Boschendal and Paul Cluver take top trophies at IWC 2017, London

TWENTY-THREE gold medals to South African wines with seven beauties going on to win trophies at the 2017 International Wine Challenge in London. Some are recent vintages of wines with great track records, such as Cape Point’s flagship white blend, DeMorgenzon Reserve Chenin, Bouchard Finlayson Pinot, Stellenrust Chenin and those champions from Paul Cluver and Saronsberg that feature regularly in the SA Wine Classification, if not the Top Wine SA Hall of Fame.

It’s particularly appealing when two or more respected panels give a wine the thumbs up while it’s still on sale and even better when the news comes ahead of the release date. A case in point being an IWC gold for the Neil Ellis Jonkershoek Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 that top-scored in Winemag’s annual Cab report. Another being the red blend Full Circle 2015 from Saronsberg of Tulbagh that earned gold at Concours Mondial in Spain before doing it again at the IWC – Saronsberg’s 2015 Shiraz going on to win a trophy.

Recipient of the trophy for best South African white wine overall: Boschendal Elgin Chardonnay 2015. And judged best SA red wine overall: Paul Cluver Seven Flags Pinot Noir 2015. A good year indeed for the district. Talk about fulfilling its potential since the first WO Elgin wine from Paul Cluver was launched just 20 years ago.

In fact all of the trophy laureates have distinguished credentials and, of the multiple winners, DeMorgenzon winemaker Carl van der Merwe and proprietor Wendy Applebaum of Stellenbosch Kloof have a Reserve Chardonnay that is fast developing a performance history as impressive as their Reserve Chenin Blanc – the 2016 vintage emulating the success of the 2015 at the previous Challenge, with the 2016 DeMorgenzon Reserve Chenin Blanc declared best Chenin in the world at this year’s event following the trophy won with the 2015 vintage a year before.

Discoveries? Revelations? Well, among the gold medal winners there’s the six-year-old sparkling MCC from Babylonstoren, the maiden release of ‘Sprankel’ selling for the cheeky price of nearly R500. And the 2014 vintage of the red blend Babylonstoren Nebukadnesar from Koos Bekker’s place in the Simonsberg-Paarl foothills at not much less per bottle has now picked up a few accolades, the IWC gold coming after double gold at the Michelangelo Awards.

There were over 15 000 entries in the UK Challenge this time round. Hundreds of judges are involved every year, with the competition chairs involved in the assessment of every medallist in 2017 comprising Masters of Wine Sarah Abbott, Tim Atkin and Peter McCombie, as well as Oz Clarke, Dr Jamie Goode and Charles Metcalfe. Cathy van Zyl MW was the South African among the numerous panel chairs.


Boschendal Elgin Chardonnay 2015
Bouchard Finlayson Galpin Peak Pinot Noir 2015
Cape Point Sauvignon Blanc Reserve 2015
DeMorgenzon Reserve Chardonnay 2016
DeMorgenzon Reserve Chenin Blanc 2016
Paul Cluver Seven Flags Pinot Noir 2015
Saronsberg Shiraz 2015


Babylonstoren Nebukadnesar 2014 (Cabernet, Merlot, Petit V)
Babylonstoren Sprankel 2011
(Sparkling Chardonnay Cap Classique)
Boschendal Elgin Pinot Noir 2015
Bouchard Finlayson Crocodile’s Lair Chardonnay 2015
Cape Point Isliedh 2015 (Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon)
Constantia Glen Two 2016
(Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon)
Grand Vin de Stellenbosch Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2015
(Origin, Export Only)
Neil Ellis Jonkershoek Cabernet Sauvignon 2014
Neil Ellis Whitehall Chardonnay 2015
Painted Wolf Pictus V 2016
(Grenache Blanc, Chenin, Roussanne)
Paul Cluver Riesling Dry Encounter 2015
Paul Cluver Noble Late Harvest 2014
Rustenberg Five Soldiers Chardonnay 2015
Saronsberg Full Circle 2015
(Shiraz, Grenache, Mourvèdre)
Saronsberg Seismic Rooi 2014
(Cabernet, Petit V, Merlot)
Stellenrust Old Bush Vine Chenin Blanc 2015

Full results and more info about the competition here.


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