The results of the 2018 Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show were announced at a luncheon at the Mount Nelson Hotel in Cape Town today. Of the 977 wines judged, 40 gold medals and 23 trophies were awarded for Best in Class, including the coveted Most Successful Producer of the Show.
Sometimes – not always – the outcome of a major wine judging event such as the Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show achieves an almost magical quality. The panels deliberate for several days, identifying the best wines across 20 or 30 classes, sifting their way through around 1000 wines, seeking the very best, but also alert to changing styles, different aesthetic statements.
Finally all this effort comes together at the Trophy judging, where only the gold medal winners are once again put through the mill in order to identify the “best in class” and “best on show”.
When there is a reasonable overlap – a few of the best known producers of a particular style or class back in the winners’ enclosure within a year or two of a previous appearance – there’s a sense that this isn’t a matter of chance.
And then there are years – like 2018 – when the judges of the Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show simply exceed all expectations, with 90% of the trophy winners gold medallists from the past five years, and several on the podium for two years in a row with the next vintage of a 2017 trophy or gold medal winner.
Equally exciting is the presence of a number of newcomers to the limelight, from Warwick Wine Estate – which took home the Most Successful Producer Trophy, to De Grendel, Laborie, Middelvlei and Springfontein – all first time trophy winners, and then a host of first time gold medallists viz. Arabella, Beaumont, Glenelly, Grande Provence, Middelvlei, Overhex, Rainbow’s End and Zandvliet.
Within this sparkling array were several noteworthy achievements. The top red wine of the show was the 2015 Leeuwenkuil Heritage Syrah, a worthy successor to last year’s winner of the Old Mutual Trophy for the best red on show – the Leeuwenkuil Heritage Syrah 2014.
The 2018 winner of the Nestlé Pure Life Trophy for the show’s best Sauvignon Blanc was Stark-Condé – for the 2017 Round Mountain (wooded) Sauvignon Blanc. Last year the Stark-Condé 2016 took home the trophy.
The 2015 Buitenverwachting “1769” won the same dessert wine trophy that the 2014 bagged in 2017. Two vintages in a row of the Landzicht Muscadel have won the Best Fortified Wine trophies, two successive vintages of DeMorgenzon Chardonnay (the 2016 in 2017, the 2017 in 2018) won gold medals. Stellar Organics No Sulphur Added Organic Shiraz won gold medals in 2018 and 2016 for the 2017 and 2015 vintages respectively.
Comparing the 2018 results with those from 2015 there are equally fascinating correlations: gold medals for Olifantsberg Silhouette (2014 and 2013), Rustenberg Peter Barlow (2015 and 2009), Vergelegen GVB (2013 and 2011). The medal tally was 40 gold, 136 silver and 455 bronze.
“All serious wine competitions are expected to prove their credentials by including in their line-up of winners producers who would be regarded as the ‘top seeds’. They are also expected to act as ‘talent scouts’ identifying – ahead of the market – cellars yet to become mainstream, or changes brought about when leading wine makers change their place of employment,” said Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show chairman and convener, Michael Fridjhon.
He added that the overlap between the names of the top cellars this year with those of the past couple of vintages, the aesthetic message of the winning wines and the new stars sharing the podium with a host of familiar players were all gratifying signs that the judges “produced a credible and coherent set of results upon which the wine-drinking public can rely with confidence.”
“We are proud to shine a spotlight on South Africa’s best wines through the Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show,” says Thobile Tshabalala, Head of Brand at Old Mutual Emerging Markets.
Other named awards include the Chenin Blanc trophy – named after the late Harold Eedes, who, as publisher of Wine Magazine in the 1990s, played a key role in South Africa’s Chenin Blanc renaissance. In 2012 the Trophy for Best Cape Port was named after the late Tony Mossop CWM.
Shiraz was the largest class with 106 submissions (110 in 2017), followed by Cabernet Sauvignon at 94 (93 last year). Pinotage was slightly down (50 compared with 2017’s 53) but Chenin Blanc increased by 26% from 62 in 2017 to 79 this year. Sauvignon Blanc with 96 entries (2017: 92) and Chardonnay with 80 (2017: 89) lead the white wine charge, while Bordeaux Blends up by 10% on last year at 86 (2017: 79), Merlot at 45 entries (2017: 43), and Pinot Noir (5 up on last year’s 23) with 28, account for the balance of the major red wine classes.
