ROBIN VON HOLDT REVIEWS DOUBLE GOLD AWARDS FOR THE NATIONAL WINE CHALLENGE (NWC) 2019:
“The Double Gold Award at the National Wine Challenge is a very important category of winners. We find this even more in this year’s results, than in previous results. Double Gold winning wines are particularly fine examples of their cultivar or blend category. The record numbers of entered wines this year and their typical high quality, has simply upped the game yet again for 2019. The winning wines reflect regional character and most show a sense of place. The Double Gold portfolios of winning wines are balanced, complex examples, and they offer wine-lovers immense enjoyment. The quality is such that not only are they tremendously enjoyable in the short term, but they will also reward cellaring in the medium term.
With only 127 wines gaining this prestigious Double Gold Award, it was an even smaller percentage of all the fine wine entries received than in prior years and well within international guidelines.
Our congratulations go to each and every winemaker and cellar team who achieved this terrifically high recognition for their fine wine. Well done, it is a great achievement and something to feel tremendously positive about! Wine lovers are going to be very happy indeed buying and drinking your wines.”
Significant Double Gold Award winners include the following wineries:
Alvis Drift (8)
Stellenbosch Vineyards (5)
Groot Constantia (4)
Rainbows End Wine Estate (4)
Vrede en Lust (4)
Allée Bleue Wines (3)
Klein Constantia (3)
La Couronne (3)
Oak Valley (3)
Ultra Liquors (3)
2 wins each: Boplaas, Cederberg, Diemersfontein, Edgbaston, Eikendal, Graham Beck, Lammershoek, Leipzig, Meinert Wines, Nicholson Smith, Nitida, Orange River Cellars, Perderberg Winery, Rickety Bridge, Spier, Starke Conde, Strydom Vineyards, uniWines Vineyards
WINNERS SHARE THEIR COMMENTS:
Alvis Drift (8)
Junel Van Der Merwe (nee Vermeulen) CWM: “We are humbled by the recognition of so many of our wines at such a prestigious challenge. 8 Double Golds and 4 Double Silver awards is an incredible achievement for our team and testimony to the dedication of Alvi’s Drift to produce wines of the highest quality for everyone – wherever they find themselves in the great adventure of wine enjoyment.”
Stephan Joubert, DGB Group Head Winemaker: “With six Double Gold Awards and five Double Silver Awards, I feel honored to have our wines achieve at such a prestigious wine show, and I am proud of the Winemaking and viticulture teams for all the hard work and dedication that they put in to make this achievement possible. From the ground level up DGB has been investing and put much time and effort into the quality of our products, and it is especially wonderful for me to see these fruits come to bear.”
Stellenbosch Vineyards (5)
Bernard Claassen, Senior Winemaker: “Five Double Gold Awards and four Double Silver Awards From the vine to the bottle, our team ensures that only the best quality is offered to our customers and the recognition received through these awards are of great value to our entire team.”
Groot Constantia (4)
Floricius Beukes, Viticulturist and Estate Manager: “Four Double Gold Award and two Double Silver Awards. Groot Constantia is an amazingly versatile property with diverse terroirs. Great variation in altitude, slopes and soil types on the Estategives us the ability to produce world class wines over a range of varieties and styles. This fact is being confirmed by our latest awards from the Top 100 Wine Challenge.”
Rainbows End Wine Estate (4)
Anton Malan, Winemaker: “As a small family owned boutique farm we are proud to have all four our entered wines achieve a Double Gold. These results show a consistency in quality on all the varietals planted on the estate.”
Vrede en Lust (4)
Karlin Nel: Winemaker: “Double Gold awards for Viognier 2018, Boet Erasmus 2015, Barrique 2017, Cotes de Savoye 2017, as well as Double Silver awards for Anni Sauvigon Blanc 2018 and Marguerite Chardonnay 2017 … This is an exciting milestone achievement, both personally and for the winery. We are focused on attention to detail and producing clean, expressive wines. I’m super proud of the whole team, and their commitments to the production of these wines. Cheers to a great season for Vrede en Lust at the NWC 2019!"
