Cape Town - It’s official - South Africa is one of the best cognac and brandy distillers in the world.
Although a consistent champion in international competitions, Mzansi's homegrown spirits have - for the first time ever - won both brandy and cognac trophies at the world’s two major spirits competitions.
The results of the International Wine and Spirits Competition (IWSC) were announced last week, hot on the heels of the International Spirits Challenge (ISC). In addition to producing a historic performance, South African brandies were showered with over 40 medals across numerous categories!
The champion trophy winners at IWSC were Richelieu XO, winner of the Cognac Trophy and Van Ryn's 12YO Distiller's Reserve as Worldwide Brandy Trophy 2016. At the ISC, KWV was named Best Brandy/Cognac Producer and its KWV 15YO as Best Brandy!
South Africans made up the largest portion of brandy gold medal winners, winning five out of six in the category. They also brought home nine silver medals!
In order to win the prestigious awards, the spirits had to pass the scrupulous blind assessment from specialist judges. But if you're after tasting some of the world's finest, there's no need for blindfolding!
We thought hosting the world's best brandy and cognac is the opportunity for local travellers to taste gold. Check out our top suggestions for a Cape Brandy tasting tour.
Van Ryn’s Brandy Distillery
You'd think you would have to travel to France to find a good swig of brandy or cognac and savor the liquid gold in the most beautiful of places in the world. But locals will be pleased to know the best brandy distillery tour in the entire world can be found right here in South Africa, in one of the most beautiful places in the world, namely the Cape Winelands.
Van Ryn’s Brandy Distillery in Stellenbosch won the award for 'Best Distillery Tour' at the 2015 Distillery Experience Awards, and this year, their 12YO Distiller's Reserve was crowned the Worldwide Brandy Trophy 2016.
The brandy, coffee and chocolate pairing is a sure treat for the senses.
Robertson is home to the Klipdrift distillery, where visitors can take a tour and learn more about the wine used to craft the brandy, the distillation process and maturation cellar where brandies sit for three or more years before being bottled.
The tour also includes brandy tastings paired with sweet and savoury foods, which will definitely give visitors a different view about brandy.
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Elgin's Oude Molen
A trip to the Elgin Valley is not complete before you have sampled the full bodied brandies of Oude Molen. We love this hide because of the fun and inclusive way they organise their tastings.
An informative cellar tour, exploring the two legendary pot stills, Big Betha and Long Tom, is concluded with you, the now educated brandy connoisseur, bottling your own Cape Brandy!
Your keepsake bottle is branded with your name and you can reminisce of your experience long after you have left the picturesque Grabouw.
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