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ABSA Top 10 Winners announced
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Rijks Private Cellar in Tulbagh this year became one of the top performers in the history of the Absa Top 10 Pinotage Competition by winning a coveted Top 10 Trophy for the seventh time.


The Tulbagh producer, currently under the stewardship of cellar-master Pierre Wahl, collected Absa Top 10 trophies in 2001, 2003, 2004, 2008, 2010 and 2011 before reaching the magic number seven at this year’s Top 10 awards.

This year’s winning wine was its Private Cellar Pinotage 2008, while its Reserve Pinotage 2008 was also one of the 20 top finalists. The 2012 Absa Top 10 Pinotage Awards were announced in Stellenbosch on 31 August.

Stellenbosch Estate Simonsig also proved its consistency as a Pinotage producer of excellence by clinching its fifth Top 10 award for the Red Hill Pinotage, this year from the 2010 vintage.

While Rijk’s and Simonsig further established their mastery of South Africa’s most famous indigenous grape variety, Durbanville was the most successful wine region at this year’s Absa Top 10.

Altydgedacht and Diemersdal Estates each took a Top 10 Trophy with their Pinotages from the 2011 vintage along with their neighbour Durbanville Hills, whose Rhinofields Pinotage 2011 got the judges’ nod.

The other wines in the Top 10 list were Spier 21 Gables Pinotage 2010, Swartland Bush Vines Pinotage 2010, Wellington Wines La Cave Pinotage 2010, Windmeul Cellar Reserve Pinotage 2011 and newcomer Painted Wolf’s Guillermo Pinotage 2009.

The Absa Top 10 Pinotage Competition, which began in 1997 to increase the awareness of Pinotage and to encourage wine-making excellence in this South African variety, attracted 132 entries for this year’s Competition. This is 14 more entries than were received for last year’s event.

“Today we are able to say that the birth of the Absa Top 10 Competition in 1997 was a key moment in the history of Pinotage,” says Beyers Truter, Chairman of the Pinotage Association. “The competition’s inclusive nature, where 10 wines are each awarded with a trophy for excellence, has been welcomed by the Pinotage brotherhood.

On the commercial front, the Absa Top 10 has contributed to great awareness – not only of Pinotage as a uniquely beautiful wine, but of the commitment to quality displayed by producers in terms of wine-making and viticulture practices.

“And for the producers whose wines are included in the Top 10 winners, the competition definitely gives their respective brands a marketing push.”

Bobby Malabie, Chief Executive: Absa Retail and Business Bank, notes that the Absa Top 10 Pinotage Competition has become an integral part of the company’s ethos since it chose to sponsor the event in 1997.

“We value what our customers and clients value,” he says adding that “the Absa Top 10 Pinotage Competition symbolises the importance and esteem that we place on supporting the interests and passions within the South African wine industry.

“Furthermore, as a proudly South African Bank, Absa realises the significance of contributing towards developing and showcasing the best that this country has to offer and through our association with the Pinotage Association, we are able to do just that.”

Malabie says: “It is important for Absa to align itself with events such as these, because we realise the value of combining lifestyle activities while establishing meaningful relationships with the communities in which we operate, our support of these awards is an excellent platform to engage with our key stakeholders.

Duimpie Bayly, convenor of the judging panel for this year’s Absa Top 10 says the final line-up represents a range of wines which can hold their own among any of the world’s great reds.

“Before judging commenced I made it clear to the other judges that we were not going to limit ourselves by looking for any particular style of Pinotage,” he says.

“The goal was to look for red wines that could be described as great in any language due to their elegance, balance and pure presence. During the judging process, consensus was reached that the makers of Pinotage are reaching levels never attained before and the winning 10 wines show that this grape variety can take its place alongside the great reds of any country, anywhere in the world.”

The List of Top 10 winners for 2012
•    Altydgedacht Estate 2011 (Durbanville)
•    Diemersdal Estate 2011 (Durbanville)
•    Durbanville Hills Rhinofields Pinotage 2011 (Durbanville)
•    Painted Wolf Guillermo Pinotage 2009  (Swartland)
•    Rijks Private Cellar Pinotage 2008 (Tulbagh)
•    Simonsig Estate Redhill Pinotage 2010 (Stellenbosch)
•    Spier 21 Gables Pinotage 2010 (Stellenbosch)
•    Swartland Bush Vines Pinotage 2010 (Swartland)
•    Wellington Wines La Cave Pinotage 2010 (Wellington)
•    Windmeul Reserve Pinotage 2011 (Paarl)

Other wines that made the list of 20 from which the Absa Top 10 winners were chosen:
•    Beaumont Pinotage 2010 (Bot River)
•    Delheim Pinotage 2011 (Stellenbosch
•    Fairview Pinotage 2011 (Costal Region)
•    KWV Cathedral Cellar Pinotage 2009 (Western Cape)
•    Mount Vernon Three Peaks Pinotage 2011 (Paarl Simonsberg)
•    Painted Wolf The Den Pinotage 2010 (Coastal Region)
•    Riebeek Cellars Reserve Pinotage 2011 (Swartland)
•    Rijk’s Reserve Pinotage 2008 (Tulbagh)
•    Springfontein Jonathan’s Ridge Pinotage 2009  (Walker Bay)
•    Tukulu Pinotage 2009 (Darling)

For more information contact: Elsabé Ferreira | Pinotage Association, Manager | Tel. +27.218631599 / +27.833097621 | Email: admin@pinotage.co.za

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