National Wine Challenge Double Gold Awards 2022
Wine lovers are going to be very happy with these 134 Double Gold award-winning wines in the National Wine Challenge 2022, says Robin von Holdt.
Robin von Holdt reviews Double Gold awards for the National Wine Challenge (NWC) 2022:
These Double Gold Awards give recognition for rock-solid blue-chip performance. They are granted to a serious core of winning wines that have each performed at an extremely high level.
The judging of this category is a task undertaken by the panels of judges and chairs, who commit very seriously to identifying a particularly smart and appropriate range of commendable winning wines. The same rigorous criteria is applied to assess each and every wine, that is a potential candidate for being awarded.
The organisation and the logistical support of the NWC is tightly managed at the highest level at all stages of the process. Best practice is applied for the benefit of every entered wine. The outcomes are thus both meaningful and accurate.
To the numerous consumers who are on the lookout for awarded wines of great quality, this highly regarded category of fine wine is perfect. Ongoing feedback and research in all major markets categorically and conclusively supports the fact that when a Double Gold sticker adorns a wine bottle then price becomes a less influential matter. Over the years it has proved to be a tremendously important category for producers.
Once again in this year’s 2022 results, there was a marginal gap between achieving Double Gold status and achieving Top 100 status. A number of Double Gold winning wines were very close in quality to those achieving Top 100 status. Without doubt, this is a high quality collection.
This Double Gold portfolio of winning wines now offers wine-lovers immediate and serious enjoyment. These wines yield delicious qualities and showcase complexity and balance. Many of these awarded wines can also be enhanced by medium term cellaring. The winning wines typically reflect regional character, varietal typicity and many of them show a definitive sense of place.
We happily and positively emphasise the judge’s views. These Double Gold winning wines announced today are very fine examples of their cultivar or their blend category! They demonstrate that great care has been taken in vineyard practices to bring ripe, high quality fruit into the cellars. These wines also show application of skilled, focussed and smart cellar work. In many instances the wine shows a light-handed intervention, for which they are so much the better. The fine results speak for themselves.
With just 134 wines gaining this prestigious Double Gold Award in the 2022 NWC, it was, as it always is, a realistically small percentage of all the fine wine entries received. The judges were fair yet firm in their assessment. The allocation of final scores for all the winning wines is a result of rigorous assessment and debate. Re-tasting is common practice to ensure free and fair outcomes. When compared to international competition guidelines these results are absolutely appropriate and generally demonstrate conservative percentages.
We offer our sincere congratulations to all of the cellar teams, winemakers and vineyard helpers. Each contribution aided and helped the winning wine entry to successfully gain the judge’s approval and achieve these substantial Double Gold Awards in this year’s NWC. These awards really are a most significant commendation. Well done on this praiseworthy achievement. It is something to celebrate and to be justifiably proud about!
Wine lovers are going to be very, very happy with these 134 winning wines.
We have also included at the end of this press release, judges’ comments and thoughts on the actual wine flights tasted.
Significant Double Gold award winners
Significant Double Gold award winners include the following wineries:
- Alvi’s Drift Private Cellar (11)
- Van Loveren Family Vineyards (11)
- Perdeberg Wines (8)
- Fairview Wines (6)
- Flagstone Winery (6)
- Du Toitskloof Wines (4)
- Groot Constantia Wine Estate (4)
- Saronsberg Cellars (4)
- Stellenbosch Vineyards (4)
- Almenkerk Wine Estate (3)
- Bon Courage Wine Estate (3)
- De Wet Cellar (3)
- Koelenhof Winery (3)
- Ridgeback Wines (3)
- Rosendal Wines (3)
The following wineries have 2 wins each:
- Allée Bleue Wines
- De Krans
- Doolhof Wine Estate
- Dornier Wines
- Elgin Vintners
- Highlands Road Wine
- Jordan Wine Estate
- La Motte
- Maree Family Wines
- Meinert Wines
- Napier Vineyards
- Oak Valley Estate
- Painted Wolf Wines
- Paul Cluver Wines
- Paul Wallace Wines
- Rietvallei Wine Estate
- Vrede en Lust
Winners share their comments
Alvi’s Drift Private Cellar (11)
Riaan Marais, general manager: “The team of Alvi’s Drift have been working hard to find ways of optimising flavour and enjoyment in every glass of our wines through system optimisation, improved vineyard management and winemaking practices. It is a great honour to have 11 wines recognised for outstanding quality by such a prestigious panel. Our congratulations and sincere thanks to all involved.”
