The announcement was made at a black tie gala dinner at the La Residence Hotel in Franschhoek on Saturday 15 November, which was attended by this year’s finalists together with Diners Club VIP guests, judges of the award and the who’s who of the Cape wine industry.
Announcing the winners, Ebrahim Matthews, Managing Director of Diners Club South Africa, says, “The Diners Club Winemaker of the Year awards make an incredible contribution towards raising the standards of the wines produced in South Africa. Each year we look forward to seeing entries from internationally recognised estates as well as smaller – but equally competitive - wine farms.
“Jacques Erasmus has been making wine since he was a young boy and Spier is well recognised locally and internationally for its outstanding wines. JD Pretorius, our young winemaker, has delivered an excellent red wine on behalf of his estate, Steenberg.
“Diners Club is honoured to acknowledge Jacques as our Winemaker of the Year and JD as our Young Winemaker of the Year for 2014.”
Dave Hughes, CWM and chairman of the judging panel, says the competition was incredibly tough this year. “Both the Winemaker and the Young Winemaker of the Year qualified with more than one wine – Jacques had two wines in the finals and JD had three, proving that their winemaking skills are consistent and worthy of their awards.
“The Diners Club Winemaker of the Year competition is all about quality, and this award assures the winemaker’s career.”
TASTING NOTES FOR WINNING WINES
Diners Club Winemaker of the Year 2014 – Jacques Erasmus
SPIER CREATIVE BLOCK 2 2014
Pale, bright lemon yellow. Lemon-tinged nose with fairly powerful fresh-cut grass backing. Still filled with boundless youth. So fruit filled that appears not totally on the palate, which it is. Slight hint fynbos honey in the background. Seamless blend with mingle of pineapple, apricot and pear. Has all the potential to develop with grace and beauty over next three to four years.
Diners Club Young Winemaker of the Year – JD Pretorius
STEENBERG MERLOT 2012
Medium depth of cherry wood colour in the core with wide, bright, youthful rim. Bright spicy nose with distinct mint in the youthful exuberance, with whiffs of cherry. Initial flow into the mouth gives a sense of sweetness and supple tannin; supple with fine concentration. Pleasant and appealing in every way with neat taste of berry fruit at the end, suggesting that time in the bottle will develop greater complexity. Has all the grace of a young thoroughbred.
This fantastic accolade follows in the footsteps of Spier Creative Block 5 2009, for which Johan Jordaan won the same award in 2011, as well as being nominated for the Spier Creative Block 3 2011 in 2013.