27 August 2016

2016 Winners- Pinotage Top 10 Competition

The 10 winners of the 2016 Absa Pinotage Top 10 Competition are
  • 2015 Diemersdal Pinotage Reserve
  • 2014 Flagstone Writers Block Pinotage
  • 2014 Fleur du Cap Pinotage Unfiltered
  • 2010 Kanonkop Estate Pinotage
  • 2015 Knorhoek Two Cubs Pinotage
  • 2013 KWV The Mentors Pinotage
  • 2014 L’Avenir Single Block Pinotage
  • 2014 Perdeberg The Dry Land Collection Pinotage
  • 2013 Rijk’s Reserve Pinotage
  • 2015 Rooiberg Winery Reserve Pinotage

It's the 11th win for both Kanonkop and Rijks!

The awards function was held last night,26 August at the Cavalli Estate outside Stellenbosch. 144 wines entered this years competition, the 20th.

for the event, which was the 20th time South Africa’s leading cultivar-focussed wine competition was held.

Beyers Truter, chairman of the Pinotage Association, said that two features stood out from this year’s competition: the milestones reached by Kanonkop and Rijk’s and the performance of wines made from the 2014 vintage which produced four winners. “The vintage was late and cool, with a very wet pre-season and produced a relatively light crop,”  said Beyers. “However, the wines from that year are now showing the quality and refined elegance to take Top 10 trophies, showing us how exceptional the vintage actually was. Consumers can definitely tick off 2014 as a must-have year for red wine."

“When the Pinotage Association founded the Absa Top 10 Competition in 1997, we had a vision of not only honouring Pinotage wines but also to create legends,” said Truter. “By winning Top 10 awards eleven times, Kanonkop and Rijk’s have now undoubtedly established themselves not only as legendary producers of Pinotage, but icons in the South African wine industry, too.”

“As a producer myself I know how high the demands of the judging panel are, and to show the kind of consistency Kanonkop and Rijk’s have done throughout the years is an affirmation of the winemaker’s understanding of his terroir, the unique traits of the Pinotage grape and tremendous winemaking skill.”

This year’s judges were Neil Ellis (convenor), Johann Fourie (winemaker for KWV), Stephan Joubert (DGB viticulturist), Francois Rautenbach (Singita wine and beverage director)  and  Samarie Smith (wine writer). Two winemaking students joined the panel as protégés. Kayleigh Hattingh and Tim Whitfield from Stellenbosch University and the Elsenburg Agricultural College respectively participated in the full tasting, but their scores were not counted.

Neil Ellis said that the panel was not restricted to awarding a certain style of Pinotage. “My brief to the judges was to be objective in acknowledging diversity in styles found within the range of Pinotages entered and they really took this to heart. This year we saw many more examples where winemakers are not simply trying to follow the tried-and-tested methods used by icon wines from one or two specific regions. More Pinotages are made in styles that best suits the unique characteristics the winemakers are getting from grapes in their own areas.

“This progression is welcomed, but expected as Pinotage producers count among South Africa’s leading and most visionary winemakers today. Overall there appears to be a better understanding of the grape. Extraction is well-managed, leading to brighter fruit expression and more balanced wines.”

Speaking on behalf of the sponsors, Doug Walker, Absa’s Provincial Managing Executive in the Western Cape, says:  “On behalf of Absa, I would like to extend my heartfelt congratulations to this year’s outstanding finalists and winners in the Absa Top 10 Pinotage competition, especially Kanonkop and Rijk’s Cellars for once again re-writing the history books. We wish all the trophy winners and finalists great success on their winemaking journey and hope they continue to prosper in local and international wine markets.”

“At Absa we are proud of our partnership with the Pinotage Association, now in its 20th consecutive year, as we continue to promote uniquely South African wines made from Pinotage grapes. The Absa Top 10 Pinotage competition has become an important platform for the recognition of excellence in the wine-making industry.”

Congratulations to all.

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