The much anticipated winning wines have been announced. Top wineries, their wine makers and partners celebrated with enjoyment that included a jazz band, canapés and the awards certification ceremony. The upbeat mood swung a notch higher, when all 100 winning wines were unveiled and tasted by invitees.
Record entry levels were again strongly up on last year with 491 of SA’s top wines entered. Winning wines included six Cap Classique wines (3 in 2013), eight Natural Sweets wines, Port Style and Fortified wines (9).
White wines enjoyed a total listing of thirty four winners (27 in 2013) with nine Chardonnay wines leading the field. Chenin Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc both enjoyed six winning slots.
Red wines enjoyed fifty two podium slots with Shiraz leading the pack with a most credible fifteen victories. Bordeaux blends followed with eight wins and Cabernet was close behind with seven victories. Pinot Noir pipped both Merlot and Pinotage who each won two positions, with a credible three gongs.
Tim Atkin MW judging chairman quotes: ‘Top 100 has again pushed the boundaries of rigour with its polished judging protocols and decanting strategy. I am privileged to have the support, dedication and ability of such a top quality judging team. Every wine is assessed with care and diligence and is given every opportunity to show. The winning wines in 2014 are very smart indeed and certainly the ever increasing quality of entries, and quantity of entries (another record year) ensured panels had to work extremely hard in the selection process. My fellow judges and I are immensely proud of the outstanding results this year. As I said in my Chairman’s review; the work is done. Time to pull a few corks and twist a few screw caps, and enjoy these beautiful wines!’
David Nieuwoudt from legendary Cederberg Private Cellar shares: ‘We are thrilled to have three winning wines in the 2014 Challenge. Our committed team is working with fabulous fruit and this winning combination yields these fine results. To be the overall first placed Vineyard Consistency Award winner from 2011 - 2014 with 17 winning wines is recognition that makes all of us exceptionally proud. The quality of the international judging panel at Top 100 and their rigorous tasting protocols, makes it the premier fine wine event in SA. For their learned palates to rate Cederberg wines so consistently is as inspiring as it is satisfying.’
Paul Cluver, MD of the exceptional Paul Cluver Vineyards with four winning wines, offered: ‘We are so grateful for this recognition once again. These accolades are a testament to the hard work of the Cluver team and their continuous commitment to the production of premium wines to reflect our terroir.’
Johan Malan, Chief Wine Maker, Simonsig Estate notes of their four winning wines: ‘Ever since the beginning of this unique competition I thought it was a great concept to select the Top 100 wines of South Africa. The major plus point is the calibre of judges who bring their international expertise to the table (or is it the glass!). It not only gives me as a producer an idea of what the world market is looking for, but also gives guidance to our wine loving customers of which wines to seek out in a market that’s super saturated. Simonsig Estate has always strived to achieve consistent and trusted quality and the Vineyard Consistency Award is a welcome accolade to encourage my team of hardworking winemakers to aim even higher and never get complacent. It makes me very proud to be in the company of such an illustrious group of wine growers represented in the SA Top 100.’
Fairview owner Charles Back says: ‘I'm very proud of my Fairview and Spice Route teams for producing five of the top 100 South African wines. What makes this achievement even more rewarding is the diversity of the wines recognized - from a straw wine and a Petite Syrah to two single-vineyard Shirazes and a Grenache. I am particularly pleased about the Petite Syrah and Grenache, as I have been focusing on driving these varietals in the country for some time now.’
Gary Jordan, from Jordan Wine Estate adds: ‘Worldwide the quality bar is being moved ever higher with each new vintage of wines released. What the Top 100 Competition is able to identify is a snapshot of what is great coming out of South Africa. Jordan Wine Estate is proud to consistently be awarded the highest ratings internationally in selected blind competitions so having three winning wines in the Top 100 as well as being awarded as a ‘Top 5” Consistency Winner is a proud moment for the Jordan team. Attention to detail, estate-grown fruit and a fired-up team provide the winning formula for success.’
WINE CONSISTENCY AWARDS are recognised for the first time this year. The overall winning wine in first place is Le Riche Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve, the only wine to win podium positions in each of the last four Top 100 Challenges! Well-earned and well-deserved recognition for this icon.
Established Cabernet specialists Etienne and Christo le Riche from Le Riche Wines state: ‘Quality, Consistency and Elegance have always been our pointers in winemaking. Appreciation of this by the globally relevant Top 100 judging panel is much appreciated. The consistent promotional support throughout the year that this competition offers was instrumental in our decision to participate.’
VINEYARD CONSISTENCY AWARDS, ‘top 5’ rankings for total number of winning wines 2011 – 2014, were earned by Cederberg Private Cellars (17) Saronsberg (14) Paul Cluver vineyards (13) Simonsig Estate (12) and Jordan Wine Estate (10).
Dewaldt Heyns from top notch Saronsberg comments: ‘We are delighted with the recognition we have earned since 2011 from the acclaimed and rigorous Top 100 judging panels. We are especially pleased that our Viognier was recognised this year. The team has worked hard to achieve success with this difficult grape variety. At Saronsberg we take consistency extremely seriously. To be recognised with a Vineyard Consistency Award ‘Top Five’ in second place overall from 2011 – 2014 is an outstanding result that has thrilled the team on the farm. The results are again an endorsement of the quality that South African wines offer the consumer as expressed in a multitude of terror variations and wine styles.’
Higgo Jacobs, tasting director, noted further: ‘The commitment shown by the entire logistics and data team towards best practice protocols and judging environment lie at the core of the Top 100 Challenge. Record fine wine entries, both repeat and new, indicate that leading vineyards and players are very supportive of this thoroughly professional and rigorous approach. The decanting process applied to every entered wine allows them to show in the best possible light. Respect for all wines is paramount, a practice endorsed by the independent Auditor. The result is wine lovers anywhere can buy these brilliant winning Top 100 wines with total and absolute confidence. Consumers can presently enjoy both the range and the depth of the Top 100 SA Wines 2014 winners.’
Robin von Holdt shared:‘We are thrilled with the support given to Top 100 by so many of SA’s leading vineyards. The 2014 Challenge has been an unrivalled success, once again achieving record levels of fine wine entries. Valued loyal supporters were there for us once again, together with a pleasing number of new fine-wine entrants. Clearly our judging panel quality and exemplary judging protocols have found favour with the majority of fine wine producers.
We are proud too of the support for our year-long international promotion efforts that the team put into helping position ‘brand finest SA wines’. This is a task we cherish. Our hearts lie in the spectacular ascent of SA’s top wines. Our business acumen helps to further this ever increasing footprint, aiding vineyard sales and brand awareness. The Top 100 brand and its team of wine professionals are totally committed to working towards a more successful future for SA’s fine wines, and to aid the consistent growth of their market share. The new Top 100 APP launched tonight will certainly aid these strategic endeavours.
Next year, wine makers can expect even tougher competition for a podium position!’
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.’
Top 100 SA Wines is recognised as the leading fine wine brand in SA and abroad. It enjoys massive Google ratings. It has front page ranking in all key searches as well as enjoying a fast-track international digital footprint. This is tremendously useful for winning vineyards, helping them to win a larger and growing share of both sales and of brand awareness, in the competitive global arena.
To se a full list of the winning wines click here.
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