Matt his Bowwood team

VONDELING 2016 Bowwood Pinotage has claimed a place as one of the best in South Africa with its first-ever win in the Absa Top 10 Pinotage awards announced at Boschendal today [SUBS: Wednesday, 14 August 2019].

The winning Vondeling Bowwood 2016 is only the third vintage of Pinotage made at Vondeling and ranked in the top 10 alongside some of the wine industry’s most long-standing and distinguished names in Pinotage.

“The Absa Top 10 is the biggest event there is for Pinotage and is known as a reliable indicator of the very best of Pinotage in South Africa, and so just making the list of 20 finalists for the first time was a thrill, especially as a very young producer. Taking a Top 10 trophy home is absolutely fantastic and we’re so proud to have made it into a list that features some of the most venerable names in Pinotage,” an elated Vondeling winemaker Matthew Copeland said.

Last year, the second vintage, 2015, was awarded the JF Hillebrand Trophy for Best Pinotage overall in the Michelangelo International Wine and Spirits Award. The 2014 achieved 4.5 stars in the 2017 and 2018 editions of the Platter’s South African Wine Guide, and the 2015 was rated as 4 stars in the 2019 guide.

“This shows the consistency we are already achieving vintage after vintage. It’s a tribute to our small, site-specific, low-yielding Pinotage vineyard that delivers tiny berries packed with concentrated flavour and intense colour,” said viticulturist Magnus Joubert.

Vondeling Bowwood 2016 made the top 20 finalists’ list for the first time this year and was the only wine from the small Voor Paardeberg ward in the Paarl district to feature in the competition.

“We make the Bowwood Pinotage with the specific intention that it must rival the very best wines in the world, and a focus on making a wine of exceptional ageability. Accolades like these confirm that we are on the right track,” Copeland said.

In Copeland’s characteristic no-gimmicks style of “an honest expression of the origins of the fruit”, Vondeling Bowwood Pinotage 2016 is made from whole-fermented grapes, allowing for gradual extraction of tannins and colour, promoting finesse, balance and longevity. The wine is basket-pressed to new and second-fill American oak barrels where malolactic fermentation promotes harmony and seamless integration of flavours.

Each vintage is three years in the making: After 12 months’ maturation on the lees, the best eight barrels are selected and blended, and then returned to barrel for a further six months, followed by four months in stainless-steel tank. Once bottled, the wine matures for a further year before release, resulting, says Copeland, in a wine that is well matured and drinkable on release, but will reveal its full potential over time with additional cellaring.

The Bowwood has rich purple and red hues, an intense blackberry and cherry bouquet interlaced with sweet cloves and subtle vanilla oak. The wine is sensuous, with bold fruit and subtle spice aromatics persisting on the palate, with undertones of roasted almond and cigar. Tannins are finely textured, the palate broad and rich complemented by soft acidity – “a luxurious, full-flavoured modern expression of Pinotage” says Copeland.

Vondeling Bowwood Pinotage 2016 is available from selected specialist retailers and at the cellar door for R370.