The Pinotage Association and Absa are pleased to announce the winners in this year’s Absa Top 10 Pinotage competition, marking 24 years since this prestigious award was launched.
The 2021 Absa Top 10 hybrid awards function was a sensory exploration of the best Pinotage wines South Africa has to offer. The winners represent various South African wine districts – predominantly from Stellenbosch but also from Breedekloof, Coastal region and Wellington – mostly of the 2018 and 2019 vintage.
The commitment from winemaker and viticulturist to constantly improve and adapt to the environment during this difficult and uncertain period of our lives, is highlighted in this year’s winners which represent phenomenal expressions of Pinotage.
The chairman and founder of the Pinotage Association Beyers Truter, re-iterated that the 24-year relationship with key sponsor, Absa, is an important and excellent collaboration not only for the association and producers but also for the bank. The relationship has bolstered the international and local marketing of Pinotage.
“As a bank, for Absa to be involved with a varietal like Pinotage demonstrates that Absa is interested in agriculture and in South Africa, because Pinotage is the only true South African varietal. There are many marketing endeavours done together with the association that is beneficial for them as well,” says Truter. The partnership has not only elevated Pinotage but has also been instrumental in the first classification of Pinotage, namely the Grand Pinotage (More on Grand Pinotage in the September 2021 WineLand print edition).
Choosing this year’s Absa Top 10 Pinotage competition winners was one of the most pleasurable tasks of all, according to Winnie Bowman convener of the judging panel.
In the judging process they were looking for wines that specifically showed the characteristics of Pinotage, in other words varietal true wines, “We were also looking for wines that could age because obviously if you are awarded with a top ten place, your wine should be able to age”, she said.
“I can say that we were very thrilled with the results because it shows that the panel was consistent in their judging from last year to this year, so I recommend that you look out for these wines or add your own wines so that you can experience a different aspect of Pinotage”. A special thank you to the judging panel of the Absa Top 10 Pinotage, 2021 – Winnie Bowman, Elmarie Botes, Frans Smit, Carl Schultz, Solly Monyamane and Johan Fourie.
The 2021 Winners
Beeslaar Pinotage 2018 – WO: Stellenbosch, Winemaker: Abrie Beeslaar
Beyerskloof Diesel Pinotage 2018 – WO: Stellenbosch, Winemaker: Anri Truter
Diemersdal The Journal Pinotage 2019 – WO: Durbanville, Winemaker: Thys Louw
Flagstone Writer’s Block Pinotage 2018 – WO: Breedekloof, Winemaker: Gerhard Swart
Francois van Niekerk Pinotage 2019 – WO Coastal, Winemaker: Francois van Niekerk
Stellenbosch 1679 Pinotage 2019 – WO Stellenbosch, Winemaker: Nicolas Husselman/Handré Visagie
Môreson Widow Maker 2018 – WO Stellenbosch, Winemaker: Clayton Reabow
Neethlingshof Estate Pinotage 2020 – WO Stellenbosch , Winemaker: De Wet Viljoen
Stellenrust Cornerstone Pinotage 2019 – WO Stellenbosch, Winemaker: Tertius Boshoff
La Cave Pinotage, 2018 – WO Wellington, Winemaker: Francois van Niekerk
As Absa we are proud to be associated with South African Pinotage and this competition which celebrates excellence in the very best in Pinotage winemaking. We thank the South African Pinotage Association for driving the importance and the stature of Pinotage on the local and international stages. We wish the industry and the winner’s greater future success,” says John Tshabalala, managing executive of Absa Cape Region.
“This competition is of strategic importance for Absa, this South African variety, shows excellent in the industry and therefore we are committed to this competition and its industry. For us it’s a privilege to be associated with Pinotage, specifically the Absa Top 10 Pinotage competition,” says Abrie Rautenbach, head of agribusiness for Absa.
Museum Iconic Class
The Pinotage Association has seen the ripple effect of the benefit of competitions like the Absa Top 10. “One of the visions in launching the competition was to increase the quality standards and perceptions of this uniquely South African wine. And looking back we see the value and importance that competitions have on the impact of the wine estates.” says Beyers.
The Museum Iconic class competition is established for an important reason to showcase the ageability of Pinotage. Pinotage has been embraced by cellar masters and the wine-loving public; we are on the right track. We would like to encourage participation in this category, which in turn will offer similar benefits as the Absa Top 10 competition.
2021 Museum Iconic Winners
Kanonkop Pinotage 2010 – WO Stellenbosch, Winemaker Abrie Beeslaar
Rijk’s Private Cellar Pinotage 2011 – WO Tulbach, Winemaker Pierre Wahl
Rijk’s Reserve Pinotage 2011 – WO Tulbach, Winemaker Pierre Wahl