L’Avenir Pinotage bags another trophy – this time at 2016 Absa Top 10

THE PINOTAGE Association made much of Kanonkop’s and Rijk’s achievements at the 2016 Absa Top 10 awards where they both won trophies for the 11th time in the 20-year history of the event – iconic track records for sure, albeit that the Kanonkop 2010 was ‘sold out’ ex-cellar and the Rijk’s Reserve 2013 had yet to be released at the time of writing. However, two of the other laureates that are particularly noteworthy are the Two Cubs 2015 from Knorhoek at just R40 a bottle from the farm and, arguably the most successful Pinotage on show this year to date, the L’Avenir Single Block 2014, honoured with a trophy at the International Wine Challenge in London before its latest victory on the local front.

The L’Avenir is “classic modern Pinotage” according to the IWC panel. “Succulent red fruits, well-integrated oak with notes of rose petal, bramble and raspberry.” According to the estate: “Intense spicy fruitcake… sweet oak… floral notes… rich fruit flavours… full body… fine tannins and a powerful finish.” The grapes come from a 1.2 hectare dry-land block of vines over 30 years old. Matured for 18 months in first- and second-fill French oak barrels and stainless steel tanks. Unfiltered. The flagship of a producer specialising in Pinotage (and Chenin) since the early 1990s.

Absa Top 10 Pinotage 2016 (bottle sticker, smaller)PINOTAGE ASSOCIATION’S 2016 ABSA TOP 10

Diemersdal Reserve 2015 – R132 pb at cellar in Durbanville
Flagstone Writer’s Block 2014 – R195 pb at cellar in Somerset West
Fleur du Cap Unfiltered 2014 (Bergkelder) – R144 pb at Stellenbosch cellar
Kanonkop 2010 – sold out at cellar in Stellenbosch (Simonsberg)
Knorhoek Two Cubs 2015 – R40 pb at Stellenbosch cellar (Simonsberg)
KWV The Mentors 2013 – R280 pb at cellar in Paarl
L’Avenir Single Block 2014 – R320 pb at cellar in Stellenbosch
Rijk’s Reserve 2013 – R375 pb at cellar in Tulbagh
Rooiberg Reserve 2015 – R85 pb at cellar in Robertson
The Dry Land Collection 2014 pb (Perdeberg) – R85 at cellar in Paarl

Total number of wines entered: 144. The judges: winemakers Neil Ellis (chair) and Johann Fourie (KWV), viticulturist Stephan Joubert (DGB), Singita wine and beverage director Francois Rautenbach, and wine writer Samarie Smith.

For the names of the runners-up and to see where the Top 20 originated from, see here. For all of the top Pinotage reviews during the past couple of years, click here, and for the SA Pinotage Classification see here.