are delicious, especially the chillable red. I have tried the 4 major boxed brands, Franzia, Peter Vella, Almaden and Carl Rossi (yes he makes boxed wine now also, along with the jug wine.) I found the Franzia to be the best tasting, followed by Peter Vella. The other 2 I didn&apost like so much. Also Franzia has a limited edition white wine which is amazing, it is only available part of the year and is called "Orange blossom white" -very tasty. Also were you aware Frazia does sell their wines in bottles too? They come in 1.5 liter sizes. Just in case some people are "afraid" of the box. :)

KimmyKatt from Freedom, Wisconsin on November 18, 2013:

Can you help me find a very inexpensive boxed wine for the holiday season? And if 8 of their glasses = 6 of your wine glasses, then it&aposd only be 4 glasses the way I pour them..

Mikey on October 08, 2013:

CHeap wine can taste even better if properly aerated. Try using a decanter for a few hours or a wine aerator. www.eWineAerator.com

Roxanne on October 07, 2013:

There is a great place by my house in New Jersey that has inexpensive wines! They are called Shoppers Vineyard. They have a selection of best selling wines under $10! http://www.shoppersvineyard.com/store/pc/Best-Sell.

cuteasabotton on February 19, 2013:

thank you for the list on cheap wine.I have made up my mind on red wine,your list was full of information. On my way to Aldi .

rhoded0gg on February 15, 2013:

I&aposd imagine that the 3 Buck chuck and Winking Owl are the same thing as Trader Joe&aposs and Aldi are the same company. Both wines taste the same and both are great.

TycoonSam from Washington, MI on August 24, 2012:

From one wine lover to another. I&aposve had Winking owl cab, $2 buck(I think now it&aposs $3 buck chuck), and Vendange Cab. In fact my first Vendange was over 22 years ago and it was a Reserve Cab. Not knowing the price back then because A friend brought it over I would have guessed it to be a $30 bottle.

I agree with your recommendations. Cheers!

Stan on May 20, 2012:

Hi i recently had a few drinks of a great red wine. but all i can remember the name was that it had Irish somewhere in the name. Would anyone have any guesses as to what it could be? id really like to find some again.

KatMannel from Midwest, US on April 20, 2012:

Great list! We&aposre in southern Illinois and tend to drink the local wines we can find for reasonable prices. If you&aposre ever in the Carbondale area, Blue Sky Vineyards makes a great blush called Mysterioso that will set you back a whopping $12. We&aposre also veterens of the Aldi German wine section, so I was happy to see someone else enjoying it too. I&aposm definitely going to keep an eye out for Winking Owl. Thanks again!

Pearle on April 11, 2012:

Not afraid to try a cheap wine, I picked up a bottle of Winking Owl White Zen (white zen is one of my favorites for sitting outside on a warm evening). I was disappointed and ended up pouring the entire bottle out, something I don&apost believe I&aposve ever done. It tasted soapy to me. But after reading these reviews I might give another Winking Owl wine a try.

D & B Strong on April 09, 2012:

We love Winking Owl Merlot and the Chardonnay. It&aposs the only wines we buy now.

Harry on April 04, 2012:

Jackie: Great articles, sourcing for wine similar in taste and price of the Winking Owl.. can you recommend .

Jim Higgins from Eugene, Oregon on March 30, 2012:

Many of the wines carried by Trader Joe for a dollar or two more than Charles Shaw are great too. L&aposAuthntiqe for $4.99, and the Old Moon or Old ------------(several labels start with Old) are all pretty good too. Many of the $5.99 are excellent too.

Cassandra on March 09, 2012:

Winking Owl Cab is a delicious value. so glad to see many others also enjoy this Aldi&aposs brand too!

Cameo Meooo on March 07, 2012:

and WHERE IS PETER VELLA WINE?? IT IS SOOOO GOOD---MERLOT AND RED DELICIOUS IS WONDERFUL ///TRY IT!

Austen Casias on March 05, 2012:

Bird&aposs and Bees Sweet Red or Sweet White = Pure heaven )

Steve on February 10, 2012:

I love Franzia Chillable Red! I drink a couple glasses every night. It is perfect because you can drink quite a bit and not get drunk and I never tire of the taste. I&aposll save my snobbery for coffee (Caribou).

Lace on February 09, 2012:

When it comes to cheap wine, or Good wine for that matter, you can&apost get much better than winking owl. Their Cabernet is wonderful. A couple of years ago, a friend of mine and I went into Sherry Lehman in Manhattan and bought the cheapest bottle of wine they had for our little girls night, it was around $30. The wine was good but not really $30 good, when you have a brand-name or a fancy store to push your wine you can charge a lot more. I would suspect if that wine had been on a grocery store shelf it would&aposve cost around seven or eight dollars. Price can be a very deceptive thing when it comes to wine, there are so many factors which are used to determine the price. Another good wine to try if ever you are in Indiana, is Oliver. They have some fantastic Camelot Mead, I have a 2009 Cabernet sitting on the wine rack now waiting for my little parasite to be born so that I can drink it again!

Lisabelle30 on February 02, 2012:

The wine snobs made me LOL: ya think maybe they&aposre a little out of touch with the us commoners? I repeat: LOL.

I love Winking Owl. and Aldi, and am dying to find some Lambusco (is that right?). OK back to my glass of Winking Owl for this evening. thanks for the wine list you gave me some inspiration to try more varieties!

Meow on November 13, 2011:

i just got the winking owl wine and looked for some reviews before trying it. now i can&apost wait to pop it open!

Sandra Q on November 09, 2011:

Our wine rack is stocked strictly with Winking Owl. We go to a lot of wine tastings & drink a lot of wine and nothing compares to Winking Owl. Give me my cheap wine anyday!

Sally on September 25, 2011:

I love the Shiraz and the Merlot from Winking Owl, which I pick up at Aldi&aposs. Loved the article want to try the Gluhweibl, seems like it would be great on Christmas morning! Loved the article:)

MarkAse from San Diego, CA on September 22, 2011:

Jackie-Any chance for a follow up since we&aposre a couple of years in? There&aposs a huge market at these price points. Are you still drinking a lot of $3 wine?



Comments:

  1. Mazuzil

    the answer Faithful

  2. Benedictson

    Quite right! So.



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