It was the 31st time that the Winemaker of the Year Award, one of the most prestigious competitions for the South African wine industry, has been made and the 11th time in the case of the Young Winemaker’s.
Entrants are judged every year in a different wine category. This year participants in the Winemaker of the Year competition were judged for their Bordeaux-style red blends while young winemakers competed for the title with dry white wines.
Jordaan won the award for his 2009 Spier Creative Block 5, a blend of the five classical varietals that make up the Bordeaux-style blend. His was chosen from 110 entries, among the highest number yet received for the Winemaker of the Year. In addition to the trophy he also receives a return ticket to any wine-producing country in the world plus a travel allowance.
The Creative Block 5 to win Johan Jordaan the title is a Cabernet Sauvignon-led blend, that also includes Merlot, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc and Malbec which together produced, according to the judges, “a great balance of fruit, tannins and alcohol”.
The Creative Block 5 2009 was awarded Gold: Best in Class at the International Wine and Spirits Competition earlier this year, in addition to Gold medals awarded at both Mundus Vini 2011 Concourse Mondial de Bruxelle 2011.
Matthew van Heerden won the title Young Winemaker of the Year for his 2009 Uva Mira Chardonnay.
Chairman of the judging panel Dave Hughes lauded the quality of the entries saying South African winemakers had proved once again their world-class winemaking. “The winning wines in this year’s competition are both absolutely world- class. The fact that both are from the 2009 vintage confirms the excellence of that year for winemaking. It is probably our top vintage of the past 15 years.”
Diners Club MD Ebrahim Matthews said the growing number of entries confirmed the extent to which the competition had become the benchmark for the local wine industry. “Its stature has grown over more than three decades with so many of South Africa’s foremost winemakers earning the ultimate accolade it bestows.”
In addition to Dave Hughes the other members of the judging panel were Vincent Lignac, a sixth-generation winemaker from St Émilion and this year’s international judge; wine judge and commentator Neil Pendock; Carrie Adams, wine judge and specialist liquor retailer; Margaret Fry, Cape Wine Master; Colin Frith, wine judge and honorary Cape Wine Master and Ntsiki Biyela, winemaker for Stellekaya Winery.