More than 90% of all wines produced in South Africa fall in the below R130 price category, and there is very little guidance for consumers about the best value-for-money wines, especially in the lower price categories. The Gold Wine Awards identifies worthy wines to give sales a boost, while helping the consumer make more informed wine-buying choices.
Over two days panels convened for the 6th annual Gold Wine Awards. The men and women selected were tasked to put a seal of excellence on wines delivering quality at below R130 per bottle in a double “blind” tasting. For the first time the top performing producers will be able to use a sticker on their bottle proclaiming their Top 10 position.
The Top 10 are:
Nicholson Smith Agencies
Rietvallei Wine Estate
Van Loveren Family Vineyards
These producers really stood out from the pack and lead the way. The standard of the winning wines was beyond a doubt outstanding, considering that the wines are selling below R130 per bottle. All consumers are looking for more bang for their buck and it seems that South African wine is where it can still be found.
The shining stars in the tastings were:
The 2019 sauvignon blanc wines were generally well made, with remarkable ripeness, not too high acids and amazing fruitiness. This category is the biggest category and is usually a very good indicator for the year’s quality.
The 2019 chenin blanc category had some excellent examples of the cultivar, with lots of diverse styles. The 2018 wines still showed well with good fruit and a good lingering aftertaste. Chenin blanc was the second biggest white wine class and a testimony to how well the cultivar does in South Africa.
This cultivar again showed how underrated it is. The selection of wines showed extremely well, and hinted at the possibility that colombar could just be the next big thing.
The chardonnays showed really well while not being over-oaked. The wooded chardonnays were generally well balanced and showed good minerality.
Shiraz was the second biggest red class, and showed so much diversity that panel members all had their favourites. The wooding differed a lot between styles, but overall the wines were well integrated and well balanced. There definitely seems to be a trend away from overripe, big styles.
Pinotage as a category really surprised with its quality below R130 per bottle. The flavours were generally full, and the wines were concentrated with good integration of tannin and acidity.
Grenache & tinta barocca
Grenache and tinta barocca impressed with layers of flavour, and beautiful balance between tannin, fruit and acidity.
The red blends did well showing great diversity, with the Bordeaux blends leading the way in quality.
The 2019 harvest was smaller than last year’s already small crop, and the smallest since 2005. Many vineyards are beyond mature in age and yields are dwindling. Producers are under financial strain when it comes to replanting and vineyard area is 6% smaller than five years ago. All these factors indicate that local consumers need to brace themselves for wine prices to rise disproportionately to inflation in the near future.