In 2013, the first Shiraz Annual Challenge was launched to recognize and reward the top Shiraz wines and producers in the land. The competition focused on determining twelve winners of Shiraz, and three of the winning blends. Fast forward to 2016 and the race to first place has tightened up to a fiercely contested competition.
The Top 12 Shiraz SA Winners have been crowned! Just more than 200 wines were entered from around the country. A panel of 8 judges laboured for three days to identify six finalists for the Shiraz blends category and twenty finalists for the Shiraz category. The thirty most impressive wines with the highest scores competed for the twenty much-desired semi-final places.
The three days of meticulous judging by the esteemed panel of experts concluded with a glamorous awards ceremony held at Rhebokskloof Estate on the 18th of May.
According to Dr Andy Roediger, judging panel chairperson “South African Shiraz is definitely becoming the grape variety to take note of and these award winning wines can comfortably compete with the best in the world.”
It was encouraging for the Chairperson of Shiraz South Africa and judges alike that a wide variety of regions were represented at the awards. Also, after only two years, the inclusion of the blends category has seen a significant growth in participation indicating that producers are experimenting more with cultivars.
The announcement of the results of the 2016 Shiraz Challenge clearly indicates that there is a handful of top cellars who are staking their claim in the contest for the country’s foremost Shiraz by repeatedly winning top honours. Five producers in particular are firmly taking the lead and show no sign of relinquishing their grip on this sought-after position.
In the division for Shiraz blends, Eikendal, Middelvlei and Alvi’s Drift showed their class. KWV once fought their way to the top; this year they returned to the podium by winning two awards in the Shiraz category.
Another name which needs no introduction when it comes to Shiraz, Fairview has won awards for the past three consecutive years. In 2014 the Fairview Beacon Shiraz featured in the top 12, and during the past two years the Fairview Eenza
amheid Shiraz won trophies. Cederberg, Eagles’ Nest and Saronsberg each also earned trophies during the past three years.
What is very encouraging to see is that this year’s top achievers represent a variety of wine producing regions and styles. Stellenbosch region enjoyed the highest level of participation, followed closely by Paarl and Western Cape, then Robertson, Franschhoek and the Coastal Region.
The top twelve are:
- Alto Shiraz 2013
- Babylonstoren Shiraz 2014
- Cederberg Shiraz 2014
- De Morgenzon Reserve Syrah 2014
- Eagles’ Nest Shiraz 2013
- Fairview Eenzaamheid Shiraz 2013
- KWV The Mentors Shiraz 2013
- KWV Laborie Limited Collection Shiraz 2014
- Rickety Bridge Shiraz 2013
- Saronsberg Shiraz 2014
- Strandveld Syrah 2012
- Windmeul Shiraz Reserve 2013