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The world’s Top Red Varietal is South Africa’s Pinotage

The 2009 ‘Decanter’ World Wine Awards this year attracted 10,285 entries, cementing it as the world’s biggest wine competition. The results were announced during the first week of September, and the International Trophy for Top Red Single Varietal over £10 was awarded to the Kaapzicht Steytler Pinotage 2006.

It is an historical moment for the South African wine industry as this country’s homegrown red wine cultivar Pinotage delivered the wine that was chosen as the best single varietal red wine out of all the wines entered from all over the world. It also happened at a very appropriate time, as the very first award ever received by a Pinotage wine was exactly 50 years ago, when the Pinotage from Bellevue Estate received the Genl. Smuts trophy as the best young wine in South Africa.

Kaapzicht Estate
in the Bottelary Hills is owned by the Steytler family and has now repeated a historical breakthrough for Pinotage. At the 2004 International Wine and Spirits Competition (IWSC) in London, the Kaapzicht Steytler Vision 2001 became the first so-called Cape Blend (a blend containing Pinotage, in this case 40%), to be chosen as the overall best red blend in the world. More than 30 wine producing countries participated at the 2004 IWSC.

The grapes for that blend and the Kaapzicht Steytler Pinotage 2006 that won the 2009 Decanter World Wine Award came from the same bush vines on Kaapzicht Estate, on the northwest facing slopes of the Bottelary Hills. The Kaapzicht Steytler Vision 2006 also received gold at this year’s Decanter Awards, containing 35% of the same Pinotage.

“Bottelary Hills is a prime winegrowing terroir for red wine. The northwestern slopes have the perfect combination of direct sunlight and cool prevailing sea breezes from False Bay and Atlantic Ocean. The hills on our estate are situated only 20 km from the coast of False Bay. The medium potential soils and dry land vineyards produce low yields of 4 to 8 tons per hectare, thus creating small berries with concentrated flavours,” says Danie Steytler, cellarmaster and co-owner of Kaapzicht Estate.

“Pinotage is a very versatile red wine variety and the Kaapzicht Steytler Pinotage from those vineyards is a shining example of the serious, well-oaked, full-bodied style to be enjoyed with food, especially venison, red meat, traditional South African dishes and cheeses.”

Cape Wine Master Elsie Pels describes the wine as a Pinotage with deep layers of rich black fruit, mulberry and spiced plums supported by beautifully integrated flavours. “Harmonious, powdery tannins give definition to the multi-layered fruit; richly textured, yet elegant with balance to age beautifully.”

The Kaapzicht Steytler Pinotage 2006 was matured in new French oak barrels for 24 months and the grand result in the bottle became history for South Africa’s Pinotage, being chosen as the world’s top single varietal wine at the world’s biggest wine competition.

Other awards won include:
2009 International Wine Competition: UK – Silver Medal
2009 Premium Select Wine Challenge: Germany – Gold Medal, 4 stars
Veritas 2008 – Gold

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