Diners Club Announces Winemaker of the Year 2013

The winners of the coveted Diners Club Winemaker of the Year Award were announced on Saturday 30 November 2013 at a glittering gala event held at La Residence in Franschhoek.

Christiaan Groenewald of New Cape Wines takes the honours as Winemaker of the Year for his Arendskloof Voetspore 2011. The Young Winemaker of the Year award goes to Murray Barlow of Rustenberg Wines for his Stellenbosch Chardonnay 2012.

The Diners Club Winemaker of the Year Awards is regarded as the country’s most prestigious and well-respected wine industry competition. “I am very impressed with the quality of the entries this year and congratulations to our outstanding winners.” says Diners Club South Africa Managing Director, Ebrahim Matthews. This, the highest accolade in the South African wine industry, is now in its 33rd year and it remains the dream of any local winemaker to bear the title. Great names in winemaking, such as Gunther Brözel, Beyers Truter, Walter Finlayson and Johan Jordaan, owe part of their success to this initiative and the prestigious award.

Dave Hughes, chairperson of the judging panel, confirmed that Christaan’s Arendskloof Voetspore 2011 was chosen from a record number of 87 entries for this year’s category of non-Bordeaux red blends.

There were 51 entries for the Young Winemaker of the Year in the category of dry white wines. Shiraz, Grenache, Mourvedre and Cinsault are still growing in popularity and winemakers are beginning to experiment with Italian and Portuguese varieties. The quality of uncommon combinations was exceptionally good this year,” says Hughes.

Tasting Notes: ARENDSKLOOF TANNAT SYRAH VOETSPORE 2011

Distinctly different nose packed with ripe plum, prunes and hints of treacle and anise. Rich red berries with dark rose in the background. Dark chocolate is there with hints of vanilla and cinnamon. Some tarry tones emerge at the edges. Firm tannins give great grip in full, ripe-fruited mouth. Great depth of flavours that follow the nose with an addition of clove and dark cherry. Beautifully managed oak. Long finish and loads of potential.

Tasting Notes: RUSTENBERG STELLENBOSCH CHARDONNAY 2012

Very attractive, sweet-fruited nose with complex fermentation aromas with citrus, melon and light oak support. Vibrant, fresh acidity in the mouth with layers of flavour following the nose and grapefruit becoming more apparent. Creamy flow across the palate. Lots of potential to develop over a number of years to come.

Photo: Winemaker and Young Winemaker of the Year with the judges. From left to right: Dave Hughes, Suné Eksteen, Christiaan Groenewald, Murray Barlow, Nomonde Khubeka and Neil Pendock.

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