Badsberg Wine Cellar basked in wine accolade glory at the 2016 SA Young Wine Awards on Saturday 20 August, taking home coveted trophies.
Cellar master Willie Burger and his formidable winemaking team left the stage with the competition’s two top trophies. Their wooded Pinotage was awarded the desirable General Smuts Trophy for overall SA Champion young wine for 2016. “This is the third time in 10 years that a red wine hailing from the Breedekloof strip has won the General Smuts Trophy”, Burger commented with pride. Badsberg also clinched the Pietman Hugo Trophy for the highest score with five best entries for an impressive sixth time. What is equally notable, he added, is that Badsberg is the first cellar to have twice won both trophies in the same year: 2009 and 2016.
Their winning streak continued with a trio of SA Champion trophies. The top-performing wooded Pinotage was also named SA Champion Pinotage. The Badsberg Chardonnay/Chenin Blanc (wooded) and Chenin Blanc (wooded) won SA Champion trophies for White Blend and Chenin Blanc respectively.
When asked about the winning formula of their success, Burger is humble. He states that the notion is actually quite simple, “you start with quality grapes from quality vineyard sites and a quality product is the result” – a philosophy they maintain year on year. He emphasizes that their success is underpinned by a great team of winemakers (four in total), adding that a good understanding of one another, together with good quality grapes, makes for a winning recipe.
Bon Courage also took a bow on stage with two SA Champion trophies for Natural Sweet White Wine and Noble Late Harvest. Jacques Bruwer, winemaker at Bon Courage, states that there are four factors of cardinal importance for a [wine] farm to be successful: finance, marketing, viticulture and what happens in the cellar. Although a truer recipe, he adds, could be love of the trade, hard work and plenty of grace from above.
Bruwer pays homage to the farm’s location as playing a big role, where unique soil types make for a major contributing factor. The Natural Sweet wine is from a single vineyard Weisser Riesling block. He says, “grapes are harvested at full ripeness and when showing signs of noble rot. Fermentation is then stopped when two thirds complete.” He mentions, also, the importance of sugar and acidity being in harmony with one another.
The triumph of their Noble Late Harvest is attributed to single vineyard Gewürztraminer, where the grapes are pressed last at full botrytis stage. Bruwer’s secret tip here: “the biggest challenge in making this wine is to be patient – it’s a waiting game – you do not hurry it!” What he emphasizes most of all, however, is their total dependence on what nature gives them and minimal intervention in the cellar.
SA Champion trophies were also awarded to: Flagstone SA Champion Sémillon, Namaqua Wines SA Champion Sauvignon Blanc, Spier SA Champion Chardonnay (wooded), Van Loveren SA Champion Other White Cultivar (Colombar), Diemersdal SA Champion Red Blend (Cabernet Sauvignon/Shiraz, wooded), Nuy SA Champion Shiraz (wooded), Alto SA Champion Cabernet Sauvignon (wooded), DGB Boschendal SA Champion Merlot (wooded), KWV SA Champion Other Red Cultivar (Petit Verdot, wooded), Boplaas SA Champion Port, Excelsior Vlakteplaas SA Champion Dessert Wine (Red Jerepigo), OWK Keimoes SA Champion Muscadel (White Muscadel, wooded).
For more information and results from this year’s competition visit www.youngwineshow.co.za. Stay connected with SA Young Wine on social media on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ for the latest news. Join the conversation using #sayoungwine.