A toast to South Africa at the International Wine Challenge 2018
Under embargo until 11am – 10/05/18
South Africa has put in another stellar performance at this year’s International Wine Challenge, increasing its share of medals for 2018. The eighth largest producer of wine in the world was awarded 303 medals overall, including 15 Golds, 127 Silver and 161 Bronze.
Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc and Riesling – all achieve top marks
Of its 15 Golds, South African white wines dominated with a total of ten Gold medals.
Ahead of the pack with the highest overall scores of 96 were Boschendal, Elgin Chardonnay 2016 and Stellenrust, Old Bush Vine Chenin Blanc 2016 – along with a late harvest Riesling, of which more in a moment.
As the most widely planted variety in South Africa Chenin Blanc led the way for white wines, picking up four Gold medals in total, mostly from the Stellenrust Wine Estate in Stellenbosch: Stellenrust, 52 Barrel Fermented Chenin Blanc 2016; Stellenrust, Old Bush Vine Chenin Blanc 2016; Stellenrust, 53 Barrel Fermented Chenin Blanc 2017; and Kleine Zalze, Vineyard Selection Chenin Blanc 2017
Other Gold winning whites included two further Chardonnays: La Couronne, Barrel Fermented Chardonnay 2016 and Uva Mira Mountain Vineyards, The Single Tree Chardonnay 2015 – and two Sauvignon Blanc Semillon blends: Constantia, Glen Two 2017 and Cape Point Vineyards, Isliedh 2016.
Finally, there was a Gold medal for Paul Cluver, Noble Late Harvest 2017, a botrytis Riesling which scored an impressive 96 points.
Five Golds for Reds
Results at the IWC 2018 showed off the versatility with five Gold medals across a range of varieties – a Shiraz, a Pinot Noir, two Cabernet Sauvignon and a Pinotage.
Pinotage is the third most planted red variety in South Africa – after Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. The Gold winner at IWC 2018 was Kaapzicht Estate, Steytler Pinotage 2015.
Pinot Noir wins Gold again
Walker Bay, an area where Pinot flourishes, produced one Gold medal: Bouchard-Finlayson, Galpin Peak Pinot Noir 2016.
Stellenbosch still leads the way
In terms of key wine producing regions, the spotlight was once again on Stellenbosch. Showing an increase in form compared to IWC 2017, wines from the region were awarded a total of eight Gold medals (compared to six last year). The Stellenrust Wine Estate led the way with three Golds for its previously mentioned Chenin Blanc entries.
Meanwhile, the Kleine Zalze Estate won two Golds, for its: Kleine Zalze, Vineyard Selection Chenin Blanc 2017 and Kleine Zalze, Family Reserve Shiraz 2015.
Cape Town also provided two Gold medal winners, one of each white and red: Constantia, Glen Two 2017 and Diemersdal, MM Louw Cabernet Sauvignon 2015.
Oz Clarke, Co-Chair of the IWC commented:
“Another fantastic year for South Africa at the International Wine Challenge where we saw lots of class across a range of styles. South Africa already has a fantastic reputation for its output of quality wines of great value. Increasingly we’re also seeing new and established winemakers excel with great classic varieties as well as with more unusual grapes.”