The 2018 Absa Top 10 Pinotage winners announced

by | Aug 20, 2018 | Blog, Lifestyle, News

After much anticipation the presentation of the 2018 Absa Top 10 Pinotage trophies was held at Cavalli estate outside Somerset West on 15 August, commemorating 22 years of Absa’s involvement with the Pinotage Association, and setting the benchmark for South Africa’s most successful “indigenous” wine variety.



The panel of judges for the 2018 competition consisted of Neil Ellis of Neil Ellis Wines (chairman), Samarie Smith, Benguela Cove’s Brand and Business Manager, winemaker Francois Haasbroek, wine educator Nomonde Kubheka and Francois Rautenbach, wine buyer for Singita.

A record number of 161 entries were received for the Absa Top 10 competition and nearly half of the 20 finalists are from vineyards from the Stellenbosch area, including the iconic Beyerskloof, Kaapzicht, Kanonkop and Lanzerac.  The other finalists originate from Breedekloof, Piekenierskloof, Durbanville, Cape Town, Paarl, Darling and Worcester. Four of the finalists had two wines in the running, namely Diemersdal, Kaapzicht, Môreson and Kanonkop.

The 2018 Absa Top 10 winners consist mostly of wines produced by winemakers with solid Pinotage track records, all with a common goal: to produce the ultimate Pinotage ‘masterpiece’.

The 2018 Absa Top 10 Pinotage winners:

Allée Bleue Black Series Old Vine Pinotage 2016
WO Piekenierskloof (Franschhoek cellar), Winemaker Van Zyl du Toit

Beyerskloof Diesel Pinotage 2015
WO Stellenbosch, Winemaker Anri Truter

Diemersdal Pinotage Reserve 2017
WO Durbanville, Winemaker Thys Louw

Fairview Primo Pinotage 2016
WO Paarl, Winemaker Anthony de Jager

Flagstone Writer’s Block Pinotage 2016
WO Breedekloof (Somerset West cellar), Winemaker Gerhard Swart

Kaapzicht Steytler Pinotage 2015
WO Bottelary-Stellenbosch, Winemaker Danie Steytler

Kanonkop Pinotage 2013
WO Simonsberg-Stellenbosch, Winemaker Abrie Beeslaar

Lyngrove Platinum Pinotage 2016
WO Stellenbosch, Winemaker Danie van Tonder

Môreson The Widow Maker Pinotage 2015
WO Stellenbosch (Franschhoek cellar), Winemaker Clayton Reabow

Rijk’s Reserve Pinotage 2014
WO Tulbagh, Winemaker Pierre Wahl

For the 2nd year producers were invited to submit Pinotage wines older than 10 years for the Museum Class category. One of the judges, Samarie Smith, said the quality of the wines in this category was phenomenal, with judges giving near-perfect scores for some of the wines.

The Museum Class Trophy winners:

Kanonkop Pinotage 2006
WO Simonsberg-Stellenbosch, Winemaker Abrie Beeslaar

Neethlingshof Lord Neethling Pinotage 2003
WO Stellenbosch, Winemaker De Wet Viljoen

Rijk’s Private Cellar Pinotage 2008
WO Tulbagh, Winemaker Pierre Wahl


Grangehurst Pinotage 2008
WO Stellenbosch, Winemaker Jeremy Walker

Neil Ellis Vineyard Selection Pinotage 2008
WO Stellenbosch, Winemaker Warren Ellis

Beyers Truter, chairman and founder of the Pinotage Association, highlighted that Pinotage’s quality is on the upsurge and that the market for wines made from this cultivar continues to grow. “Looking at the quality of wine from the 20 finalists this year, our winemakers are undoubtedly on the right course to grow Pinotage’s popularity.  Not only are they embracing the grape’s unique characteristics and learning how to best treat it in the vineyard and in the cellar, but they are also determined to continue improving its quality and educating South African consumers and the rest of the world about the superb wine it produces.”