Allée Bleue Wines (3)
Van Zyl du Toit, Winemaker: “It is with great joy and excitement that we accept our most recent awards from the judges and team at the NWC. Four Double Golds, plus a Double Silver Award! It is really a feather in our cap to see how extremely well our wines did in this year. But our greatest achievement lies in the fact that this builds on previous successes in this competition and what we take from that is a level of consistency that I`m sure will help to build and strengthen our brand even more. The part that the NWC plays in this is definitely not overlooked.”
Marina Laubser – Assistant winemaker: "The Candide, which is a blend of all four white varieties grown on Babylonstoren, is new to our range. We are delighted that it shares Double Gold with the Viognier and with the Sprankel, our MCC. Each of these three wines brings something unique to the table. We are humbled by the ongoing successes of these wines.”
Suzanne Venter – Sales Manager: “Three Double Gold Award and three Double Silver awards – The consistency and diversity of our innovative range is a great help for me on the sales front. We always have something different to offer the customer and I’m always guaranteed of the quality.”
Gary Jordan, Proprietor: “Consistent quality across vintages and varietals is what we strive for at Jordan Wine Estate. We are delighted to have won three Double Gold /Top 100 wines this year for the 2018 Jordan Chardonnay ‘Barrel Fermented’, the 2017 Jordan ‘Nine Yards’ Chardonnay and the 2017 Jordan ‘The Outlier’ Sauvignon Blanc. The 2018 Jordan Cold Fact Sauvignon Blanc, 2018 Jordan Inspector Péringuey Chenin Blanc and the 2016 Jordan ‘The Prospector’ Syrah all received double silver awards. These are all wines that are the ultimate Synergy between Soul and Soil.”
La Couronne (3)
Juan Du Toit, Marketing and Sales Manager: “We are extremely proud of our Wine Maker and his team. Receiving three Double Gold and one Double Silver award truly shows the passion and commitment in our wine cellar. These awards show our hard work and we are thankful to be recognised for our efforts”.
Oak Valley (3)
Hannes Spangenberg, Marketing Manager: “We are extremely honoured to have three of our wines receive Double Gold awards. The high altitude and cool climate of Oak Valley is what give these wines their character and depth, and truly reflects the place where the grapes are grown.”
Ultra Liquors (3)
Mark Norrish - Ultra Liquors Wine GM: “Sshhh ... share the Secret. In these tough economic times, Ultra Liquors is thrilled that our range of wines constantly win Medals. We are totally committed to our mantra of selling wines that are, ‘High on quality, Low on pocket’. Following the many, many awards that have been received, we have always delivered on our promise.”
Denise Johnson, Proprietor: “We are delighted to be the recipient of 3 double gold and 2 double silver awards as an important benchmark for measuring our progress and an indication that our continuous efforts to produce exceptional quality wines are paying off.”
Carel Nel, Proprietor: “Our winemaker, Margaux Nel, did her MSC in Touriga Nacional and Margaux and I have visited the Douro more than 12 times to fine tune the production of these fine wines. We also specialise in Portuguese grape varietals for blended and single cultivar red table wines. The Gamka and Ring of Rocks are world class red wines with rich black fruit, ripe tannins, firm acidity and well balanced alcohol. Can age for 20 years.”
David Nieuwoudt, winemaker & owner: GC Sauv’18 – "Picking the grapes in Elim and bringing the product to Cederberg, makes every drop worthwhile. We do believe that both The Bowline and the Sauvignon Blanc is an indication of what wines from Elim should taste like. The 2015 and 2016 vintages should be in your glass right now. For the people that like older whites – The Bowline should be your SA wine of choice!"
Pieter van der Merwe, Winemaker: “The team in the cellar at Edgebaston are thrilled and excited to have been awarded these Double Gold awards for our Chardonnay and Pinot Noir at the Top 100 NWC . These are wines we have always had a passion to make and the reward is truly fulfilling!”
