The Veritas Vertex Award for the overall champion wine from among a record number of 1 491 entries for the Veritas Awards this year, was won by Domaine Des Dieux Chardonnay 2015 from Hemel and Aarde Ridge near Hermanus at the glittering Veritas gala dinner in the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) on Friday 11 October. This top trophy was awarded for the first time in 2017.
The Veritas Vertex Award derives its name from the Latin word vertex, which means “highest point” and perfectly represents the Veritas Awards objective of crowning the best wine at the peak of all the medals awarded. This hand-crafted glass trophy was handed over to the owner and GM of Domaine Des Dieux, Megan Mullis.
Spier Wines clinched the most medals with a staggering nine Double Gold and seven Gold, followed by Simonsig Estate (four Double Gold and three gold), Nederburg (three Double Gold and six Gold), and Perdeberg Cellar (two Double Gold). A record number of 29 wineries each received one Double Gold award and several Gold medals.
In the fortified wine category, KWV triumphed with five Double Gold medals. Close second was Nuy Cellar with four Double Gold and six Gold, while De Krans, Du Toitskloof Wines, Orange River Cellars and Slanghoek Wine Cellar each won two Double Golds.
Distell triumphed in the brandy category with four Double Gold and four Gold medals. KWV was second with two Double Gold medals.
The Best Achiever in the class for ten wines or less, was Orange River Cellars, while Spier Wines also won the class for more than ten wines entered.
Seven wine industry luminaries – Jan Boland Coetzee, Kiffie de Wet, Hempies du Toit, Johan Rossouw, Kobus Rossouw, Eugene van Zyl and Gyles Webb – received Living Legends honorary scrolls for their immeasurable contributions to South African wine and brandy.
The Veritas gala dinner was sponsored by SA Litho, with eminent chefs Michael Broughton from Terroir Restaurant and Christophe Dehosse from Joostenberg Bistro and The Vine Bistro who added their culinary art to the festive cuisine prepared by Roberto De Carvalho, executive chef of the CTICC.
Exciting news was announced at the dinner by the chairman of Veritas, Christo Pienaar. “With the successful presentation of the Vertex winner and the Double Gold awards at tastings in London and Hong Kong last year, we are delighted to announce that a new partnership between Veritas and Vinventions, a global leader in wine supplies, and their subsidiary Berthomieu Ermitage, has been concluded. This company has decided to sponsor an overseas visit by the winning winemaker of the Vertex Award in future – annually to London and then any wine country of choice afterwards. We are very grateful to them for this initiative.
“We also have pleasure to introduce a new tier in the awards line-up from this year. To be in line with most international competitions, our points scoring system has been adjusted to include a Silver Outstanding class for wines that scored 86 – 89 on the 100 point scale. A Silver Outstanding bottle sticker will be available too. We believe that this new approach will add value for both the participant and the wine,” Pienaar said.
Double Gold winners
Altogether 76 Double Gold and 198 Gold medals were awarded.
- Spier led the way with nine Double Gold for Spier Brut MCC 2009, two Chenin Blancs (Spier 21 Gables Chenin Blanc 2018 and Spier Ideology Chenin Blanc 2019), two Sauvignon Blancs (Spier 21 Gables Sauvignon Blanc 2019 and Spier Ideology Sauvignon Blanc 2019), two vintages of Spier Creative Block 2 Sauvignon Blanc/Sémillon – 2013 and 2019, Spier 21 Gables Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 and Spier Creative Block 3 Shiraz/Mourvèdre/Viognier 2016
- Simonsig won four Double Gold for Simonsig Chenin Avec Chêne Chenin Blanc 2015, two Simonsig Redhill Pinotages – 2014 and 2017 and Simonsig Tiara 2015
- Nederburg Wines excelled with Double Gold for three wines, namely Nederburg Auction Reserve Private Bin R163 Cabernet Sauvignon 2014, Nederburg Ingenuity Italian Red Blend 2007 and Nederburg Private Bin Eminence Muscadel NLH 2009.
- Perdeberg received two Double Gold medals for two Chenin Blancs – Perdeberg Cellar The Dry Land Collection Braveheart Chenin Blanc 2015 and Perdeberg Cellar The Dry Land Collection Courageous Barrel Fermented Chenin Blanc 2018.
Altogether 29 wineries also won one Double Gold.