Van Loveren Family Vineyards (11)
Jacques Cilliers, winemaker: “It’s wonderful to see the achievements of our ongoing journey for quality by receiving eleven Double Gold Awards for a consecutive year for Van Loveren’s range of wines.
We are truly pleased with the results and believe our vintages feature complexity, great balance and can be enjoyed now or serve as a reward for the patient connoisseur”
Anthony de Jager, winemaker: “These wines and awards further illustrate of our diversity crossing different terroirs and winemaking.”
Flagstone Winery (6)
Gerhard Swart, winemaker: “We are grateful for receiving 6 Double Gold medals on top of the 5 Platinum Awards – this recognises the quality of wine over our whole range and the team work that goes into producing each bottle!”
Du Toitskloof Wines (4)
Tiaan Loubser, winemaker: “This is a very special moment for the team and serves as an indication that we strive to make good wines and more importantly, wines for people to enjoy! I think we can be very proud of this achievement.”
Groot Constantia (4)
Jean Naudé, CEO: “I am delighted to see the Groot Constantia team rewarded in this way for all their efforts and attention to detail. Our vineyard and wine-making team co-operate continuously and seamlessly throughout the various seasons, and I believe that without this cohesion, and an emphasis on what is happening in the vineyard, awards of this nature would not be possible.”
Bon Courage (3)
Philip Viljoen, winemaker:“What a privilege to be recognized amongst the best in the country! It goes to show that not only do we have a winning recipe, but also a winning team!”
De Wet Cellar (3)
Tertius Jonck, winemaker and manager: “Chenin blanc and Chardonnay really blossom in the Worcester region. I personally think the Worcester region is the birth place for the best quality Chenin Blanc and Chardonnay in the world. All three wines receiving double gold medals is an example of the goodness and versatility of Chenin blanc and Chardonnay.”
Koelenhof Winery (3)
Nicholas Husselman, head winemaker: “To receive 3 Double Gold Awards and 1 Double Silver Award for our wines acknowledges our dedication to consistent quality and elegance in our wine styles. We are extremely proud that our new Certified Old Vine Noble Late Harvest 2019 is also in the line-up for the Double Silver Award! What a blessing! Thank you NWC!”
Allée Bleue (2)
Van Zyl Du Toit, winemaker: “Having such an phenomenal showing in this year`s NWC is a great honour. We had two of our reds, three whites and even a MCC garner medals at this year`s challenge. We are super excited and hope that our loyal customers will see this as a sign of our ongoing commitment to produce world-class wines.”
De Krans (2)
Christoff de Wet, Winemaker: “Last but not least, Double Gold for both the Touriga Nacional 2020 and our Tinta Roriz 2019! The dedication of our cellar team and the consistency of vineyard practices definitely reflect in the wine.”
Gielie Beukes, Winemaker: “Through dedication and belief, we strive to maintain consistency in establishing Limietberg as one of the premium wine growing wards in South Africa. Being the only producer in this ward does make it more challenging so we celebrate the smallest victories as well!”
Dornier Wines (2)
Francois Theunissen, general manager: “The awarding of two Double gold medals to Dornier at the recent National Wine Challenge bears testimony towards Dornier’s quality driven approach both in the vineyards and in the cellar. We are elated with the result and grateful to the devotion of the entire team behind Dornier’s wines.”
Elgin Vintners (2)
Dr Marinda Kruger, business manager and winemaker: “The workhorses of Elgin Vintners namely our Cloud Haven Sauvignon Blanc and Cloud Haven Merlot/Shiraz both stand proud with winning Double Gold and our lovely Elgin Noir Merlot (Double Silver). We hope that through these awards the customer can trust the exceptional quality to the price point.”
Highlands Road (2)
Vanessa Mead, Winemaker: “I refer to Pinot Noir as the “evolved vinophile’s choice”. It is full of attractive contradictions, subtle but structured, elegant but sassy, so satisfying but inspiring one to want more, lighter in colour but deeper in complexity. A varietal that is so full of alluring challenge.”
