The IWSC has awarded a raft of medals to the top wines of South Africa following the tasting sessions in central Cape Town last month.
The range of medal-winners this year demonstrates the consistent quality of South African winemaking, with many different producers from across the country receiving top medals. Producers including Kanonkop, Beyerskloof and Stellenrust lead the pack alongside last year’s IWSC South African Wine Producer of the Year Spier Wine Farm (pictured above), which received two Gold medals for Spier Seaward Sauvignon Blanc 2019 and Spier Creative Block 3 2016.
Four wines were awarded 97 points – the highest score received by South African wines this year – including Bartinney Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 from Stellenbosch. Judges described the wine as “a very classic version of powerful South African Cabernet Sauvignon”.
Supermarket own label wines also took top medals, with wines produced for Waitrose, Lidl and SPAR all receiving 95 points this year; Lidl’s Winemaker's Selection South African Fairtrade Shiraz Paarl 2017 was praised by judges for its savoury spices and fine oak.
Quality is also high in South African sparkling wines, with three bottle fermented sparklers achieving Gold medals: Graham Beck Blanc de Blancs 2014, Pongrácz MCC Blanc de Blancs NV, and Newstead MCC Brut 2015. The three wines were all produced in different vintages, showcasing the richness that comes from ageing sparkling wines.
Another notable winner – and an unusual wine from South Africa – is the Stellenbosch Vineyards Limited Release Verdelho 2018. Made with the indigenous Portuguese grape Verdelho, the wine has a luxurious mouthfeel and dried citrus finish, and was awarded an impressive 96 points and a Gold medal from the judges this year.
Finally, two sweet wines took Gold: Nederburg The Winemasters Noble Late Harvest 2018, and Rustenberg Straw Wine 2018. The former was produced with botrytis grapes to give it its honey and nutty elements, while the Straw Wine – named after the Italian ‘Passito’ method of drying grapes on straw mats to concentrate flavour – offers intense flavours of honey and apricot.
South African trophy winners will be announced in the coming months: Worldwide Wine Trophy results will be announced on 16 October, while the South African Wine Producer of the Year will be revealed at the IWSC Awards Banquet in November.