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Top 10 Pinotage winners announced

After much anticipation the presentation of the 2018 Absa Top 10 Pinotage trophies was held at Cavalli estate outside Somerset West on 15 August, commemorating 22 years of Absa’s involvement with the Pinotage Association and setting the benchmark for South Africa’s most successful “indigenous” wine variety.

Various local wine cellars walked away with these coveted Pinotage awards.

A record number of 161 entries were received for the Absa Top 10 competition and nearly half of the 20 finalists are from vineyards from the Stellenbosch area, including the iconic Beyerskloof, Kaapzicht, Kanonkop and Lanzerac.

The other finalists originate from Breedekloof, Piekenierskloof, Durbanville, Cape Town, Paarl, Darling and Worcester. Four of them had two wines in the running, namely Diemersdal, Kaapzicht, Môreson and Kanonkop. Franschoek cellar Allée Bleue Black Series Old Vine Pinotage 2016 and Fairview Primo Pinotage 2016 were among the top 10 Pinotage’s, while other finalists included KWV The Mentors Pinotage 2016,

Môreson won for its Widow Maker Pinotage 2016 and Wellington Wines Duke of Wellington Pinotage 2017.

The 2018 Absa Top 10 winners consist mostly of wines produced by winemakers with solid Pinotage track records, all with a common goal: to produce the ultimate Pinotage “masterpiece”.

Beyers Truter, chairperson and founder of the Pinotage Association, says Pinotage’s quality is on the upsurge and the market for wines made from this cultivar continues to grow. “Looking at the quality of wine from the 20 finalists this year, our winemakers are undoubtedly on the right course to grow Pinotage’s popularity,” he said. “Not only are they embracing the grape’s unique characteristics and learning how to best treat it in the vineyard and in the cellar, but they are also improving its quality and educating South African consumers and the rest of the world about the superb wine it produces.”

The panel of judges for the 2018 competition consisted of Neil Ellis of Neil Ellis Wines (chairperson), Samarie Smith, Benguela Cove’s Brand and Business Manager, winemaker Francois Haasbroek, wine educator Nomonde Kubheka and Francois Rautenbach, wine buyer for Singita.

Beyers said winemakers are now in sync with their terroir, one of the most important ingredients of the success recipe. “The Pinotage Association’s Vision2025 endeavours to get all stakeholders in sync with regards to Pinotage research, knowledge transfer and marketing. We want to double Pinotage’s contribution to the economy in the period ending in 2025, when Pinotage will be celebrating its centenary”, says Truter. “We are honoured that, after 22 years of joint forces, the Pinotage Association and Absa remains in sync in its vision for recognising Pinotage excellence and part of our united long-term objective is to prosper worldwide.”

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