Jordan Wines (2)
Kathy Jordan, co-owner: “We are proud to have our wines recognised and to receive multiple awards once again this year. To have 5 wines selected to be in the Top 100 is already a wonderful reward for the team’s hard work; to also receive the 2 Double Gold awards and the Double silver award was the cherry on the top. Thank you for this recognition in what has been a couple of very hard years in the wine industry both locally and internationally.”
La Motte (2)
Edmund Terblanche, cellarmaster: “Cabernet Sauvignon can be such a joy! We are thrilled with a Double Gold award for the 2019 La Motte Cabernet Sauvignon. We are really pleased with the style of this vintage – cool, calm and collected, but gutsy enough to complement flavours that are rich and bold.”
Hein Koegelenberg, CEO: “Made from grapes grown in Elim and Napier, the cool climate 2021 Pierneef Sauvignon Blanc is consistently recognised for its quality. We are delighted for a Double Gold NWC award that shows appreciation for a style of Sauvignon Blanc that matures graciously and exceeds food pairing expectations.
Napier Vineyards (2)
Leon Bester, general manager and inemaker: “Thanks to NWC for the recognition on awarding Napier Vineyards 2 Double Gold and 1 Silver Awards. This brings an award to all of the 5 wines entered into NWC.”
Oak Valley (2)
Jacques Du Plessis, Winemaker: “We are thrilled to receive recognition for our wines across the portfolio and it shows that our cool climate cultivar focus is starting to pay off.”
Painted Wolf Wines (2)
Jeremy Borg, Co-founder and Winemaker: “What a wonderful clutch of awards! As always it is exciting to see our wines being recognised, and I am particularly pleased that some of the new additions to our pack have received awards. A great start to their careers!”
Paul Clüver Wines (2)
Paul Clüver, managing director: “Competitions are important in comparing one’s vision and winemaking ethos with those of one’s peers, thus we are extremely pleased to accept these awards for two wine categories where we were judged alongside the growing number of great South African Chardonnay and Pinot Noir producers. We are excited to be a leading player in these categories for which the South African industry is gaining immense recognition, locally as well as internationally.”
Paul Wallace Wines (2)
Paul and Nicky Wallace, owners: “Thank you National Wine Challenge! The very essence of cool-climate fruit has been rewarded by both our Little Flirt Sauvignon Blanc and Reflection Chardonnay garnering Double Gold Medals. We are thrilled.”
Vrede en Lust (2)
Karlin Nel, cellarmaster: “This is an exciting milestone achievement personally and for the winery. We are focused on attention to detail and producing clean expressive wines. I’m super proud of the whole team, and their commitments to the production of these wines.
Cheers to a great season for Vrede en Lust at the NWC 2022 with exceptional terrior and producing very special wines.”
Pierre De Klerk, cellarmaster: “Whether you are new to Graham Beck or well-versed in our world of bubbly, it is our mission to ensure that every bottle we make is worthy of bearing the Graham Beck name. No stone is left unturned in our cellar as we work tirelessly to perfect our craft. As a result, it is rewarding to see our list of accolades span the entire gamut of our collection.”
Chris van Reenen, winemaker: “The Limited Release Chardonnay 2021 is an elegant, fruit driven yet complex style wine which beautifully portrays what quality our diverse Bonnievale valley can deliver, with the expertise of our growers and winemakers.”
Ilse Ruthford, MD: “Compagniesdrift is a 100% community owned organisation with a people-centric approach in the South African Wine Industry.
I am very grateful for the opportunity which has come our way. It is my personal goal and heart’s desire to make our company successful on all levels and keep on uplifting as many workers as possible. We are therefore thrilled to be awarded a Double Gold at this year’s National Wine Challenge competition for our Compagniesdrift Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2018. This will encourage our winemaking team to always strive for the best.”
Annamarie Fourie, winemaker: “Holden Manz Visionaire is a spicy Bordeaux styled blend featuring all four of the red varietals grown on the farm at Holden Manz in Franschhoek. This wine is a true expression of the Holden Manz terroir.”
Nicholson Smith Agencies
Jason Neal, Owner: “A great thanks to the tasting panel for recognizing the continued hard work we have put into these wines. My thanks must also go towards my wine making team who continue to produce great quality wines and to be chosen against such strong opposition make all the hard work worth it.”
