Rijk’s Private Cellar in Tulbagh achieved legendary wine status at this year’s Absa Top 10 Pinotage Competition by winning a coveted Top 10 Trophy for the ninth time. Since the institution of the Competition in 1997, only Kanonkop Estate has managed nine wins. The Tulbagh producer, currently under the stewardship of cellarmaster Pierre Wahl, this year collected its fifth Absa Top 10 trophy in a row when receiving the coveted award for the Rijk’s Reserve Pinotage 2010.
At this year’s awards function, held in Stellenbosch on Friday 15 August, well-known Stellenbosch producer Beyerskloof won a seventh Absa Top 10 Trophy with the Diesel Pinotage 2011. Simonsig Estate also proved its consistency as a Pinotage producer of excellence by clinching a sixth Top 10 award for the Redhill Pinotage, from the Stellenbosch stalwart’s 2012 vintage.
The 2014 Absa Top 10 Trophy winners, selected from 115 entries, proved once again that excellent soils and climatic conditions for Pinotage are found throughout the Cape winelands. The region is fast gaining a reputation for producing signature South African wines, which are high quality and also represent high varietal character.
Besides Simonsig and Beyerskloof, Stellenbosch produced two other Absa Top 10 winners, with Spier’s 12 Gables Pinotage 2012 and the Delheim Vera Cruz Estate Pinotage 2012. Wildekrans from Bot River and Diemersdal from Durbanville repeated their Top 10 performances from 2013, this time for the Wildekrans Barrel Select Reserve Pinotage 2012 and the Diemersdal Pinotage Reserve 2013.
Iconic South African brand Bellingham delivered a Top 10 for The Bernard Series Bush Vine Pinotage 2013, while the final two winners were Allée Bleue for its Pinotage 2012 and Windmeul Kelder’s Reserve Pinotage 2013.
Beyers Truter, Chairperson of the SA Pinotage Association, said that since its launch in 1997, the Absa Top 10 Pinotage Competition has become South Africa’s leading showcase for the country’s own grape variety. Congratulating this year’s winners he made special mention of Rijk’s Private Cellar and cellarmaster Pierre Wahl.
“For any cellar, to win nine Absa Top 10 Trophies in 17 years is a monumental achievement,” he said. “Besides having to impress a discerning panel of judges each year, the competition among cellars has increased in intensity over the years.
For a winery such as Rijk’s to therefore keep winning Top 10 awards after its first Trophy in 2001 is an amazing achievement. It not only says a lot about the winemaking team’s commitment to Pinotage and its understanding of the grape’s unique intricacies, but also reflects the importance of established terroir in Rijk’s region.”
Since its inception in 1997, Absa has been the driving force behind the Top 10 Pinotage Competition. Over the years this competition has grown into one of the most popular events within the wine industry, enticing a variety of winemakers to strive to win one of the coveted Pinotage trophies.
“This partnership reflects our long-standing commitment not only to the Pinotage Association but to the South African wine industry as a whole. Our continued involvement with this competition is inspired by our confidence in the new generation of South African winemakers who are working hard to increase the prestige and sophistication of wines produced in South Africa. Hearty congratulations to Rijk’s Private Cellar on winning this prestigious award and to the producers that earned Absa Top 10 status,” said Craig Bond, Chief Executive of Retail and Business Banking at Barclays Africa.
According to Truter, South Africa’s wine landscape is changing at a rapid pace as producers seek new winegrowing regions and wine styles. “In this shifting modern environment, it is wonderful to witness the increasing interest in Pinotage, as well as the enthusiasm and excitement surrounding the Absa Top 10, undoubtedly one of the country’s premier wine competitions.”
“A Top 10 award remains a milestone for every winemaker and the enthusiasm with which it is sought continues to play a major role in the increasing quality of South African Pinotage.”
The full list of this year’s Top 10 winners is as follows:
Allée Bleue 2012 Allée Bleue Pinotage
Bellingham 2013 Bellingham The Bernard Series Bush Vine Pinotage
Beyerskloof 2011 Beyerskloof Diesel Pinotage
Delheim 2012 Delheim Vera Cruz Estate Pinotage
Diemersdal Estate 2013 Diemersdal Pinotage Reserve
Rijk's Private Cellar 2010 Rijk's Reserve Pinotage
Simonsig Estate 2012 Simonsig Redhill Pinotage
Spier 2012 Spier 21 Gables Pinotage
Wildekrans Wine Estate 2012 Wildekrans Pinotage Barrel Select Reserve
Windmeul Kelder 2013 Windmeul Pinotage Reserve
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