SAWi fine wine awards 2018
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The SAWi system distils the collective wisdom of a multitude of authoritative wine competitions and wine reviews into a single point score which is consistent and drowns out much of the subjective noise of various judging panels.

Through SAWi’s Mathematical algorithm, patterns are recognized making it easy to distinguish wines which are consistently accepted as exceptional. Such wines have special value, especially given the rolling nature of adjudication over multiple years. Today, the SAWi points rating (on the 100 point scale system) sets an aspirational benchmark for quality and brings together top producers under a new brand concept promoting South Africa as a collective. In this way, SAWi showcases top South African wines, and will continue to support excellence in wine making as the catalyst for progress and development.

Multi-year Highlights

While many wineries received multiple awards, or exceeded the overall SAWi Index of 90.17 this year, it is sobering to note that the Index is up from 88.1 points. All top performing South African wines are adjudicated using the Index, and the select group of wines that score 93+ using this benchmark is termed the SAWi ‘Grand­ Wines Collection’. SAWi Award winners are chosen from this collection. Sourced from any of 585 wineries, the SAWi ‘Grand­ Wines Collection’ currently includes 479 wines, representing 202 wineries. Wines that score between 93 and 95 points are assigned Grand Gold status. Further emphasis is placed on members whose wines achieve 95+ points, with these wines assigned Platinum status and designated as the SAWi ‘Ambassadors Collection’.

Of all wines rated since 2010 only 237, representing 80 wineries, have managed to score 95+.

Highest honours             

Number of Medals                 

KWV 12, Cederberg 9, Groot Constantia 8, Paul Cluver 8, Creation 7, De Wetshof 7, Nederburg 7, Rijks 7, Sadie 7, Saronsberg 7, Annandale 6, De Grendel 6, Kleine Zalze 6, Vergelegen 6.

Top Wine Producer of the Year

De Morgenzon
Sadie Family Wines Signature Series
(runner up)

White Wine Producer of the Year
De Morgenzon
Hamilton Russell(runner up)

Red Wine Producer of the Year
Sadie Family Wines Signature Series
Saronsberg Cellar (runner up)

Brandy of the Year
Van Ryn’s 12 YO
Laborie Wine Farm Alambic Potstill
(runner up)

Wine Maker of the Year
Carl vd Merwe, DeMorgenzon

Viticulturist of the Year
Danie de Waal, DeMorgenzon

Top 20

WHITE WINE PRODUCERS OF THE YEAR

De Morgenzon Reserve Range
Hamilton Russell Vineyards
Kleine Zalze Wines Family Reserve
Cape Point Vineyards
Stellenrust
Nederburg Wines
Ken Forrester Wines Icon Range
Villiera Wines MCC
Cederberg David Nieuwoudt Ghost Corner
Groot Constantia Estate
Kleine Zalze Wines Vineyard Selection
Paul Cluver Estate Wines
Jordan Wine Estate
Graham Beck MCC
Fleur du Cap
KWV Mentors Range
Sadie Family Wines Signature Series
David en Nadia Sadie
Mullineux & Leeu Family Wines
Rijk’s Private Cellar

 

Top 20

PRODUCERS OF THE YEAR

De Morgenzon Reserve Range
Sadie Family Wines Signature Series
Saronsberg Cellar
Hamilton Russell Vineyards
Rijk's Private Cellar Reserve Range
Vriesenhof Vineyards
La Motte
Bouchard Finlayson
De Toren Private Cellar
Kanonkop Estate
Groot Constantia Estate
Cape Point Vineyards
Tokara Directors Reserve
Vergelegen Wines
KWV Mentors Range
Annandale Wines
Kleine Zalze Wines Family Reserve
Reyneke Wines Reserve
Nederburg Wines
Paul Cluver Estate Wines

Top 20
RED WINE PRODUCERS OF THE YEAR
Sadie Family Wines Signature Series
Saronsberg Cellar
La Motte
Raats Family Wines
Bouchard Finlayson
Rijk's Private Cellar
Vriesenhof Vineyards
De Toren Private Cellar
Kanonkop Estate
Eagles' Nest
Annandale Wines
Wildekrans Wine Estate Barrel Select Range
Creation Wines
Groot Constantia Estate
KWV
Mullineux & Leeu Family Wines
Cederberg Private Cellar
Rustenberg Wines
KWV Mentors Range
Morgenster Estate

