First ever overall champion wine crowned at Veritas
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The new Veritas Vertex Award for the overall champion wine from 1 638 entries for the Veritas Awards 2017, stole the show among a record number of medals at the gala dinner last night (Friday 6 October) at the CTICC in Cape Town.

It was awarded to Spier 21 Gables Chenin Blanc 2015, a wooded wine, and added to the remarkable achievement of Spier Wines by winning six Double Gold and nine Gold medals as second best performer overall at the event.

The Veritas Vertex award for the top wine of the competition takes its name from the Latin vertex, which means “highest point” and it fits perfectly into the Veritas Awards notion of being the pinnacle of all the medals awarded. A handmade glass trophy, specially designed for the Vertex award winning wine, was presented to cellarmaster Frans Smit and his team from Spier.

South Africa’s largest producer wholesaler, Distell, walked away with the laurels as the top achiever, like last year, with seven Double Gold and 18 Gold medals. Spier, in second place, was followed by Kleine Zalze with four Double Gold and four Gold medals,  KWV (three Double Gold and seven Gold) and Diemersdal Estate (three Double Gold and four Gold), respectively fourth and fifth.

In the fortified wine category, Nuy led the medal tally with one Double Gold and ten Gold. Boplaas was second with one Double Gold and three Gold awards, with Calitzdorp Cellar and De Krans jointly third with one Double Gold and two Gold awards each. KWV with one Double Gold and one Gold award finished in fifth place.

Distell also triumphed in the brandy category with six Double Gold and two Gold medals. KWV was awarded three Double Gold and three Gold medals.

The Best Performer by Entry title went to Neil Ellis Wines in the category for ten wines or less, while Distell also triumphed in the class for more than ten wines.

Four wine industry luminaries –Walter Finlayson, Nicky Krone, Giel Swiegers and Hugo van der Merwe – received the Living Legends scroll of honour in recognition of their invaluable contribution to the South African wine and brandy industries.

The Veritas gala dinner, held at the CTICC, was sponsored by Agri-Expo and SA Litho with celebrity chefs Pete Goffe-Wood and George Jardine adding their culinary flair to the feast prepared by Roberto De Carvalho, executive Chef of the CTICC.

The winners of the first Vertex Award at Veritas, Spier Wines (Spier 21 Gables Chenin Blanc 2015) with their trophy :
Christo Pienaar (Chairman Veritas), Frans Smit (Cellarmaster) , Jacques Erasmus, Patrick Kroukamp and Anthony Kok from Spier) and Bennie Howard (Vice-Chairman Veritas)

 

Double Gold winners

A total of 71 Double Gold and 193 Gold medals were awarded.

Distell led with seven Double Golds for Alto Rouge 2015, Alto Shiraz 2015, Desiderius MCC 2009, Fleur du Cap Unfiltered Chardonnay 2016, Nederburg Private Bin Edelkeur NLH 2003, Nederburg Private Bin Eminence NLH Muscadel 2001and Uitkyk Carlonet Cabernet Sauvignon 2005.

Spier took six Double Gold medals for Spier 21 Gables Chenin Blanc 2015, Spier 21 Gables Chenin Blanc 2016, Spier Ideology Chenin Blanc 2016, Spier Signature Chenin Blanc 2017, Spier 21 Gables Cabernet Sauvignon 2012and Spier Creative Block 3 Shiraz/Mourvèdre/Viognier 2012.

Kleine Zalze scooped Double Gold medals for Kleine Zalze Family Reserve Chenin Blanc 2015, Kleine Zalze Family Vineyard Selection Chardonnay 2016, Kleine Zalze Family Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2009 and Kleine Zalze Family Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2005.

KWV won Double Gold medals for KWV The Mentors Sauvignon Blanc/Sémillon 2009, KWV The Mentors NLH 2012 and Laborie Blanc de Blancs MCC 2011.

Diemersdal excelled with Double Gold medals for Diemersdal Sauvignon Blanc Reserve 2017, Diemersdal Winter Ferment Sauvignon Blanc 2017 and Diemersdal Malbec 2015.

