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2016 Shiraz Challenge winners announced
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Twelve top Shiraz wines were crowned as victors during the award ceremony of the 4th Shiraz Challenge held at Rhebokskloof in Paarl.

According to Dr Andy Roediger, judging panel chairperson, the entries increasingly show purity of fruit and well managed tannin structures. “We encountered less green or stalky wines and less over-wooding was noticed, thus allowing the aromatics to be forthcoming and making the wines approachable,” he says.“South African Shiraz is definitely becoming the grape variety to take note of and these wines can comfortably compete with the best in the world.”

The announcement of the results of the 2016 Shiraz Challenge clearly indicates that a handful of cellars are staking their claim in the contest for the country’s foremost Shiraz by repeatedly winning top honours. Five particular producers are firmly taking the lead and show no sign of releasing their grip on this sought-after position.

The dream dozen:

  • Alto Shiraz 2013
  • Babylonstoren Shiraz 2014
  • Cederberg Shiraz 2014
  • De Morgenzon Reserve Syrah 2014
  • Eagles’ Nest Shiraz 2013
  • Fairview Eenzaamheid Shiraz 2013
  • KWV The Mentors Shiraz 2013
  • KWV Laborie Limited Collection Shiraz 2014
  • Rickety Bridge Shiraz 2013
  • Saronsberg Shiraz 2014
  • Strandveld Syrah 2012
  • Windmeul Shiraz Reserve 2013

In the division for Shiraz blends Alvi’s Drift, Eikendal and Middelvlei showed their mettle.

KWV once again flexed their winemaking muscles. In 2014 they were awarded two medals in the category for Shiraz, while two of their Shiraz blends won trophies in 2015. This year they returned to the podium for two awards in the Shiraz category.

Needing no introduction when it comes to Shiraz, Fairview has won awards for the past three consecutive years: in 2014 the Fairview Beacon Shiraz featured in the top 12, and during the past two years their Fairview Eenzaamheid Shiraz won trophies.

Cederberg, Eagles’ Nest and Saronsberg each also palmed trophies during the past three years.

Chairperson Edmund Terblanche’s opinion about the Shiraz blends category: “This category was only introduced in 2014 and although we feel that the growth has not reached its summit, it is exciting to see how winemakers are experimenting with cultivars other than the traditional Rhône varieties.”

According to Terblanche it is significant that this year’s top achievers represent a variety of wine producing regions and styles. Stellenbosch region enjoyed the highest level of participation, followed closely by Paarl and Western Cape, and then Robertson, Franschhoek and Coastal Region.

Just more than 200 wines were entered and a panel of 8 judges laboured for three days to identify six finalists for the Shiraz blends category and twenty finalists for the Shiraz division. Thirty impressive wines with the highest scores competed for the twenty much-desired semi-final places.

“While the entries were dominated by 2013 and 2014 vintages, it is pleasing to note that older vintages also found their way into the winning line-up,” says panel chairperson Dr Andy Roediger. “In general the top wines were extremely difficult to rank apart, showing the broad depth of the top wines entered.”

The panel of judges consisted of a seasoned team of tasters under leadership of Dr Roediger assisted by Cathy van Zyl, South Africa’s first British Wine Master, Charles Hopkins, cellar master of De Grendel, Cape Wine Master Dave March, Francois Naudé, wine manager of Rhebokskloof, Pearl Oliver, wine manager of the Taj Hotel and Mark Norrish of Ultra Liquors. An eighth judge, Kiara Scott (one of the Cape Winemakers Guild protégés) was included in the panel for the purpose of gaining exposure and experience.

The marketing and sales of mixed batches of the winning wines will be handled by Cyber Celler. Coastal Labels, the producers of the specially designed competition sticker, announced that they have generously increased the number of free stickers allocated to the winners to 2,000 each.

Guests were able to taste the 32 finalist wines before the brunch, while the winners were served with the meal. Fortunately the public will also have the honour of tasting these stars during the annual Shiraz-on-show event.
This show, partly sponsored by Berthomieu Ermitage, will be presented for the 8th time on Tuesday 21 June at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) from 18:00 to 21:00.

Limited tickets (@ R120 per person) are available from Webtickets or at the door and include a wine glass and brochure. Snacks complementary to Shiraz will be for sale. Pre-book to avoid disappointment.

Contact Sandra Lotz for more information at 082 924 7254 or info@shirazsa.co.za


Tel: +27.218832565   Fax: +27.218839546   Email: info@middelvlei.co.za  
P.O. Box 66 , Stellenbosch, 7599, South Africa

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