SA Champion Young Wine winner

Marlene Truter Communications 26 August 2008A Merlot produced by Boland Cellar in Paarl is the best young wine among South Africa’s 2008 crop. The coveted Gen Smuts Trophy was handed to the cellar during a luncheon at Oude Libertas in Stellenbosch today (Thursday 21 August).
A total of 2,036 young wines were entered by this year’s 179 participating cellars and the judges once again had to employ all their tasting skills to pick the most excellent wine in every class.Spier Wines from Stellenbosch took home the Pietman Hugo Trophy for the highest total for five entries – a feat indicative of remarkable versatility. Three of these wines – the wood-aged Spier Chenin Blanc, the Spier Chardonnay (with wood) and the Spier Cabernet Sauvignon (also wood-matured) – have also been voted as champions in their class.Another Stellenbosch producer, Neethlingshof Estate, won the championship trophy for the classiest noble late harvest with its wood-aged Weisser Riesling.Wineries from the Worcester region did exceptionally well in producing six South African champions: the top red blend (from Cabernet Sauvignon, Ruby Cabernet and Shiraz) emerged from the UniWines production syndicate near Goudini; the champion white blend (Colombar / Chenin Blanc) from Nuy Wine Cellar; the champion Sémillon from Botha Cellar; the champion other white cultivar, a Viognier, from Slanghoek Wine Cellar; the champion natural sweet white wine from Badsberg Cellar and the champion port (destined to become a vintage port) from De Wet Wine Cellar.Boland Cellar’s grand champion Merlot (winner of the Merlot category) was one of several wines that kept a stiff breeze in the Paarl banner. Other champions from the area were Graham Beck Wines’ Sauvignon Blanc; Windmeul Cellar’s wood-matured Pinotage; Nelson Estate’s wood-matured Cabernet Franc, which was voted champion other red cultivar; and the champion wood-matured Shiraz from Val de Vie Wines on the wine and lifestyle estate between Paarl and Franschhoek.

Calitzdorp Wine Cellar and De Krans Estate held up the reputation of the Klein Karoo by respectively winning the trophies for the champion dessert wine and muscadel.

The SA Young Wine Awards was presented by the South African National Wine Show Association (SANW) in partnership with Agri-Expo. Agri-Expo’s forerunner, the Cape of Good Hope Agricultural Society, organised the first Young Wine Show in 1833 and maintained its commitment to young wine competitions and the improvement of wine quality throughout the years.

This year was the sixth consecutive time that a red scooped the highest award for a young wine. The Gen Smuts Trophy, which this year was awarded for the 57th time, also went to a Merlot in 2005 and in 2006 to a red blend with Merlot as a component.

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