A countrywide roadshow will follow immediately after the results are announced. The Cape Town Public Tasting takes place on Wednesday 13 June at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (17h00 – 21h00) and on Friday 15 June in Johannesburg at the Sandton Convention Centre. No fewer than 170 trophy, gold and silver medal-winning wines will be presented for tasting and to order via Makro’s pop-up stores. Tickets are available via Computicket at www.computicket.com and cost R200.
The results are…
Old Mutual Trophy for Most Successful Producer Overall – Warwick Wine Estate
Makro Trophy for Best Shiraz, Old Mutual International Judges’ Trophy and Old Mutual Trophy for Best Red Wine Overall – Leeuwenkuil Heritage Syrah 2015
Harold Eedes Trophy for Best Chenin Blanc, Old Mutual Trophy for Best White Wine Overall – Spier 21 Gables Chenin Blanc 2016
Old Mutual Trophy for Discovery of the Show / Best Value Gold Medallist – Arabella Pinotage 2017
American Express Trophy for Best Cabernet Sauvignon – Rustenberg Peter Barlow Cabernet Sauvignon 2015
Old Mutual Trophy for Best Sparkling Wine – Laborie Méthode Cap Classique Blanc de Blancs 2011
Old Mutual Trophy for Best Dessert Wine (Unfortified) – Buitenverwachting ‘1769’ 2015
Riedel Trophy for Best Bordeaux-Style Red Blend – Diemersdal Private Collection 2016
Miele Trophy for Best Chardonnay – Tokara Reserve Collection Stellenbosch Chardonnay 2016
Nestlé Pure Life Trophy for Best Sauvignon Blanc – Stark-Condé Round Mountain Sauvignon Blanc 2017
Grand Roche Trophy for Best White Blend – Backsberg Family Reserve White 2017
Trophy for Best Sauvignon Blanc Semillon Blend – Warwick Professor Black 2017
Trophy for Best Cabernet Franc – Warwick Cabernet Franc 2015
Trophy for Best Shiraz-Based Red Blend – Middelvlei Momberg 2016
Trophy for Best Pinotage – De Grendel Amandelboord Pinotage 2016
Trophy for Best Niche Variety – Springfontein Limestone Rocks Child in Time Petit Verdot 2012
Trophy for Best Merlot – Eagles’ Nest Merlot 2014
Trophy for Best Fortified Wine – Landzicht Wit Muskadel 2016
Trophy for Best Museum Class Sauvignon Blanc – Steenberg Sauvignon Blanc Reserve 2011
Trophy for Best Museum Class White Blend – Vergelegen G.V.B White 2013
Gold Medal Winners
Arabella Pinotage 2017
Backsberg Pumphouse Shiraz 2016
Beaumont Family Wines Dangerfield Syrah 2016
Boschendal Appellation Series Elgin Sauvignon Blanc 2017
Buitenverwachting Christine 2012
Cape Point Vineyards Noordhoek Sauvignon Blanc 2017
De Grendel Koetshuis Sauvignon Blanc 2017
DeMorgenzon Reserve Chardonnay 2017
DeMorgenzon Reserve Chenin Blanc 2017
Diemersfontein Woolworths Reserve Collection Pinotage 2016
Fleur du Cap Unfiltered Chardonnay 2016
Glenelly Estate Reserve Chardonnay 2016
Grande Provence Chenin Blanc 2017
Marras Swartland Los Tros Chenin Blanc 2017
Meerlust Rubicon 2015
Middelvlei Cabernet Sauvignon 2016
Olifantsberg Silhouette 2014
Rainbow’s End Cabernet Sauvignon 2016
Springfontein Daredevils’ Drums Bunches Broken Shiraz 2016
Stellar Organics Woolworths No Sulphur Added Organic Shiraz 2017
Survivor Sauvignon Blanc 2017 (Overhex Wines International)
Zandvliet Shiraz 2015