Fortified Wine winners
Altogether 23 Double Gold and 15 Gold medals were awarded to the top fortified wines. KWV took the top spot with five Double Gold wines for KWV Hanepoot Jerepigo 1969, KWV Ruby Port 1949, KWV Tawny Port Limited Release 1948, KWV Muscadel 1930 and KWV Classic Collection Cape Tawny (Paarl) N/V. Their KWV Muscadel 1930 was the oldest wine on the show. Nuy Wine Cellar followed closely on their heels with four Double Gold wines: Nuy Wit Muskadel 2013, Nuy Inspiration Rooi Muskadel 2015, Nuy Rooi Muskadel 2014 and Nuy Barbieri Idro Rooi Muskadel. De Krans, Du Toitskloof Wines, Orange River Cellar and Slanghoek Wynkelder each won two Double Gold medals. Six producers each clinched one Double Gold in this category.
South Africa’s leading brandy producers won six Double Gold and seven Gold medals. Distell received four Double Gold for its Viceroy 5 Years Potstill Brandy, Richelieu Vintage Brandy 10 Years, Van Ryn’s 10 Years Single Potstill Brandy and Van Ryn’s 20 Years Single Potstill Brandy.
KWV also received two Double Gold for its KWV 12 Year Small Barrel Select Potstill Brandy and KWV 20 Year Potstill Brandy.
The Veritas Awards, South Africa’s premier wine and brandy competition, attracted 1 491 medal contenders this year.
An authoritative jury, comprising five international and 95 local specialists, scrutinised candidates for Veritas fame during a marathon five-day blind tasting session.
The seven most keenly contested categories in terms of entries received, were: Red Blends (217), Sauvignon Blanc (159), Shiraz (149), Cabernet Sauvignon (129), Chenin Blanc (126), Chardonnay (100) and Pinotage (98). A total of 20 brandies were entered in three categories: Standard, Potstill and Vintage.
In total, 1 411 medals were awarded – 76 Double Gold, 198 Gold, 219 Silver Outstanding, 596 Silver and 322 Bronze.
Top scorers in the Double Gold medal stakes for Wine were Pinotage (5), Chardonnay (wooded), Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon with 4 medals each, Chenin Blanc, Chenin Blanc (wooded), Other Red Blends and Museum Red Wine with 3 medals each, Chardonnay, MCC, Bordeaux Style and Museum White Wine with 2 medals each. A Double Gold medal each awarded for White Blends, White Blends (wooded), Sauvignon Blanc (wooded), Noble Late Harvest, Cape Blend, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Shiraz, Museum MCC and Museum Noble Late Harvest.
Double golds for Fortified wines were Red Muscadel with 7 awards, White Muscadel (4), Cape Ruby/Cape Tawny/Cape Vintage (4), Dessert Wine (2), Museum Dessert Red (2), Museum Dessert White (2) and Museum Cape Ruby/Cape Tawny/Cape Vintage (2).
Potstill Brandy excelled with 6 Double Gold awards.
In the Gold medal stakes, Cabernet Sauvignon (25), followed by Other Red Blends (14), Pinotage (12), Chardonnay (wooded) (11), Bordeaux Style (11), Sauvignon Blanc (10), MCC (8), Potstill Brandies (7), Chenin Blanc (7), Museum Red Wine (7), Cape Blend (7), Red Muscadel (6), Museum White Wine (6), Shiraz (6), White Muscadel (5), Chenin Blanc (wooded) (5), Museum Dessert Red (5), Cape Ruby/Cape Tawny/Cape Vintage (4), White Blends (wooded) (4), Chardonnay (3), Merlot (3), Colombar (3), Viognier (wooded) (3), Malbec (3), Other Red Cultivars (3), Pinot Noir (2), Museum Noble Late Harvest (2), MCC Rosé (3), Cabernet Franc (2), White Blends (1), Sauvignon Blanc (wooded) (1), Noble Late Harvest (1), Colombar (wooded) (1), Sémillon (wooded) (1), Cinsaut (1), Other Cultivars (1), Other Cultivars (wooded) (1), Natural Sweet White/Blanc de Noir/Rosé (1), Straw Wine (1) and Standard Brandies (1).
Full results are available online at www.veritas.co.za.
Five foremost judges from around the globe were in action at Veritas 2019, namely Christine Austin and Joe Wadsack (both from the UK), Tersina Shieh (Hong Kong), Michael Franz (USA) and Jo Wessels (Germany). The entire judging process is audited by LDP auditors.
Great news for consumers
The fruitful collaboration between Veritas and Checkers over the past 15 years, received a further boost with the announcement during the Veritas Awards gala dinner that some Veritas Double Gold and Gold medal winners will in future be exhibited in special divisions of a handful of selected Checkers stores, for easy identification by consumers.
Taste the winners
Wine lovers have the opportunity to taste the top achiever Double Gold and Gold medal winning wines and brandies at countrywide tastings sponsored by Deloitte. The Veritas showcase tastings are presented in Cape Town (25 October), Johannesburg (29 October), Durban (6 November) and Port Elizabeth (13 November). Tickets are available from Computicket.