Nico Grobler, Cellar Master: “Two Double Golds and a Double Silver! These awards really show the consistency through the whole Eikendal range of wines. I am looking forward to seeing these wines age and improve even more. The fact that it is a world class panel of judges, a stamp of approval has already been given.”
Graham Beck (2)
Pierre de Klerk, Graham Beck Winemaker: “We’re elated! The wins in this year's National Wine Challenge/ Top 100 2019; namely our Graham Beck Blanc de Blancs 2014 and Graham Beck Brut NV both receiving Double Gold Awards and the Graham Beck Pinot Noir Rosé 2013 which walked home with a Double Silver Award, clearly demonstrate that our decision to focus all our passion on producing world class Cap Classique sparkling wines shines through in the wines themselves."
Dr Francois and Lida Smit, Owners: “The ‘Grand Master 2017’ of Leipzig’s red blends is a combination of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Cabernet Franc & Petit Verdot. Abundant flavor of blackcurrant and dark plums on the nose and palate. A truly bespoke blend deserving of the name ‘Grand Master’. Grapes sourced from selected vineyards in the Stellenbosch and Swartland areas. White Leipzig 2018, Our flagship white wine is a wine that evokes history. First produced in the 1940’s as a revolutionary new concept in winemaking and once sipped on by royalty, there is a story to every bottle. Today this is the flagship white wine of our cellar and is a perfect fusion of carefully sourced Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc & Viognier. A flowery nose is followed by wonderful forward green apple flavours. The palate is settled with notes of butter, citrus and caramel.”
Meinert Wines (2)
Brendan Butler, CWM and winemaker: “Gold – It is rewarding to see our committed efforts in our vineyards and cellar yield positive results, and with new and exciting ventures on the horizon for Meinert Wines, it’s exciting times ahead.”
Nicholson Smith (2)
Jason Neal, owner: “What a true honour it is to have Adens star the golden fleece 2016 and 2017 both winning double gold. It reassures everyone involved in this special wine that we are on the correct path. In such an esteemed field of other wines it is truly humbling to be amongst the winner.”
Daniel Keulder, Winemaker: “Nitida prides itself on attention to detail and best expression of our unique terroir. To have received two Double Golds and a Double Silver award, on top of two Top 100 wines, is a great pat on the back for the guys putting in the long hours in the vineyards and cellar!”
Orange River Cellars (2)
Rianco van Rooyen, senior wine maker: “Extremely satisfied with our two Double Gold medals would be putting it lightly! We are well known for our Colombard with intense guava and passion fruit aromas. It was decided to bottle a more restrained and drier version and the vision behind the project seems to have paid off! Once again our fortified wines did not disappoint with our White Muscadel also achieving Double Gold."
Perderberg Winery (2)
Albertus Louw, Head of Wine Production: “Two Double Gold and Four Double Silver Awards … Bagging a host of accolades is very satisfying! Naturally to achieve across the spectrum of our wines suggests well integrated teamwork and communication, from vineyard to bottle. The influence of unirrigated vineyards is clear, under extreme conditions mother nature produces her best fruit!”
Kobus Burger, CEO and Winemaker: “Hard work, dedication and consistency are the three most important contributing factors that has lead up to this fine moment! Both the JMB Cabernet Franc 2014 and JMB Chardonnay 2018 have promised exceptional quality since their early days in the vineyard and having it commemorated now, makes all the hard work and perseverance worthwhile. It is a great honour to receive double gold for these fine wines and we hope to do it again next year!”
Rickety Bridge (2)
Donovan Ackerman, Cellar Master: “Foundation Stone Red 2015; This is a wine for any occasion, it’s a blend of Shiraz, Grenache Noir, Cinsault, Tannat and Mourvedre. Fruit driven with hints of black pepper spice on the nose, very elegant and smooth on the palate. Printers Devil White 2017; Our white Bordeaux blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon is a very complex wine. It is a food wine which goes very well with spicy curries and smoked salmon."
