SA Terroir Awards 2011

August 1st, 2011 by karen

Christian Eedes wrote an article for Wine Magazine entitled “Contemplating a New Tasting Format” which I thought held a lot of merit and went some way towards my thoughts and questions on the role of Wine of Origin and the benefits of taking terroir into account in South Africa

Having met and been seated next to Marius “Lappies” Labuschagne at a media lunch at Bartinney, a large part of our time was taken up discussing his Terroir Awards competition and the merits thereof. “Nothing can compete with a single vineyard wine” states Lappies.   I was excited to attend my first tasting of the at SA Terroir Awards winners at Meerendal.  This being the 6th year which this annual competition has taken place, and with a record 251 entries.  Having chosen Novare as their sponsor I thought most fitting with Novare’s payoff lines being “Let it be new” and “Progressive prosperity”

Once again it turned out to be a beautiful sun-filled winters day where we got to enjoy a tasting of any of the winners of our choice on the lawns with stunning views over the rolling hills and vineyards of Durbanville.  My first choice, like most it appeared, was the MCC winner of the competition from La Motte (the first Sparkling Wine winner from Franschhoek!).  My other favourites which I got to taste whilst snacking on canapes of prawn skewers drizzled in aioli and parma ham, basil and chicken cigars were:

  • Hermanuspietersfontein Die Bartho 2010 – from young vines in a cool region but showing magical balance and intrigue despite it’s containing Sauvignon Blanc which Kim McFarlane described as “a mother in law, that is, really difficult” 🙂
  • Jordan Riesling 2009 – an old variety in South Africa which is seeing some form of revival and Gary tells us to watch out for his next vintage which will be the Real McCoy!
  • David Nieuwoudt Ghost Corner Semillon 2009 – from low-yielding vines allowing for good concentration evident on both aroma and palate with additional flinty character
  • Beau Constantia Cecily Viognier 2010 – possibly my favourite white of the day – this Viognier (the only grape they are currently producing) is apparently grown at the top of Constantia Neck with great exposure to sunlight which helps give the wine its expression

For lunch we had freshly baked breads with an assortment of dips followed by tender lamb shank cutlets braised in red wine and accompanied by a crispy potato rosti, young carrots and zucchini mignons which created an ideal platform to taste through some reds:

  • Doolhof Malbec Signatures Series –  not quite to my palate but I think it could entice many new drinkers to the category
  • Dieu Donne Cross Collection Merlot / Cabernet 2008 – blending is an art and this is a masterpiece!  Stephan du Toit says they have a fairly unique terroir with really large boulders in the soil contributing to the final product – right bank Bordeaux 85/15 Merlot/Cab
  • Klein Roosboom Merlot 2009 – Karin explains “Merlot is feminine and she tells you how to work with her”.  Thus , this wine having been made ‘in the vineyard’ by Nico Vermeulen

Five wine cellars stood out with two National Winners each, Doolhof, Durbanville Hills, Hermanuspietersfontein, Jordan and Welbedacht. For the first time ever the Novare Trophy for the SA Terroir Top Wine Estate was awarded to the wine estate that performed exceptionally well with finalist wines and National Winners. The Top Wine Estate Trophy was awarded to Jordan Wine Estate from the Polkadraai Hills ward in the Stellenbosch District, owned by the husband and wife winemaking team Gary and Kathy Jordan.

Jordan Wine Estate entered four wines that were selected for the final round and of which two were National Winners, the Jordan Riesling 2009 and Jordan Nine Yards Chardonnay 2009. Both were of the highest rated wines of all the wines entered for the competition.

The second Novare Trophy for the SA Terroir Top Wine Area was awarded to the Durbanville ward. Besides three National Winners, 16 of the wines selected for the final round came from the same ward. The main contributors for the Top Wine Area Trophy being awarded to Durbanville, were Durbanville Hills, Klein Roosboom, Meerendal, Nitida, De Grendel, Altydgedacht and De Vallei. Last year’s winner, the Wellington ward, was the closest competitor for the 2011 top wine area.

Photo caption: The National Winners of the 2011 Novare SA Terroir Wine Awards. Front from left are Martin Moore (Durbanville Hills), Edmund Terblance (La Motte) and Stephan du Toit (Dieu Donne). Middle from left are Sjaak Nelson (Jordan), Chris Joubert (Lourensford), Jaco van der Watt (Ghost Corner), Justin van Wyk (Beau Constantia), Christo Pienaar (Nuy), Deidré Labuschagne (Bergsig) and André Bruwer (Bon Courage). Behind from left are Karin de Villiers (Klein Roosboom), Jacques Wentzel (Welbedacht), Kim McFarlane (Hermanuspietersfontein), Friedrich Kühne (Doolhof), De Wet Viljoen (Neethlingshof) and Johnnie Calitz (Anura).

For the full results visit

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