Neethlingshof Estateand Simonsig Estate each won two Double Gold medals and six and five Gold respectively.

In addition, altogether 32 producers won one Double Gold each.

Fortified winners

A total of seven Double Gold and 30 Gold medals were awarded to the best fortified wines. The top winning medallists were Nuy, Boplaas, Calitzdorp and De Krans, whose double Golds were for Nuy Red Muscadel 1991, Boplaas Heritage Collection Muscadel 2014, Calitzdorp Cellar Vintage Reserve 2016 and De Krans Cape Vintage Reserve 2014.

Brandy masters

South Africa’s leading brandy producers garnered nine Double Gold and seven Gold medals. Distell scooped six Double Gold medals for Richelieu International Liqueur Brandy, Viceroy 5 Year Old Potstill Brandy, Richelieu 10-Year-Old Vintage Brandy, Van Ryn’s 10 Year Old Vintage Brandy, Van Ryn’s 15 Year Old Fine Cask Reserve Single Potstill Brandy and Van Ryn’s 20 Year Collectors Reserve Single Potstill Brandy. KWV was awarded Double Gold for the KWV 12 Year Potstill Barrel Select Brandy, KWV 15 Year Alambic Potstill Brandy and KWV 20-Year-Old Potstill Brandy.

Medal overview

The Veritas Awards attracted 1 638 medal contenders this year. The category statistics are as follows.

The six most fiercely-contested categories in terms of entries received, were: Red Blends (228), Sauvignon Blanc (174), Shiraz (169), Cabernet Sauvignon (139), Chardonnay (122) and Chenin Blanc (119). A total of 29 brandies were entered in three categories, Standard, Potstill and Vintage.

In total, 1472 medals were awarded – 71 Double Gold, 193 Gold, 654 Silver and 554 Bronze.

Potstill Brandy was the top scorer by category in the Double Gold medal stakes with 8 awards, followed by Sauvignon Blanc and MCC with 5 awards each, Chardonnay (wooded) (4), Chenin Blanc (wooded) (4), Cabernet Sauvignon (4), Shiraz (4), Pinotage (3), Other Red Blends (3), Cape Ruby/Tawny/Vintage (3) Museum White Wine (3), Chenin Blanc (2), White Blend (wooded) (2), Cabernet Franc (2), White Muscadel (2), Museum Noble Late Harvest (2), Museum Red Wine (2), Standard Brandy (1), Natural Sweet White (1), NLH (1), Méthode Cap Classique Rosé (1), Bordeaux Style (1), Malbec (1) Merlot (1), Pinot Noir (1), Other Red Cultivars (1), Red and White (predominantly red) (1), Museum MCC (1), Museum Dessert White (1), Museum Dessert Red (1),

In the Gold medal stakes, Cabernet Sauvignon (23),followed by ,Méthode Cap Classique (11), Chardonnay (wooded) (11), Shiraz (11), Noble Late Harvest (11), Cape Ruby/Tawny/Vintage (10), Sauvignon Blanc (9), Chenin Blanc (7), Red Muscadel (7), Potstill Brandy (6), White Blend (wooded) (6), Museum Red Wine (6), Merlot (6), Chenin Blanc (wooded) (5), Red Blends (5), Pinotage (5), Museum White Wine (5), Bordeaux Style (5), Other Red Cultivars (5), White Muscadel (4), Pinot Noir (4), Museum Noble Late Harvest (3), Museum Dessert White (3), Cape Blends (3), Méthode Cap Classique Rosé (2), Museum Dessert Red (2), White Blends (2), Chardonnay (2), Other Cultivars (2), Dessert Wine (2), Cape Full Cream Dessert Wine (2), Standard Brandies (1), Natural Sweet White, Blanc de Noir or Rosé (1), Malbec (1), Red and White Blend (predominantly red colour) (1), Museum MCC (1), Viognier (wooded) (1), Straw Wine (1) and Rosé (1).

The full results are available online at www.veritas.co.za.