Frans Smit – Spier Cellar Master: “We’re particularly thrilled that our two new Seaward wines, which were only released in May, have both achieved Double Gold Awards – an amazing accolade for this new release! We thank the judges and encourage wine lovers to try our new coastal wines along with our six Double Silver winners.”
Starke Conde (2)
Rudger van Wyk, winemaker: “We can all agree that South Africa is producing wines which are increasingly exciting, complex, and diverse in style, so it is an honour to be awarded a Double Gold in a field where the bar is set so high.”
Strydom Vineyards (2)
Rianie Strydom Owner / Winemaker (pictured left): “As this is the first time that I have entered this competition I am super delighted to have received double gold for both the wines entered. Being recognised in different competitions shows the consistency in quality that I am seeking in my wines.”
Avontuur Estate (1)
Jan van Rooyen, Winemaker: “Receiving a Double Gold and Double Silver for these wine from the 2016 vintage is simply awesome. It proves that Helderberg, Stellenbosch is such a prime spot for growing great red wines from Cab Sauvignon and Merlot varieties. Enjoy the power and elegance of the Cabernet, a wine that will develop and last for many years after bottling. The Cab/Merlot is made to be enjoyed from the release date, but can be matured for another 5+ years.”
Cape Wine Company (1)
Delaille Raubenheimer, National Sales and Marketing Manager: “We are very happy to see our Erasmus Chenin 2017 awarded with a Double Gold – grapes sourced from older vines in the Swartland, this wine shows a beautiful balance of concentration, richness and lifting acidity. We are also very chuffed to see our JUNO Grenache Rose 2018 awarded Double Silver – showing once again the exceptional value of this wine.”
De Krans (1)
Boets Nel, MD : "This is great news, after winning some wonderful accolades at other wine competitions for the Tritonia Red Calitzdorp Blend, a dry red wine so unique to our area."
De Wet Cellars (1)
Tertius Jonck, Winemaker/Manager: “Receiving a double gold for our newly launched 2016 Cravate MCC is a very satisfying feeling and it puts a cherry on the cake for the hard work that went into all the stages of making MCC!”
De Wetshof (1)
CEO Johann de Wet: “It is great to see our Finesse 2018 still garnering awards as it was one of the first wines produced on De Wetshof and is still going strong after all these years. Of the Double Silvers, once again De Wetshof has underscored its reputation for unwooded Chardonnays, a category that is currently growing among the consumer.”
Ken Forresters (1)
Proprietor Ken Forrester: “The FMC: This wine tells the story of a vineyard planted in 1974 on the Stellenbosch, Helderberg property then known as Scholtzenhof (now Ken Forrester Vineyards). It’s a low bush vine vineyard in sandy soils with gravel (koffieklip) below. We harvest multiple times using NDVI technology to confirm the variations in the vineyard and all the wine is fermented on wild yeasts in 400 litre French barrels. After approx 1 year in Barrel we assemble the wine with selection of the best barrels from each parcel (separately hand-picked) and for good measure we do no analysis until the final blend is decided on. This is the FMC, a wine for early drinking if you wish but it gains massive complexity with age and will keep for 20 years”.
La Motte (1)
Edmund Terblanche, La Motte Cellarmaster: “This recognition for the 2017 La Motte Chardonnay reaffirms the Franschhoek Valley’s affinity for this variety. Grapes originate from a single site on the estate and the winemaking team focus on capturing the unique character of the specific vintage, while maintaining the elegance associated with La Motte Chardonnay."
Leon Bester (Winemaker); Hanlie Schönborn (Assistant Winemaker): “The Double Gold for our Lion Creek Chenin Blanc Sauvignon Blanc 2018 as well as 5 double silver awards for our wine portfolio again just confirms the consistency of Napier wines. We are extremely proud of these accolades, rewarding us for all the passion, hard work and dedication of our team."
