The 2017 ABSA Top 10 Pinotage wines are predominantly from established cellars with solid track records in the world of Pinotage, regarded as South Africa’s most successful ‘indigenous’ variety. There were 147 entries in this year’s competition held at the Cavalli Estate outside Somerset West on 3 August.

2017 commemorates 21 years of ABSA Bank’s involvement with the Pinotage Association. The Top 10 laureates in this annual event are among the finest ambassadors of Wine SA, all judged to be masterful expressions of the Pinot Noir Hermitage/Cinsaut cross that dates back to the previous century.

Beyers Truter, chair and founder of the Pinotage Association, is overwhelmed by the expansion of the market for Pinotage and the passion with which winemakers have embraced this grape cultivar over the past two decades,

“Our 21-year journey with Absa has been full of many highlights and it is pleasing to see how the bar continues to be raised year after year. One of the objectives in creating the Absa Top 10 Pinotage competition was to improve the quality and perceptions of this lovely, uniquely South African wine, and, looking at the standard of the finalists this year as well as the degree to which Pinotage has been embraced, we are definitely on the right track.”

Truter goes on to emphasise just how much the quality of Pinotage wines has increased, particularly during the past decade, applauding the producers of all the wines included among the finalists for their exceptional commitment and hard work,

“Pinotage is a grape that needs special viticultural and winemaking techniques. It can be tough and demanding, but when you get it right the rewards are astonishing, world-class masterpieces.”

Flagstone has now won five trophies with Writer’s Block Pinotage and the 2017 award makes it 3 years in a row with 3 consecutive vintages.

The panel of judges for the 2017 ABSA Top 10 Pinotage Awards are Neil Ellis of Neil Ellis Wines (chair), wine educator and consultant Nomonde Kubheka, winemaker Corlea Fourie of Bosman Family Vineyards, Francois Rautenbach of Singita Premier Wine Direct and viticulturist Stephan Joubert of Douglas Green Bellingham (DGB).


The Winning Wines

Delheim Pinotage 2012 – WO Stellenbosch, Winemaker Altus Treurnicht

Diemersfontein Carpe Diem Reserve 2015- WO Wellington, Winemaker Francoise Roode

Flagstone Writer’s Block Single Vineyard Pinotage 2015 –WO Breedekloof, Winemaker Gerhard Swart

Kanonkop Pinotage 2012 – WO Simonsberg-Stellenbosch, Winemaker Abrie Beeslaar

Lanzerac Pionier Pinotage 2014 –WO Jonkershoek Valley in Stellenbosch, Winemaker Wynand Lategan

Môreson MKM 2015 –Franschhoek cellar, WO Stellenbosch, Winemaker Clayton Reabow

Neil Ellis Bottelary Hills Pinotage 2015 –WO Stellenbosch, Winemaker Warren Ellis

Stellenbosch Vineyards Bushvine Pinotage 2015 – WO Stellenbosch, Winemaker Abraham de Villiers

La Cave Pinotage 2016 – Wellington Wines, Winemakers Francois van Niekerk & Chris Smit

Windmeul Pinotage Reserve 2015 – WO Paarl/Coastal, Winemaker Abraham van Heerden