Comment on Achievements

Cape White and Red Bordeaux and Rhone Blends, Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Pinot Noir, Dessert Wines and Cape Ports again received the highest average point scores. Shiraz shows the most wines (55) in the GWC, followed by Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc and Cape Bordeaux blends all in the upper forties. The success of Cape Rhone Red Blends further adds to the stronghold for Shiraz. This blend has certainly much potential to excel further with a wide spread coming from various regions. Grenache is gaining more attention as a single cultivar wine but Malbec is still slow to follow.

Chardonnay, also called the noblest white grape variety, Succeeds in a number of styles, from un-oaked to richly oaked. It remains one of the GWC drivers while being a favourite for blending in Méthode Cap Classic sparkling wines. Chenin Blanc had very fine performances showing interesting style differences. It shows the same versatility as a leader in blended wines too. This has become a category that are noticeably excelling. 

Next to follow in terms of the success table is Cape Red Bordeaux Blends. This cross-regional blend of the Bordeaux type blend in France, acts like Cape Rhône blends, to combine different virtues into a wine which at its best, is greater than the sum of its parts is well exploited locally to be another stronghold here.

Sauvignon Blanc is the third main white wine cultivar and also part of the tradition in defining South African wines. Its representation in the GWC is less strong than Chardonnay or Chenin Blanc, also in points averages. However, where Sauvignon Blanc does show its metal is in White Wine Rhone Blends in combination with Semillon. This is a category which could convert more wines into the 95+ class tier.

There are other single cultivar white wines also showing up in much smaller numbers like before, including the traditional Cape Riesling and Gewürtstraminer. It is rather Semillon and Viognier that show the potential to see many more wines being ranked.

Other white wine blends combined only have two representative wines in the GWC and seems not yet to attract serious attention as this remains an all sorts category. Up next is for bragging rights is Pinot Noir which is very terroir specific and particularly excels in the unique Hermanus and Elgin soil types. It once again showed up an exceptional performance. The top 10 list here seems not to deviate much but for others on the brink of making the rankings almost ready to show true muscle too.

So, what is next? Well, there is no simple definition of a dessert wine but it includes many made from a grape what is called in a state of noble rot. The position of this category here could be expected given the variety of this wine style that all other countries share. Now to turn to Cabernet Sauvignon which, along with a few other red wine cultivars, used to be in some way the traditional backbone of the industry here. Today it still fills the biggest portion of hectares planted but happens to have half the numbers than Shiraz in the GWC.

This could partly be ascribed to the fact that like elsewhere it rather does better in red wine blends, although not really as a leading cultivar outside Bordeaux blends. Merlot shows the same tendency as Cabernet While specifically sensitive to drought and high temperatures, it just seems not to be a meaningful contributor as a single cultivar to the success of SA’s ’fine wine’ story apart from its role in Bordeaux blends. While Merlot contributes less than half of its production to single cultivar wines, this shouldn’t provide a negative reflection about how good some examples are.

Pinotage is the hallmark of South Africa’s own wine variety. Its vineyards are the 5th most planted grape here. It has in fact the highest average score in the GWC but only 32 wines represented or less than 7% of the GWC wines with a much smaller selection to choose from.

The general name for Cape Blends refers to Pinotage led wine examples and is perhaps the least exiting success story. This is a wine which can be preferred as a personal choice as there are indeed great examples around and the low numbers shouldn’t be merely discarded. Méthode Cap Classic Sparkling Wines show good growth and is expected that many more will convert into the 95+. However, while there is ample activity in this category, results are bound to improve further.

The list of Cape Port represented in the GWC hasn’t changed much with the position of top contender changing regularly amongst the top three producers who each shows several examples in the GWC. Brandies are another of the categories to be proud of. Not only does it regularly outperform others being selected as the world’s best. The strongest challenge often comes from own shores.

Visit www.sawineindex.com for more information and the full Grand Wine Collection list.

 


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