Kleine Zalze winery has again been named ‘Best New World Producer of the Year’ in the UK, the trend-setting market for global wine producers.
The Stellenbosch estate was singled out at the annual UK Sommelier Wine Awards and received seven medals in addition to its status as overall champion.
The achievement follows its naming earlier this year as top South African wine brand in the on-premise trade in the UK alongside brands like Laurent Perrier, Taittinger, Baron Philippe De Rothschild and Dom Perignon; and its inclusion in the 2018 Top Wine SA Hall of Fame.
The Sommelier Wine Awards (SWA) is the UK’s only competition to be aimed solely at the on-trade. Judged by a panel of top leading sommeliers and on-trade drinks buyers, the competition rewards the best wines available to restaurants, bars and hotels in the UK and beyond.
“To pick up seven medals is, in itself, impressive enough. But to do it with wines that are this affordable is little short of remarkable,” said SWA competition director Chris Losh.
“It was also really interesting to see them pick up golds with a pricy Sauvignon Blanc and a classy Stellenbosch Shiraz. These are not wines that habitually walk onto our gold List, so the fact that they did tells you everything you need to know about how good they are.”
The awards are welcome news for the Kleine Zalze team. “We have invested heavily to achieve the best from our terroir, so it’s very gratifying to be ranked number one. It’s also very significant for us as a South African company to be among the world’s most recognisable, historic and superb wine brands,” says Kleine Zalze owner and managing director Kobus Basson.
“Consistency is one of the most important aspects of quality winemaking, along with a reliable measure. Both are in evidence with the results of the past few months,” says Basson.
“We at Hatch Mansfield are delighted but not surprised by this award. It is a tribute to the winemaking skills of Alastair Rimmer and RJ Botha and the hard work of the cellar and viticultural teams. Our focus with the Kleine Zalze range is on the hotel and restaurant sector and we have excellent distribution across the UK working with our friends and partners Matthew Clark. This award is a real endorsement of the outstanding quality of the Kleine Zalze wines across a broad range of varieties” says Patrick McGrath, Managing Director of Hatch Mansfield.
In February, Kleine Zalze’s success in the UK was once again confirmed as the ‘most listed South African wine on-premise in the UK’ in a report that is compiled annually by research consultancy, Wine Business Solutions, that ranked top performers in one of South Africa’s most valuable markets by country, as well as overall.
At the same time on South African shores, Kleine Zalze’s achievements saw its Kleine Zalze Family Reserve Sur Lie Sauvignon Blanc enter the 2018 Top Wine SA Hall of Fame, a list of the top 20 South African wines that have maintained outstanding track records of gold medals or more, for a minimum of 10 years.
The classification considers producer ratings achieved at amongst others the biggest and most reputable competitions including the Decanter World Wine Awards (UK), the International Wine Challenge (UK) and IWSC (UK), Platter’s SA Wine Guide, the Six Nations Challenge (AU), the Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show (SA), the Veritas Awards (SA) and the Michelangelo awards (SA).
The compiler – Top Wine SA, edited by Mike Froud – also identifies the ten best wines by category, which saw Kleine Zalze singled out in the Top 10 Chenin Blanc 2018 (Kleine Zalze Vineyard Selection Chenin Blanc); Top 10 Sauvignon Blanc 2018 (Kleine Zalze Family Reserve Sur Lie Sauvignon Blanc); Top 10 Shiraz 2018 (Kleine Zalze Family Reserve); and, Top 20 Cellar 2018 for consistently highly-rated wines.