Top white wine from the NC

2016-04-06 06:00

A COLOMBARD wine from the Orange River Cellars has been named the country’s best white wine at this year’s annual SAA Wine Awards, the well-known wine competition sponsored by the national airline.

The Orange River Cellars Colombard 2015 trumped some of South Africa’s leading wines when it walked away with the SAA award for Best White Wine of the Year, one of the most prestigious accolades on the local wine scene, in Cape Town last month.

According to a press statement from Marlé Strauss of the Oranje River Cellars in Upington, a total of 730 wines competed for the SAA awards, which are adjudicated by a panel consisting of some of South Africa’s most authoritative wine experts.

She describes the SAA accolade as the highest praise a table wine of Orange River Cellars has garnered to date.

Miguel Chan, group sommelier of the Tsogo Sun hotel group and co-ordinator of the judging process, described the Orange River Cellars Colombard 2015 as a “brilliant example of a crisp, juicy colombard, which also displays a complex mineral character.”

“For Orange River Cellars this is an exceptional achievement since we haven’t received this level of national recognition for table wines before, even though the cellar’s fortified muscadels and jerepigos regularly rake in the medals,” said Koos Visser, marketing manager at Orange River Cellars.

“To come out on top in an esteemed competition where you find yourself among the best in the country, is an excellent accomplishment and it heralds a new chapter for the Orange River Cellars’ wines.”

Despite the geographical challenges attached to making premium wine in the Northern Cape, the producers, viticulturists and winemakers are reported to have shown in the past few years that they are up to the task.

“And with this wine they have truly shown what we are capable of as a winemaking unit.

“To make that colombard of ours shine in front of a team of wine experts, holds great significance for us, and I can assure everyone that the international and national wine markets now see Orange River Cellars in a new light.

“Colombard is one of the main grape varieties in the region and the climate and fertile river soils bring out the best in the cultivar,” said Visser.

“With the inputs of Orange River Cellars’ team of viticulturists over the past decade, the knowledge of the winemakers and the use of technology, the quality of the colombard has reached a new dimension.”

According to Visser the ideal growing conditions of 2014 and the good harvest season of 2015 also contributed to the success. “Our wine region experienced a good winter and the growing season was characterised by even ripening and mode-rate temperatures, which enabled the grapes’ flavour to develop in balance.

“The harvest went well, and from the early stages of the wine’s development the winemakers all agreed that this vintage would be an exceptional one. It is immensely validating for us that the SAA Award has proven us right.

“The fact that we are located 800 km from the traditional winelands of the Cape means that Orange River Cellars has to work hard to confirm our image as a quality region in the eyes of the consumer.

“Through the years the wine consumer has learnt to trust the recommendations of the SAA, meaning that the entire wine industry along the Orange River will benefit from this magnificent award.”

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