The much anticipated winning wines from South Africa’s Top 100 Wine Challenge were announced last night. Top winemakers, vineyard representatives, farm owners and their partners celebrated in customary style with a jazz band, canapés and the awards certification ceremony. The party at Rodwell House, St James, really took off when all 100 winning wines were unveiled and tasted.
Record entry levels were up 15% on last year. From 440 of SA’s top wines entered, winning wines included three Cap Classique wines, four Natural Sweet wines, five Port Style and Fortified wines, twenty seven White wines and sixty one Red wines.
Tim Atkin MW judging chairman quotes: ‘Top 100 has established itself as a permanent part of the Cape wine scene in the space of only three years. I am proud of what the event has achieved in terms of organisation, recognition and, of course, the quality of the wines. This year’s selection is the best yet.’
David Nieuwoudt from renowned Cederberg Private Cellar shares: ‘With five winning wines this year, the quality of our vineyard sites, our focused and committed team and our viticulture practices speak for themselves. We are delighted at the consistency with which our wines are regarded by such renowned international judges. The powerful Top 100 SA Wines brand, its digital strategy and ever-growing multicountry footprint suits our success at effective distribution, as well as our ongoing growth ambitions.’
Paul Cluver, MD of the eponymous Paul Cluver Vineyards offered: ‘We are humbled by this wonderful achievement. It is great recognition for the hard work of the Cluver team who is passionate and dedicated to produce the best possible wine from this amazing property in Elgin. Congratulations to our fellow wine producers who have also done so well.’
Dewaldt Heyns from acclaimed Saronsberg comments: ‘It is an honour to be associated with Top 100 SA Wines. With four winning wines we are ecstatic that Saronsberg’s wines have been able to keep up their consistent performance. The judging methodology used and world class judges set this competition apart. The results are an endorsement of the quality that South African wines offer the consumer as expressed in a multitude of terroir variations and wine styles.’
Boela Gerber from renowned Groot Constantia’s was pleased: ‘I’m usually quite sceptical about wine competitions and the whole concept of wine judging. The Top 100 wine team has gone to extremes to limit any flaws, with arguably one of the best possible panels of judges consisting mainly of UK Masters of Wine, headed by renowned Tim Atkin. Pithy methodology and attention to detail including serving temperature, decanting of wine and tasting all the wines at least twice, ensure that the result is a true reflection of the top 100 SA wines. Taking the above into account, the fact that entry levels are increasing and therefore becoming a top 100 winner is getting tougher every year, we are extremely proud to have four wines selected for the Top 100 list this year.’
Fairview owner Charles Back says: ‘As with many other winemakers, we usually shoot down competitions other than those we do well at. So I was delighted to enter The Top 100 SA Wine Challenge with its international panel – I have always valued Tim Atkins’ opinion. Our success at this and other recent competitions is evidence of our continued investment in new vineyard sites, innovation and our people. We always feel that we can do better and are constantly striving to improve our wines.’
Higgo Jacobs, tasting director, reflects: ‘We remain steadfast in our aim to set the standard for tasting protocol and ultimate respect for entries. Once again all wines were decanted this year, with a decanted and recently opened pouring of each entry presented to judges for evaluation. Although having received record entries, the highest in the three years of the challenge, this year ran very smoothly. There were higher average scores across all categories. We had the most unusual result where a perfect 100 wines received panel scores above cut-off. This is unlikely to happen again soon!’
View the judging week images here
Consistency Rankings for Top 100 winning vineyards over the past three years’ Challenges yield interesting results. Cederberg has fourteen winning wines with Saronsberg having achieved thirteen wins. Paul Cluver now has nine winning wines, Simonsig enjoy eight and Groot Constantia and Jordan both have seven winning wines to their credit.
Best Value Awards remain a great consumer benefit. These are awarded to Top 100 winning wines with a RRP of ≤ R90 for red wines, fortified and bubblies and ≤ R70 for white wines. Bringing the price so low restricted the number of possible winners. A total of 7 Best Value awards were granted this year.
Overall, 27 white wines gained entry this year, with 9 Sauvignon Blanc winners making it the biggest white winner by category. Red wines gained 61 winners. Red Bordeaux was the biggest category by some margin with 19 winners, followed by Shiraz with 10 winning wines. A positive reflection on Pinot Noir quality is that there were 6 winning wines, not only from Elgin and Hemel en Aarde. Both Chenin Blanc and Chardonnay struggled somewhat this year, each gaining 4 wines onto the winner’s podium.
Robin von Holdt shared his enthusiasm: ‘It is hugely gratifying to partner with and grow our international brand of fine SA wines, together with the leaders in our dynamic wine industry. We share common, tangible, commercial interests that drive our forward thinking activity to promote and encourage buying SA’s finest wines in key markets. The team and I are thrilled at the level of support we have gained from vineyards that are founder stakeholders in our exciting venture these past three years. We are also terrifically excited at the level of new support from first time entries from highly regarded vineyards. The only downside is that it is an extremely competitive event, with the result that it is very hard to gain entry onto the final Top 100 list. It will only get harder. Our brand, international event presence, marketing actions and overall growth are at the fore of ‘brand SA fine wine’. We lead in all of the actions that we set out to achieve. The Top 100 team are totally committed to the future and market share growth of SA’s fine wines.’
Lynne Sherriff MW, past Chairman, Masters of Wine Institute: ‘To draw upon the experience and knowledge of internationally renowned Masters of Wine as judges is a clear commitment to rigour and quality.’
Brand Top 100 is already recognised as a leading consumer label both in SA and abroad. It enjoys massive Google ratings with front page ranking in all key searches, and a high-growth international digital footprint. This is tremendously useful for winning vineyards, helping them win bigger shares of brand and sales in the global market.
For a full list of winning wines please click this link
For a full summary of statistics please click this link
Top 100 SA Wines is pleased to announce the following tasting party fun events for wine lovers:
‘ROCKING WITH ROYALTY’. Doors open from 17h45 to 20h30
JO’BURG - Friday 10th May, Hilton Hotel
CAPE TOWN - Thursday 16th May, Hilton Upper Eastside
DURBAN - Friday 24th May, Hilton Hotel
Canapés * cool prizes * chill zone * coffee bar * dinner option
These offer the opportunity to taste the 100 winning wines in style and comfort with attendant wine makers. To purchase tickets visit www.webtickets.co.za Tickets are limited. Please book early.
Book launch – Top 100 SA Wines & Wine Lists 2013/14, available from Friday 19th April
For further information please contact email@example.com