In its 3rd year of running, the 2021 Malbec Challenge had its highest number of entries to date, 32 wines from the 2015 to 2020 vintages, which is just over half of the malbecs listed in the current Platter Guide. Particularly pleasing was the increase in first-time entries, and in fact one of them, DA Hanekom Familie Wyne Langrug Malbec 2018 from Durbanville, was also the overall winner.
There were 14 gold medals (90+ points) awarded by the three internationally experienced judges, Carrie Adams from Johannesburg, and Cape Wine Masters Ginette de Fleuriot and Christine Rudman, the panel chair.
The judging out of 100 points was done “blind” with no regional or vintage information, and monitored by auditor Niel de Kock from Cecil Kilpin.
Commenting on the quality of the wines, the panel agreed that the majority had plushness, good berry expression and lovely drinkability. The producers who did best, respected the variety’s succulence by careful oaking so as not to overwhelm the fruit. While malbec is a Bordeaux variety, the danger can be to treat it like its 4 siblings – cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, merlot and petit verdot, by use of new oak or long barrel-ageing, and there were a few such examples in the tasting.
A juicy, soft-skinned variety, malbec requires care in the vineyard to avoid over-cropping or sunburn damage, and in the cellar quick and careful fermentation to prevent oxidation.
The winning winery (highest score overall) receives a Tonnellerie De Mercurey barrel of either 225, 228 or 300ℓ according to their requirement, thanks to RX South Africa, the Malbec Challenge sponsor since 2019.
D.A. Hanekom Familie Wyne is a small, independent wine producer established in 2016 by the husband-and-wife team of Andri and Yvette Hanekom. What started off as a hobby, quickly became a small business for the couple as their passion and drive to produce wines of exceptional quality continued to grow.
During a decade of farming within the wine industry, producing and acquiring grapes for different prestigious cellars, Andri became familiar with a wide range of different parcels of vines in the Cape Winelands. This knowledge became invaluable in obtaining the grapes necessary to produce a growing, high-end range of wines.
The couple view their wines as a respectful embodiment of the terroir of the farms on which the grapes were grown, as well as the hard work of the individuals who tended to the vines and wine.
Their malbec is sourced from Bloemendal Wine Estate, were Andri works fulltime as the General Manager and Cellar Master. There is 1 ha of malbec planted on the estate.
The wine was made as an experiment to better the quality of Bloemendal’s Waterlily brand. The wine turned out to be too good to disappear into a larger blend and it was decided to bottle this limited release Malbec under the “D.A. Hanekom Familie Wyne” brand.
The results in alphabetical order:
D A Hanekom Familie Wyne Langrug Malbec 2018
Anura Malbec Reserve 2018
Bellevue Malbec 2018
Blaauwklippen Malbec 2020
Diemersdal Malbec 2020
Doolhof Bloedklip Malbec 2017
Doolhof Bloedklip Malbec 2018
Mount Vernon Malbec 2018
Neethlingshof Malbec 2020
Perdeberg The Vineyard Collection Malbec 2020
Spijker Bessie Wyne Spijker Malbec 2019
Benguela Cove Malbec 2019
Blake’s Single Vineyard Malbec 2020
Diemersfontein Carpe Diem Malbec 2020
Doolhof Bloedklip Malbec 2020
Doolhof Single Vineyard Malbec 2019
Doolhof Single Vineyard Malbec 2020
Dornier Malbec 2018
GlenWood Chanteclair Malbec 2019
Hillcrest Saartjie Single Vineyard Selection Malbec 2019
La Couronne 1688 Malbec 2018
La Couronne Malbec 2017
Le Pommier Jonathan’s Malbec 2020
Mitre’s Edge Malbec 2018
Post House Reserve Malbec 2019
Val du Charron Reserve Malbec 2020
Withington Darling Malbec 2020