The 2015 Shiraz SA Wine Challenge Awards

The results of the Shiraz SA Wine Challenge say organisers 'pretty much reflected the tendency of wine competitions to deliver some surprises while the usual regulars put in an appearance'. This is the third year that Shiraz SA presented the competition and 'it is significant that certain producers have featured amongst the finalists from the word go'. 

The fact that there are 12 winners instead of just one, 'makes this competition so much more attractive from a producer’s perspective'. “There is a wide spectrum of styles to be found under South African Shiraz and it would be rather absurd to single out one wine as the best example produced from this noble cultivar” says Edmund Terblanche, chairman of Shiraz SA. “And it just makes more sense to market a package with 12 winning wines” he added.

Shiraz Top 12 for 2015 (in alphabetical order) 

Bellingham The Bernard Series Basket Press Syrah 2013

Cederberg Shiraz 2013

Driehoek Shiraz 2012

Eagles’ Nest Shiraz 2012

Fairview Eenzaamheid Shiraz 2013

Groot Constantia Shiraz 2013

La Vigne Single Vineyard Shiraz 2007

Rustenberg Buzzard Kloof Syrah 2011

Strandveld First Sighting Shiraz 2012 

Uva Mira D.W. Syrah 2013

Van Loveren Christina van Loveren Shiraz 2013

Wildekrans Barrel Select Reserve Shiraz 2012

Top 4 Shirazblends for 2015 (in alphabetical order)

Bellingham The Bernard Series Small Barrell SMV 2013

KWV The Mentors Canvas 2012

KWV The Mentors Canvas 2013

Saronsberg Full Circle 2012

'The guys from Boschendal and Bellingham had good reason to pat themselves on the back'. Bellingham’s The Bernard Series Small Barrell SMV 2013 was crowned one of the four best blends while The Bernard Series Basket Press Syrah 2013 walked off with a trophy for one of the top 12 Shirazes. The two Boschendal blends, the 2013 Boschendal 1685 S & M and the 2013 Boschendal Larone both ended under the finalists. Last year the Boschendal 1685

KWV repeated their success of 2014. Interestingly however, this year it was in the category for blends. They made a clean sweep by pocketing two of the four available trophies.

In 2014 Cederberg’s David Nieuwoudt scooped up two trophies in the category for Shiraz.This year his 2013 Cederberg Shiraz was once again rewarded with a trophy. And just to show that he knows his stuff when it comes to Shiraz, the Driehoek Shiraz 2012, a wine David produces in his cellar for Driehoek, also walked off with a trophy.     

The Saronsberg Full Circle that ended under the finalists for Shiraz blends in 2014, bagged the fourth trophy in this category with the 2012 vintage of this wine.

Fairview triumphed with their Shiraz for the second year in succession. Last year it was The Beacon Shiraz that gained victory while this year the honours went to the Fairview Eenzaamheid Shiraz 2013. After two years of finding themselves under the finalists, Eagles’ Nest was more than happy to collect a trophy for a position under the the top 12. 

WildekransRustenbergUva Mira and La Vigne, all first time entrants in the competition were clearly as pleased as punch with their good fortune. Both Uva Mira and La Vigne had a second wine in the line-up of finalists.

About two years ago French coopers, Tonnellerie Berthomieu Ermitage,took the Shiraz Challenge under their financial wing. The company has been involved with the production of staves for four generations and is currently the biggest producer of French oak staves. Their annual production is the equivalent of a staggering 70 000 barrels! BerthomieuErmitage is being represented in South Africa by Juvenal Cork SA.

A total of 202 wines were entered this year and the organisers weremightily pleased with the steady growth the competition shows. “Time and again Shiraz is die class that draws of themost entries in competitions and we believe that the Challenge has the potential to grow even further in future.” remarked Terblanche.

A panel of 7 respected judges and Shiraz cognoscenti evaluated the wines over a period of 3 days. Cape Wine Master, dr Andy Roediger, acted as convenor and panel chairman for the second year. He was assisted by Remington Norman, British Master of Wine, Marc Friederich (restauranteur and sommelier), Pearl Oliver (Sommellier Mount Nelson Hotel), Charles Hopkins (Cellar Master De Grendel and Chairman SANWS), Mark Norrish (Buyer: Ultra Liquors) and Francois Naudé (Manager: Wine, Rhebokskloof). Deloitte & Touche kept a watchful eye on the judging process. They have been involved with the competition from its inception.

The judges were unanimous that the style and quality of South African Shiraz has definitely improved to a lighter style, more fruit driven and with excellent balance. The general concensus was that a significant number of wine just missed the 20 finalists. The panel was pleasantly surprised with the quality of the 12 finalists in the category for blends and were of the opinion that the 4 winners more than deserved their awards. 

The marketing and sales of the mixed cases of winning wines will from this year be handled by Cyber Celler. Coastal Labels is once again the supplier of the distinctive sticker that has been specially designed for the competition. 

Guests were able to taste the 32 finalist wines before the lunch while the winners were served with the three course meal. A selection of these wines will be presented at a food and wine paring dinner at the Vineyard Hotel in August this year. Consumers will be able to taste these wines at the annual Shiraz Showcase. The 7th Showcase, also sponsored by Berthomieu Ermitage takes place on Thursday 18 June between 18:00 and 21:00. The event moves back to the Cape Town Convention Centre where it was held the very first time

Tickets at R120 per person can be booked via Webtickets or purchased at the door. The price includes a wine glass and brochure of the wines on show while dishes that complement Shiraz will be on sale. Limited tickets are available and it is advisable to book in advance to prevent disappointment. For further information contact Sandra Lotz at 082 924 7254 or send an e-mail to