International palates

Six renowned palates from around the globe joined the Veritas jury this year:

UK-based Joe Wadsack currently co-hosts the British TV series BBC Food & Drink and is the new wine expert on This Morning on ITV1 with two other wine enthusiasts. Renowned for his brilliant palate, he is a regular international judge at wine competitions throughout the world, including the UK, South Africa, Australia, and Chile.

Nikita Nördstrom, a sommelier from Sweden joined Systembolaget, the Swedish monopoly in 2013 and is the buyer responsible for South Africa and Asia.

Michael Franz (USA) is the editor of Wine Review Online and Sommelier magazine, and a freelance contributor to numerous wine publications.  He has written nearly 300 articles as wine columnist for The Washington Post before helping found Wine Review Online.

Paula Bosch resides in Germany and was the first female German sommelier.  She is the author of a number of books including her latest one on German wine and food.

Two French experts joined the brandy panel this year. Denis Lahouratate, Maître de Chai, cellarmaster for the renowned Chateau Bisquit in Cognac, is a regular taster at Veritas.

Jean Francois Joumier has worked in Cognac since 1980 and is a consultant for distillers around the world, including South Africa, Romania and Russia.

The entire judging process is independently audited by Deloitte.

Taste the winners                                                                            

Wine lovers have the opportunity to sample the top-performing Double Gold and Gold medal winning wines and brandies at countrywide tastings sponsored by Deloitte. The Veritas showcase tastings will take place in Cape Town (18 October), Johannesburg (24 October), Durban (9 November) and Port Elizabeth (15 November). Tickets are available from Computicket.

For more information, contact the Veritas office on tel +27.218631599 or e-mail admin@veritas.co.za or visit www.veritas.co.za.

Stay connected with the Veritas Awards on social media: Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and join our Google+ circle. Join the conversation using #Veritas.

Photo captions

The winners of the first Vertex Award at Veritas, Spier Wines (Spier 21 Gables Chenin Blanc 2015) with their trophy :
Christo Pienaar (Chairman Veritas), Frans Smit (Cellarmaster) , Jacques Erasmus, Patrick Kroukamp and Anthony Kok from Spier) and Bennie Howard (Vice-Chairman Veritas)

Best Wine Performers
Back: Johan Venter (Distell), Christo Pienaar (Chairman, Veritas), RJ Botha (Kleine Zalze), Wim Truter (KWV)
Front: Frans Smit (Spier), Jacques Erasmus (Spier), Jeandre Bruwer (Diemersdal)

The Brandy Double Gold medalists
Back: Lourens Stander and Pieter de Bod from KWV
Front: Johan Venter (Distell), Riaan Bredell (Richelieu) and Bennie Howard (Veritas)

Best Fortified Performers
Back:  Louis van Riet (De Krans), Christo Pienaar (Chairman Veritas)
Front: Paul Botha (Nuy), Rosanne Nel (Boplaas), Alwyn Burger (Calitzdorp)

Top Performers
Christo Pienaar from Veritas with the Top Performers, Johan Venter from Distell (entries 11 and more) and Warren Ellis from Neil Ellis Wines and Bennie Howard, Veritas.

The Sponsors of Veritas
Marius Alberts (Deloitte), Leon Witbooi (SA Litho), Johan Ehlers (AgriExpo) with Chairman Christo Pienaar.

Representatives from the Veritas Sponsors with Bennie Howard and Elsabe Ferreira of Veritas, Michael van Wyk (Deloitte), Hugo Lochner (AgriExpo) and Peter Sproul (SA Litho).

Christo Pienaar, Chairman of Veritas, Hugo vd Merwe, Gielie Swiegers, Nicky Krone, Walter Finlayson and Bennie Howard, Vice-Chairman of Veritas.

The trio of chefs who prepared the menu at the Gala dinner with Bennie Howard, Pete Goffe-Wood, Roberto de Carvalho (CTICC) and George Jardine.

Lourens en Estie vd Merwe (Bottomless Coffee Band) who performed at Veritas and VIP guests Heinz and Alette Winckler.


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