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2013 Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show winners

This year's Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show had more entrants but far fewer medals, showing a stronger line from judges at what is regarded as one of the toughest shows in the world. Entrants rose from 1022 to 1038.
2013 Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show winnersThe 2013 Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show saw the number of entries judged rise slightly to 1038 from last year's 1022. In spite of the drop in medal count, at the post-judging industry feedback session, the regular panellists - as well as the overseas judges with prior experience of the competition - commented on the markedly better quality of the top wines in most of the classes. Gold medals were down from 42 to 31 (leading to a commensurate drop in the number of category trophies) while silver medals fell from 178 to 77.

Low silvers slide to bronze

On the question about whether the industry has under delivered to consumers or whether the judges have been inconsistent in the message they are sending to producers and wine drinkers, chairman, Michael Fridjhon admits its probably a bit of both.

"We recognise that the year-on-year improvements in wine quality compel us to raise the bar: in 2012 we probably did not lift it enough and perhaps this year we raised it a little too much. At the same time, we think that vintage-related factors have played a role. Last year the judges were spoilt with the array of wines from superb harvests like the 2009. This year vintage variation was undoubtedly a factor."

It is in the silver medal count that the tougher standards are revealed. "When a judging panel has to choose between awarding high bronze or low silver, it's a matter of calibration. I am involved in many of these 'threshold' decisions and this year more wines were nudged down into bronze rather than up into silver. Of course, this means that top bronzes are better than ever and represent extraordinary drinking value."

"We felt that silver was an important award. I'm not sure I know of any other show where the silver is taken quite as seriously as it is here," commented worldwide wine authority and one of this year's judges, Oz Clarke.

Usual suspects score well

The Fairbairn Capital Trophy for the Show's top performing winery went to Stark-Condé Wines, a frequent trophy, gold and silver medallist, which has been regularly amongst the show's top ten performing producers but, until this year, never reached the number one position. In second place was KWV, last year's winner, while Delaire Graff occupied the third slot. The 'usual suspects' were to be found amongst the trophy and gold medal laureates: Rustenberg, whose 2010 Five Soldiers Chardonnay was a gold medal winner in 2012, won the trophy this year with its 2011 vintage. Delheim, whose 2011 Edelspatz Noble Late Harvest won the 2012 dessert wine trophy, was back on the winners' podium this year with its 2012 vintage. Paul Cluver, whose Chardonnay has been a top silver, or gold, or trophy-winner over the past three years, took the gold medal for its 2011. Nederburg, Rijk's, Eikendal, Jordan, Nuy, Cederberg and Diemersfontein are all back again this year with trophies and gold medals.

Hat trick for Rijk's Cellar

Rijk's Cellar was the first winner of the Harold Eedes Trophy for the Best Chenin Blanc (in 2010 with its 2009 Touch of Oak). This year the Chenin Blanc Reserve 2008 garnered a hat trick of trophies: the Harold Eedes Trophy for Best Chenin Blanc, the Old Mutual Trophy for Best White Wine Overall and the Old Mutual International Judges' Trophy.

Newcomers in gold, new category

Amongst the first time gold medal winners are Diemersdal, JC Le Roux and Graham Beck.

The Eikendal Charisma 2011, winner of the Best Shiraz-based Red Blend Trophy collected the Old Mutual Discovery of the Show award. The Trophy is awarded to the Gold Medallist whose final score - at the trophy judging - divided by its declared price on the entry form, yields the highest index (adjusted for category). In short, it is an award for the best value Gold Medal wine.

Sauvignon Blanc - a key category now has a new trophy. Nestlé Pure Life Water has chosen to sponsor this class - of which Oz Clarke said, "I think the Sauvignon Blanc is important for South Africa. You have an ability in South Africa to make more different styles of Sauvignon Blanc probably than any other country in the world."

"For me, what was astounding was how much better the top wines are than they were eight years ago. The wines are much finer, they have a much better balance of tannins, they have beautiful detail on the aromas. There is a purity and vibrancy in the wines and they have a lovely mouth feel and finish and that is what was exciting about this show. All the judges felt the same," said Australian Tom Carson, chief winemaker at Yabby Lakes and past chairman of the Australian National Wine Show.

Museum Class entries grow

Museum Class entries continued the 2012 trend of accounting for at least 5% of the submissions - and revealed what was clearly a change in emphasis amongst the country's super-premium wineries. "In the past, they were intent on using the show results to drive sales of current release wines," observes Fridjhon. "Now they are also sending a message about the age-ability and age-worthiness of their best vintages. Since this coincides with a wider industry commitment to focus attention on the age-worthiness of our best wines, we're delighted with the growth of the Museum Class numbers." This year saw 3 Museum Class trophies, 1 Museum Class gold, 8 silvers and 18 bronze. The growth in Museum Class entries has led to creation of the Old Mutual Trophy for the highest scoring Museum Class gold medallist. This year the inaugural winner is Jordan for the 2009 Riesling.??

