I am pretty partial to a good Shiraz. It’s just the type of indulgence that goes well with a crackling fire and rain hammering against the window. Are you with me? Then you’ll be interested in this line-up as well.
The annual Shiraz Challenge awards ceremony was held on 31 May in Rhebokskloof Wine Estate, Paarl, where the top Shiraz wines were announced. According to SA Shiraz chairperson Edmund Terblanche, some 220 wines vied for inclusion in the top spot. Initially they focused on Shiraz only but later decided to include blends where Shiraz was the leading component.
So without further ado, here are the wines you want to be drinking this season. Yum yum! FYI, you’ll be able to shop mixed batches of the winning wines at cybercellar.co.za.
And the top choices in the Shiraz Challenge 2017 are
Cederberg Shiraz 2015
D’Aria The Soprano Shiraz 2015
Eagle’s Nest Shiraz 2014
Fairview Beacon Shiraz 2014
Fairview Swartland Shiraz 2014
Flagstone Dark Horse Shiraz 2013
KWV Cathedral Cellar Shiraz 2015
La Motte Pierneef Syrah Viognier 2015
Rustenberg Buzzard Kloof Syrah 2015
Saronsberg Shiraz 2015
Strandveld Syrah 2013
Wildekrans Barrel Select Reserve Shiraz 2015
Top 3 Shiraz blends:
Bellingham The Bernard Series SMV 2014
Rustenberg Stellenbosch RM Nicholson 2015
Saronsberg Full Circle 2015
Top performing producers
Shiraz SA also honoured a handful of cellars for their consistently high achievements over the first five years of the competition, based on their number of winning wines and number of finalist wines during this time, namely Cederberg, KWV, Fairview, Eagles’ Nest and Saronsberg.
- Only two producers, Cederberg Winery and KWV, have consistently staked their claim on the much-coveted list of top Shiraz wines with wins in every year of the competition.
- KWV is the only cellar to have won a duo of awards in three consecutive years: 2x Shiraz winners in 2014, 2x Shiraz blend winners in 2015 and 2x Shiraz winners in 2016.
- To date Saronsberg and Fairview have each earned a whopping five trophies for their entries.
- Eagles’ Nest produced a winner or finalist in every year since the start of the competition.
About the judges
Eight esteemed judges took responsibility for the stringent adjudication process, with Dr Andy Roediger at the helm. Which started for him as a lightweight interest in wine and a consequent wine course at the Wine Academy, had led to producing his own garagist wines and completing his Cape Wine Master thesis on Phenolic ripeness in South Africa. Roediger shares his expertise with many leading wine producers by carrying out phenolic ripeness analyses on a commercial basis in his laboratory.
The rest of the judging line-up included Charles Hopkins (De Grendel cellar master), Cathy van Zyl (British Master of Wine), Pearl Oliver (head sommelier at the Taj Hotel in Cape Town), Edmund Terblanche (La Motte cellar master and Shiraz SA chairperson), Samarie Smit (wine writer and editor of Die Burger: Versnit and regular judge at Veritas and the SA Young Wine Show) and Maryna Huysamen (Cape Wine Makers Guild protégé).
International wine judge Claus Fischer joined the team for the first time. Fischer applies his academic background in chemistry in the wine environment, having focused amongst others on the development of an aroma wheel for German wines. Fischer remarked about the impressive speed of the tastings which delivered such high standard, in-depth scorings.