Beyers said winemakers are now in sync with their terroir and that this is one of the most important ingredients of the success recipe. “The Pinotage Association’s Vision2025 endeavours to get all stakeholders in sync with regards to Pinotage research, knowledge transfer and marketing. We want to double Pinotage’s contribution to the economy in the period ending in 2025, when Pinotage will be celebrating its centenary”, says Truter. “We are honoured that, after 22 years of joint forces, the Pinotage Association and Absa remains in sync in their vision for recognising Pinotage excellence and part of our united long-term objective is to prosper worldwide.”

Congratulating the finalists and winners, John Tshabalala, Absa’s Managing Executive: Western Cape, says the group is proud to partner with the Pinotage Association in presenting these important and prestigious industry awards.

“On behalf of Absa, I extend heartfelt congratulations to this year’s outstanding finalists and winners in the Absa Top 10 Pinotage competition. We wish all the trophy winners, as well as finalists, great success on their winemaking journey and hope they continue to prosper in local and international wine markets. The individuals and their wines we are celebrating today have also made a remarkable contribution to agribusiness, the development of Western Cape and South Africa at large,” he says.

“We are proud to have been part of the Pinotage journey over the past 22 years, and we look forward to many more years together. Absa remains committed to promoting the uniquely and proudly South African wines made from Pinotage grapes. The Absa Top 10 Pinotage competition has indeed become an important platform for the recognition of excellence in the winemaking industry.”

“Our continued involvement with and support of this competition is driven by our confidence in the new generation of South African winemakers. These winemakers are working hard to increase the prestige and sophistication of wines produced in South Africa. The longevity of this competition has made it possible for Pinotage pioneers to become Pinotage legends.”

Tshabalala adds that Absa’s continued support of the Pinotage Association is in line with the bank’s vision of making a lasting and positive impact in the communities that we serve.

The Winning Wines

Kanonkop Estate made history in notching up a Top 10 win for the 13th year, with three-time IWSC International Winemaker of the Year, Abrie Beeslaar.

Rijk’s from Tulbagh is also a constant performer in the competition, scooping their 12th Pinotage trophy this year.

With their The Widow Maker 2015, Môreson has now won five Pinotage trophies.

Flagstone of Somerset West bagged no less than six trophies to date for their Writer’s Block Pinotage.

Beyerskloof has notched up 8 trophies in the competition with their Diesel Pinotage 2015.

The Diemersdal 2017 received the nod from the judges and is the only Top 10 winner from the Durbanville region.

Allée Bleue’s Black Series Old Vine Pinotage 2016 from the Piekenierskloof is the first Old Vine Project wine to walk away with a coveted Absa Top 10 trophy.

The Fairview Primo Pinotage 2016 flies the flag for Paarl and is one of eight finalists from the 2016 vintage.

Lyngrove and Kaapzicht complete the list of winning wines from the Stellenbosch region with their Lyngrove Platinum Pinotage 2016 and Kaapzicht Steytler Pinotage 2015 respectively.

Other Finalists:

Alvi’s Drift Reserve Verreaux Pinotage 2015
WO Worcester, Winemaker Alvi van der Merwe

Badsberg Pinotage 2017
WO Breedekloof, Winemaker Henri Swiegers

Diemersdal Pinotage 2015
WO Durbanville, Winemaker Thys Louw

Kaapzicht Pinotage 2016
WO Bottelary-Stellenbosch, Winemaker Danie Steytler

Kanonkop Pinotage 2015
WO Simonsberg-Stellenbosch, Winemaker Abrie Beeslaar

KWV The Mentors Pinotage 2016
WO Darling (Paarl cellar), Winemaker Izele van Blerk

Lanzerac Pionier Pinotage 2015
WO Stellenbosch, Winemaker Wynand Lategan

Meerendal Heritage Block Single Vineyard Pinotage 2016
WO Cape Town, Winemaker Liza Goodwin

Môreson The Widow Maker Pinotage 2016
WO Stellenbosch (Franschhoek cellar), Winemaker Clayton Reabow

Wellington Wines Duke of Wellington Pinotage 2017
WO Wellington, Winemaker Francois van Niekerk


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