Tim Atkin’s SA wine winners for 2019

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Eben Sadie and Paul Jordaan of The Sadie Family Wines had something to celebrate this week as they were announced Winemakers of the year in the seventh annual South Africa Special Report by Tim Atkin MW.

It was just in June that Eben Sadie complained to Winemag that Paul Jordaan had not had the best luck with the vineyards since he took over in 2016, “the first of the drought years”.

“He has yet to have a normal, let alone easy, let alone truly excellent vintage to work with,” Sadie said at the time.

Now just two months down the line the pair have won the Winemakers of the year, leaving us to wonder what could possibly happen if they ever do achieve their desired weather conditions.

Their T Voetpad was declared to be the Overall White Wine of the Year. A complex blend of Semillon, Palomino, Chenin Blanc and Muscat, it wins for the second year in a row, with no possibility of a hattrick as there will be no 2019 vintage. With aromas of quince and stone fruit followed by a beautiful blend of pear, lime and orange peel that eases into gentle minerality in the finish the wine scored a massive 99 points out of a possible 100.

Overall Red Wine

Overall Red Wine of the Year went to the 2017 Boschkloof Epilogue Syrah. This is a wine for whom 2014 is considered the pinnacle and 2017’s was expected by some to not reach quite the highs of that epic year. Despite this, it has dominated the red wine category in this report. With aromas of red and black fruit on the nose, with hints of pepper and spice, this is a surprisingly dense wine, offering an experience that is smooth and rounded on the palate. Scoring 99 out of 100 it is also an exceptional wine, but at R765 a bottle it’s likely to be out of most budgets in this country.

Young winemaker of the year went to Bernhard Bredell whose Scions of Sinai has been delivering quality across the board from their Nomadis Cinsaut/Pinotage blend to the sublime Granietsteen Chenin Blanc. The latter being a wine of deep complexity offering baked apple, peach, pineapple and just a slight edge of honeycomb on the aroma and following that promise up on the palate with a solid dose of tangy acidity.

As fans of the vineyard, and particularly their Mount Bullet Merlot and the elegant Pinot Noir, we were delighted to see James Downes of Shannon Vineyards named Grower of the Year.

Other awards went to:

Red Wine Discovery of the Year: 2018 AA Badenhorst Ringmuur Cinsault, Swartland
White Wine Discovery of the Year: 2018 Wolf and Woman Chenin Blanc, Swartland
Best Cellar Door Experience: Creation
Co-operative of the Year: Windmeul Kelder
Winemaking Legend: Gyles Webb of Thelema Mountain Vineyards
Overall Rosé of the Year: 2019 Holder Dorper Elmie Rosé, Stellenbosch
Overall Sparkling Wine of the Year: 2014 Graham Beck Cuvée Clive, Western Cape
Overall Sweet Wine of the Year: 2016 Klein Constantia Vin de Constance, Constantia
Overall Fortified Wine of the Year: 2017 De Krans Cape Vintage Reserve, Calitzdorp