Painted Wolf (1)
Jeremy Borg- Winemaker: “Our Double Gold and three Double Silver successes are a testament to the various growers supplying grapes for Painted Wolf and friends from whom we buy finished wine to blend with ours. Thank-you Madre from Leeuwenkuil for all of your help in the cellar. A true pack effort; both making fantastic wines, as well as funding conservation.”
Paul Wallace Wines (1)
Paul and Nicky Wallace, Proprietors: “We are thrilled that each of our entries, and in particular our 2016 Crackerjack Bordeaux-styled blend which has been awarded a Double Gold, have garnered awards in this prestigious NWC/Top 100 SA Wines Competition. The cool climate of Elgin offers the opportunity for terroir specific wines to express and be recognised for their purity of fruit and absolute elegance.”
Piet Dreyer, owner: “This is MY wine, the one I set out to produce when I planted the vineyard and built the celler. I think the vineyard manager, his workforce and the winemaker are doing a very good job in making this fabulous wine which deserves its top 100 position."
Rosendal Winery (1)
Therese de Beer, Winemaker: "A Double Gold Award just proves again that our clients know best. Rosendal Merlot has consistently been our bestseller over the years."
Stellenbosch Hills (1)
James Ochse, Winemaker: “Our flagship, limited-edition 1707 Reserve White is a wine that consistently amasses top-level ratings for our winery. Our latest Double Gold achievement at the 2019 National Wine Challenge/Top 100 SA Wines attests this sublime Chardonnay-led blend’s consistency of excellence. It truly is a fitting ambassador of the sublime terroir of the Stellenbosch Kloof area, known for its ideal climate and fertile soils.”
The Wine Thief (1)
Ewan Mackenzie, Producer & Owner: "It's always very much a challenge to marry the look and feel of either a label or a brand and what's actually inside the bottle, especially when tasting is done completely blind, and as a producer/Sommelier you aren't allowed to tell the story directly to the taster. It is a great honour to receive such positive feedback from such an esteemed panel of judges. Cheers!"
Cellar Master, Jeff Grier: "Awards, especially at the NWC / T100, are satisfying and the Double Gold for “The Clan”, our flagship red, justifies the faith we had in it. The Double Silvers were awarded to regular award winners, but the reassurance provides our customers and sales team the confidence they need.”
Friedrich Kuhne, wine maker: “Our Double Gold Grenache Noir is normally destined for blending but when I saw the exceptional quality of this vintage in barrel, I just knew that I had to do single cultivar bottling of this top niche variety and show this wine to the world. The Double Silver Cinsault is equally high quality. ”
Ginette de Fleuriot CWM:
“The National Wine Challenge judging is certainly demanding, given that judges taste over 100 wines per day. However the quality of the judges and the smooth-running of the logistics behind the scenes makes each yearly event an enjoyable one. Most importantly, the absolute focus on objective judging remains the critical ingredient. The local and international experience of the two teams and their willingness to enter into robust debate where necessary, is a great strength of this competition. By way of an example, faced with a line-up of Chenin Blancs, we discussed the merits of different styles in an attempt to keep our own stylistic preferences out of the way and in so doing, I believe, we reached a fair and satisfying set of results. Amongst the highlights was the Cape Red Blend category – good fruit expression with structure and more poise than expected. These wines showed the strength of blending and the wonderful role that Pinotage can play in a blend. Shiraz too - one of South Africa’s strongest categories. One that winemakers can express a diverse range of styles. The best have fruit purity, offer complexity, weight and balance, without being over-extracted. Thankfully less and less are over-oaked. A fabulous flight!
And don’t disregard the unusual varietal whites - an interesting, vibrant and sometimes esoteric line-up of wine. Showing great future potential but focus needs to remain quality based. In quite a few cases, fantastic examples of Riesling, Viognier and Verdelho. Unusual red wines too – they were pleasurable drinking with some rising stars amongst them. Altogether a stellar performance from a diverse, exciting and very well made collection of great SA wines!”
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