Jeff Grier, cellarmaster: “Villiera Tradition Brut was first made in 1984 with the help of a Champagne consultant and it has become a leading NV Cap Classique in SA. Our Barrel Fermented Chenin Blanc was naturally made from a selected Old Vine Heritage Block, ensuring complexity and concentration.”
Brief comments below from various judges
See brief comments below from various judges including Ginette de Fleuriott CWM, Duncan Savage, Richard Kershaw WM, and JD Pretorius:
Pinotage comment: Very nice flight. Great fruit expression, very few showing coffee or oak dominance. Attractive stylistic differences / expressions. Tannins were really well-managed. Really good consistency.
Merlot comment: Generally the wines are solid without wowing, although a few more modern examples with generous fruit showing up. The best held purity of the fruit & oak integration and worked nicely in a frame of tannin without becoming drying.
Cabernet Sauvignon comment: Generally good consistency. The vintages 2018/2020 showed well with 2019 more a mixed bag. Pleasing was the fruit expression being allowed to shine without the domain of oak or over-extraction. A pleasing flight with a few top wines!
Bordeaux Blend Red comment: Overall, dominated by the 2019 vintage, as expected. But the 2019 had the intensity and concentration of previous years yet the oak was handled less well, often protruding with the fruit in the background and the tannins felt more present than expected.
Bordeaux Blend White comment: A short compact flight with some good examples of which all were surprisingly older vintages.
Chardonnay: Good wine-making and good reflection and expression of the vintages. Emphasis on fruit rather than oak. Oak well managed but at times at the risk of losing some individuality & personality. Would welcome more expression of something unique, not just “spot-on” winemaking.
Chenin Blanc comment: Unwooded wines had good weight & fruit expression, with some displaying beautiful minerality& chalky texture. Great consistency, most wooded wines not overshadowed by oak. Nice mix of styles and a pleasure to taste.
Sweets comment: Good balance of sugar & acid, lovely intensity.
MCC & Sparkling comment: A wide range of styles in white. The Blanc de Blancs showed very well, adding acid, backbone to their brioche& autolytic nuances. The noses showed nicely as well with soft acidity to underpin the broader fruit expression.
Rosé comment: Mixed bag. One stand out although all had good to excellent colour). Fine tension although some a bit shy on the fruit. No flabby wines & tannic tension. Would welcome a touch more fruit and personality. All quite dry, except one.
Other Red Blends comment: Mixed bag – its style probably but no faults or funkiness. Preferred those with a cab-component – reigns in the fruit and adds structure whereas some of the others were a bit soupy or lacked definition. Most if not all were very drinkable & good food wines.
Shiraz comment: A great spread of styles with clean winemaking despite a few bacterial issues. Many of the wines showed youth and will need more time in the bottle. Oak range seemed more judicial but could still be tuned down, but overall a smart flight.
Red Rhone Blends comment: A compact flight with a number of different styles either with more richness & spice or garrigue; Southern Rhone, gentle lift.
Other Red Cultivars comment: Hard to comment as such a mixed bag. Cinsault & Grenache fared better, medium bodied with more fruit purity and not over-oaked nor over-extracted, so more elegance and freshness.
Pinot Noir comment: Quite a lot of ripe clean, bright fruit that is appealing but often lacked secondary character or complexity relying on its primary prettiness.
Cape Blends comment: Good quality flight! Expression of fruit with good integration of tannins on the best wines. Some nice texture & yet very approachable for immediate drinking & some aging potential as 2019/2020 vintages.
Other White Cultivars comment: Beautiful Rieslings – play of acidity and fruit sugar. Expressive. Roussane’s had great example – delicate, yet complex.
Viogniers were a tad disappointing – lacked varietal character. Dry, but missing the weight and perfume. There were a few stand out wines though!
Sauvignon Blanc comment: A strong flight with expression & multitude of styles. 2021 featured heavily & reflects the quality of the vintage. Focussed, linear wines with incisive acidity and some lifted fluid elements come to the fore as the top wines.
Other White Blends comment: White blends were surprisingly underwhelming in general but the better Chenin based wines had good concentration, fruit purity, depth and deft use of oak.