Vondeling Wines, the conservation champion wine farm in the heart of Voor-Paardeberg, snatched the JF Hillebrand Trophy awarded to the Top Scoring Pinotage for their Bowwood Pinotage 2015 in the annual Michelangelo International Wine Awards competition. They also scooped no less than three Gold Medals for their Babiana 2017, Petit Blanc Chenin Blanc 2018 and Merlot Reserve 2017. The awards were presented during a glitzy ceremonial dinner at the Cape Sun Hotel on Saturday 29 September.
Out of the 2,225 entries for this year’s competition, the judges handed out only 26 trophies and being presented such a prestigious accolade is certainly no small feat for this wine estate from Paarl. “Pinotage is making waves in the South African wine industry and I’m so happy that this work horse – and by that, I mean Pinotage – is finally getting the recognition that it deserves,” said Matthew Copeland, senior winemaker at Vondeling Wines. Echoes Vondeling owner, Julian Johansen: “We are exceptionally excited about the future of Pinotage for the South African wine industry and internationally the wine critics and judges are also beginning to recognise this special grape.‘‘
The Bowwood Pinotage is a limited-release wine made from a small, shy-yielding site-specific vineyard planted in clay soil which delivers tiny berries with concentrated flavour. The North-South orientation of the block means that grapes are well exposed to morning and late afternoon sun, which is perfect for intense anthocyanin (colour pigment) and aroma development.
Copeland describes the Bowwood as having, ‘a delightfully intense plum and berry bouquet with a hint of sweet cloves and vanilla oak. Bold berry fruit and ripe dark plums persist on the palate, nicely supported by smoky vanilla and spicy coconut. The palate is broad and rich with great fruit intensity, soft acidity and abundant finely texture tannins. A full-flavoured modern wine with international finesse’.
It comes as no surprise that Vondeling’s Chenin Blanc has also fared well in this judicious international wine competition, as wine made from the same vineyard block is used for the base wine of the estate’s reputable flagship white blend, Babiana, both receiving gold medals in this highly recognised competition. Made from grapes planted on the south-facing slopes of the Paardeberg mountain, these vineyards are composed exclusively of shy bearing, well-weathered granite soils. In 2018 it produced a low crop of only 9 tons per hectare, ensuring an incredible concentration and bold flavours, without losing freshness.
A third gold medal was awarded to the estate’s soon-to-be-released Merlot Reserve 2017. Made to celebrate an isolated, clay-rich site high on the slopes of the farm, would-be buyers will have to wait until early 2019 before the wine is released.
The Michelangelo 2018 judging panel comprised 30 judges from 16 countries and included South Africa’s own Cape Wine Master, Dr Winifred Bowman, and leading sommeliers Tinashe Nyamudoka and Miguel Chan, amongst others.
The Vondeling Bowwood Pinotage 2015 is available from select specialist retailers nationwide or at the Vondeling Tasting Room at R335 per bottle. The Vondeling Petit Blanc Chenin Blanc 2018 sells for R75, the Babiana for R198, and the Merlot Reserve will be selling for R145 once released.
For more information visit www.vondelingwines.co.za or contact Vondeling Wines on 021 869 8393