Neethlingshof Scoops Two Terroir Awards
Neethlingshof has won two national awards in the 2012 Novare SA Terroir Wine Awards for the estate’s 2012 Gewürtztraminer and 2011 The Maria. The Maria, which forms part of the reserve Short Story Collection range, was also chosen as one of the five top estate wines entered for the competition now in its seventh year.
Neethlinghof’s performance, along with that of one other producer, saw Stellenboschkloof win this year’s Novare Trophy for SA Terroir Top Wine Area.
The Gewürtztraminer was selected as the best wine of this cultivar in the competition while The Maria was adjudged the best natural sweet wine.
A delighted De Wet Viljoen, Neethlinghof’s winemaker for the past ten years, said the awards must also be seen in the context of the estate’s efforts to restore the balance between farming operations and the natural environment, and to make wine that reflects the unique character of the farm.
“Our wines must have a unique, distinctive identity, and they must reflect what is popularly called, ‘a sense of place’,” he says.” If our wines don’t have a distinguishable character of their own, then there is no sense in bottling them under the Neethlingshof label.”
Neethlingshof recently became one of the small number of Biodiversity and Wine Initiative (BWI) champions in the Winelands. It has also just been informed that it came among the Top Ten in the international Sustainable Wine Growing Competition organised annually by the Botanical Research Institute of Texas (BRIT).
De Wet said the grapes for the Gewürtztraminer came from a 25-year-old dryland vineyard delivering 5 tons per hectare of quality grapes year after year. “The wine shows the spicy aromas so typical of this niche cultivar, combined with tropical flavours balanced by good acidity.”
The Maria, named for the resourceful and feisty widow Maria Marais who dominated the history of the farm for close on 50 years in the 1800s, is a noble late harvest blend of Weisser Riesling and Sauvignon blanc. Both vineyards from which the grapes were harvested are more than 25 years old and produce only two to three tons of grapes per hectare. Both are in the path of south-westerly winds bringing moisture-laden air from over False Bay and their grapes are spontaneously infected with Botrytis cinereayear after year by spores present in the vineyards.
The 2011 vintage of The Maria recently scored 92 out of a possible 100 in a report on South Africa’s sweet wines by theInternational Wine Review, widely rated as one of the world’s most influential opinion formers on wine. Earlier this month The Maria also received a gold award in the annual ratings of the South African Wine Index (SAWI).