Stellenbosch terroir shines at 2023 Veritas Awards
The “Oscars” of South African Wine took place in Cape Town this past week. As has become tradition, wineries and wines from across South Africa were honoured at this prestigious event. It was also a re-affirmation of Stellenbosch terroir quality.
Almost one third of 81 Double Gold medals awarded at the show went to wines and wineries of Stellenbosch. The region also claimed some 45 Gold medals in a field of 1 247 entries, as well as excellence in the Silver Outstanding, Silver and Bronze categories.
It must be noted that Stellenbosch fruit would have been responsible for even more accolades given that many wineries outside the region purchase grapes from local vineyards too, but choose not to declare their sources.
Veritas is the longest-running and arguably the most prestigious wine and brandy competition in South Africa. The emblems of its accolades are also among the most recognisable. Its panel of 70 judges – four of which were guest specialists from overseas – made their evaluations over five days.
Among the highlights for Stellenbosch was that it won the only Double Gold awarded to a Merlot this year. As for the Gold category, Stellenbosch took five of the 12 medals for Cabernet Sauvignon; all the medals for Merlot; five of the seven medals for Pinotage; and, four of the seven for Cap Classiques.
Producers singled out by the judges among this year’s top achievers that excelled with multiple medals were Van Ryn’s, Spier, Zonnebloem, Koelenhof, Stellenbosch Vineyards, Tokara Wines and Welgevallen Cellar.
The Stellenbosch Double Gold winners included:
Cavalli Reserve Chardonnay 2022
Lovane Isikhati Cabernet Sauvignon/Cabernet Franc/Petit Verdot 2020
Koelenhof’s Stellenbosh 1679 Single Old Vineyard Old Vines Pinotage 2021
Louisvale Chardonnay 2022
Villiera Monro Brut Cap Classique 2016
Beyerskloof Faith 202
Le Grand Domaine Grand Vin de Stellenbosch Cabernet Sauvignon 2020,
Kleine Zalze Family Reserve Sur Lie Sauvignon Blanc 2022
Stellenbosch Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc 2023 and The Flagship Cabernet Franc 2018
Spier 21 Gables Chenin Blanc 2021, Seaward Chenin Blanc 2022 and Creative Block 5 2020
Zonnebloem Limited Edition Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 and Shiraz/Mourvèdre/Viognier 2021
Following the announcements, many wineries took to their social media accounts to declare their news and joy. From Koelenhof Winery: “We’re absolutely delighted…fantastic news”; Harry Hartman Wines: “Thank you, Veritas judges”; Marianne Wine Estate: “Great news!!”; and, Cavalli Estate: “We are thrilled…incredible. Cheers to the golden standard in wine!”
The competition’s seven most keenly contested categories in terms of entries received this year were: Red Blends (170), Sauvignon Blanc (141), Cabernet Sauvignon (109), Chardonnay (105), Shiraz (102), Chenin Blanc (97) and Pinotage (83).
Top scorers in the Double Gold medal stakes for Wine were Sauvignon Blanc (12), Chenin Blanc (10), Red Blends (9), Cabernet Sauvignon, Cap Classique, Chardonnay, Pinotage(5), Shiraz (4), Heritage Vintage Wines and Museum White Wine with 2 medals each.
A Double Gold medal each was awarded to Cabernet Franc, Cinsaut, Malbec, Merlot, Museum NLH, Museum Red Wine, Natural Sweet Wine, Pinot Noir, Rosé and Straw Wine.