"Old Mutual is proud of its 12 year sponsorship of the country's top wine competition," said Robert Mafuna, Old Mutual's sponsorship and events executive. "Not only does it provide us with an opportunity to build relationships with wine lovers all over South Africa, but it enables us to play a crucial role in discovering talent and highlighting it both locally and on the international stage."

Tastings circuit

Within the next two weeks, a series of tastings will be taken to seven major centres countrywide including East London followed by a Masterclass in Windhoek. Wine lovers in Cape Town and Johannesburg will be able to taste from 105 trophy, gold, silver and some Museum Class medal-winning wines in 38 judging categories.

They can also buy wines (while stocks are available) at special show prices via show fulfilment partner Makro. Those attending the public tastings will receive a copy of the Icons - the 168-page show guide - which contains details of all the winning wines, chapters contributed by Tom Carson and Oz Clarke, vintage information and advice about wine service. Icons will also be distributed with the July issue of WineLand.

Johannesburg: Friday 7 June 2013 6-9pm - Sandton Convention Centre (Bill Gallagher Room)
Cape Town: Thursday 13 June 2013 5-8.30pm - CTICC Ballroom East
Tickets are available from Computicket and (subject to availability) at the door for R150 per person.


Fairbairn Capital Trophy for Most Successful ProducerStark-Condé Wines
Old Mutual International Judges' TrophyRijk's Chenin Blanc Reserve 2008
Old Mutual Trophy for Best Museum Class WineJordan Riesling 2009
Old Mutual Trophy for Best Sparkling WineJC le Roux Scintilla 2003
Old Mutual Trophy for Discovery of the ShowEikendal Charisma 2011
Old Mutual Trophy for Best Dessert WineDelheim Edelspatz Noble Late Harvest 2012
Old Mutual Trophy for Best Red Wine Delaire Graff Botmaskop 2010
Old Mutual Trophy for Best White WineRijk's Chenin Blanc Reserve 2008
American Express Trophy for Best Cabernet Sauvignon Stark-Condé Stellenbosch Cabernet Sauvignon 2010
Harold Eedes Trophy for Best Chenin BlancRijk's Chenin Blanc Reserve 2008
Just Riesling Trophy for Best RieslingJordan Riesling 2009 (Museum Class)
Miele Trophy for the Best ChardonnayRustenberg Five Soldiers 2011
Nestlé Pure Life Trophy for Best Sauvignon BlancCederberg Sauvignon Blanc 2012 - unwooded
Riedel Trophy for Best Bordeaux-style BlendDiemersdal MM Louw Estate Red 2011
Best Dessert Wine FortifiedNuy Wit Muskadel 2007
Best Museum Class ChardonnayNuy Chardonnay 2009 (Museum Class)
Best Niche Red Variety KWV The Mentors Petit Verdot 2011
Best PinotageDiemersfontein Carpe Diem Pinotage Reserve 2011
Best Red BlendDelaire Graff Botmaskop 2010
Best Sauvignon Blanc Jordan The Outlier Sauvignon Blanc 2012 - wooded
Best Sauvignon Blanc Museum ClassKWV The Mentors Sauvignon Blanc 2009 (Museum Class)
Best Sauvignon Blanc Semillon Blend Delaire Graff Sauvignon Blanc Semillon Reserve 2011
Best ShirazStark-Condé Three Pines Syrah
Best Shiraz-based BlendEikendal Charisma 2011 Shiraz-based Blend

Other gold medal winners

Asara Wine EstateAsara Vineyard Collection Shiraz 2010
Ashton KelderRoodewal 2011
DelheimDelheim Cabernet Sauvignon 2009
Flagstone WinesFlagstone Free Run - Elim Reserve 2011
Graham Beck WinesGraham Beck Bowed Head Chenin Blanc 2011
Hillcrest EstateHillcrest Estate Hornfels 2011
KWVKWV Abraham Perold Insignis 2011
MAN VintnersMAN Vintners Chardonnay 2006 (Museum Class)
Nederburg WinesNederburg Private Bin Eminence 2008
Nederburg WinesNederburg Winemaster's Reserve Noble Late Harvest 2012
Paul Cluver WinesPaul Cluver Chardonnay 2011
Rustenberg WinesRustenberg Stellenbosch Shiraz 2011
Simonsig Estate Simonsig Woolworths Exclusive Selection Chenin Blanc "Sur Lie" 2012

For a full set of results, go to

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