Cape wines bring home local and international awards

Posted on 30 July 2021 By Anita Froneman

By Lorraine Kearney

While we were in lockdown, a slew of the Cape Winelands’ finest racked up awards. There were the Shiraz SA awards, held virtually; the 18th Decanter World Wine Awards, a global competition with judges from around the world; and the Gilbert & Gaillard International Challenge in France.

The Shiraz SA awards showcase the diverse styles and best wines produced locally from this grape variety.

The Decanter World Wine Awards is the world’s largest and most influential wine competition. A record number of more than 18 000 wines from 56 countries were tasted blind by a panel of 170 expert wine judges including UK Masters of Wine and Master Sommeliers.

Gilbert & Gaillard is the publisher of an online guide to wine in France and 22 other countries, making it an important benchmark for wineries.

Shiraz SA

Roodeberg’s top tier red, Dr Charles Niehaus, named for Roodeberg’s founder, was named a Top Three champion, alongside Anura SMG Reserve 2018 and Stellenzicht Acheulean Red 2018.

Fruit purity and complexity are the crux of this Roodeberg, which has evolved since its maiden vintage in 2010 into a master blend. The award winning 2018 vintage is a blend of Shiraz (41%), Cabernet Sauvignon (27%), Cabernet Franc (12%), Petite Syrah (12%) and Malbec (8%).

A wine of depth and great fruit concentration, it offers aromatic layers of blackcurrant, mulberries and plum enlivened by hints of violets, leading to an intense and lasting finish.

As in 2020, the category for rosé drew only a few entries with the three finalist wines all from the 2021 vintage. Villion Family Wines Rosa Rabbedoe Rosé 2021 was named the winner with Lyngrove Collection Shiraz Rosé and Saronsberg Shiraz Rosé the runners-up.

Decanter World Wine Awards

Constantia Glen won big at the London-based awards. Its Five, the flagship red from the estate’s standout 2017 vintage, received a Platinum award and a score of 97/100 points.

Crafted from all five Bordeaux red grape varieties thriving in Constantia Glen’s unique micro-climate and undulating vineyards, the 2017 vintage is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (32%), Merlot (24%), Cabernet Franc (17%), Petit Verdot (17%) and Malbec (10%). Great richness, texture, aromatic purity, and persistent, fine-grained tannins are the hallmark of the 2017 vintage.

Stellenbosch’s Tokara entered five wines into the 2021 Decanter World Wine Awards, coming home with two gold medals. All five wines broke the 90 point barrier. The two gold medallists are the Reserve Collection Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 with a score of 96/100 and the Director’s Reserve White 2018 notching up 95 points.

Tokara Reserve Collection Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 is a consummate wine showing consistency vintage after vintage. It is a true expression of the prized vineyard blocks on the slopes of the Simonsberg. It shows classic graphite notes and briary fruits interwoven with five spice and the faintest hint of dried porcini. Expect a mouthful of dark cherry, red currant and fynbos scrub.

The soon-to-be-released Tokara Director’s Reserve White 2018 is a Bordeaux-style blend of Sauvignon Blanc (63%) and Semillon (37%) grown on the highest slopes of Tokara’s Stellenbosch property. It is barrel fermented and you can expect notes of gooseberry and pink grapefruit intertwined with hints of lemon grass and lightly toasted almonds.

The other Tokara wines that excelled are the Elgin Sauvignon Blanc 2020 (93), the Director’s Reserve Red 2018 (92) and Tokara Blanc de Blancs Cap Classique 2013 (92).

Steenberg Semillon also played well at the 2021 Decanter World Wine Awards. A pure expression of Steenberg terroir, it scored 92 points, earning a silver medal.

“A richly textured wine. Cool green fruits mix with sandalwood and a floral note and a grassy, tangy finish,” is how the Decanter judges describe this New World, cool climate Semillon from the Constantia Valley.

Gilbert & Gaillard Challenge

Bonnievale Wines notched up two gold medals at the Gilbert & Gaillard International Challenge, with its The River Collection Sauvignon Blanc 2021 and Bonnievale Limited Release Cabernet Sauvignon 2019.

“It’s always gratifying to get recognition in awards programmes because they recognise the efforts of everyone involved in the realisation of fine wine and the excellence across the portfolio,” says winemaker Marthinus Rademeyer.

The panel described The River Collection Sauvignon Blanc 2021 as “clean, crisp and refreshing”. Released just months ago, it is medium-bodied and a dry yet fruity white wine that partners well with seafood, including sushi.

In awarding gold to the Bonnievale Limited Release Cabernet Sauvignon 2019, the judges said the wine was drinking “very well now”, which would continue to improve with age. This is the third vintage of the wine, which will be officially released later this year.

And finally, Tokara celebrated the 50th anniversary of Cap Classique with a double gold medal awarded in France for the new 2013 Blanc de Blancs vintage.

It received 93/100 points at the Gilbert & Gaillard International Challenge, held annually by one of France’s leading wine guides.

The third offering of this Méthode Cap Classique was crafted entirely from Tokara’s outstanding cool climate Chardonnay vineyard in Elgin. The base wine of the elegant vintage is barrel matured for eight months followed by seven years on the lees in the bottle to develop richness and finesse.

The mousse is fine and consistent, enlivened by aromas of lightly toasted almonds, lemon preserve and a hint of fresh green apple.

“The finest of bubblies, the palate is a wonderful interplay between silky fluidity, crystalline acidity and fine mousse. It is incredibly moreish and will leave you yearning for another sip,” says winemaker Stuart Botha.

Look out for the unusual bottle.


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