This top trophy was awarded last year for the first time at the glittering Veritas gala dinner in the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC). A record number of medals (1 499) was also awarded this year, where the Distell Group took the lead with four Double Gold and 17 Gold medals.
The Veritas Vertex Award derives its name from the Latin word vertex, which means “highest point” and perfectly represents the Veritas Awards objective of crowning the wine at the peak of all the medals awarded. This hand-crafted glass trophy was handed over to cellarmaster Elunda Basson and her Pongrácz team.
Spier Wines clinched the most medals for the second time in a row, with three Double Gold and 11 Gold, followed by KWV (three Double Gold and 10 Gold), Orange River Cellars (three Double Gold), Cederberg (two Double Gold and four Gold), and Darling Cellars (two Double Gold and three Gold).
In the fortified wine category, Nuy took the lead with four Double Gold and two Gold. Boplaas was second with three Double Gold and one Gold, while Calitzdorp Cellar and De Krans were joint third with one Double Gold and one Gold each.
Distell also triumphed in the brandy category with five Double Gold and six Gold medals. KWV was close on their heels, also with five Double Gold and three Gold. Nuy surprised with Double Gold for its debut potstill brandy entry.
The Best Achiever in the class for ten wines or less, was Orange River Cellars, while Distell also won the class for more than ten wines entered.
Five wine industry luminaries – Albert Eksteen, Pierre Marais, Melvyn Minnaar, Christine Rudman and Martin van der Merwe – received Living Legends honorary scrolls for their immeasurable contributions to South African wine and brandy. Van der Merwe is actually the first recipient of the Legends Award who excelled both on the domestic front and abroad.
The Veritas gala dinner was sponsored by SA Litho, with eminent chefs Craig Cormack and Rudi Liebenberg who added their culinary art to the festive cuisine prepared by Roberto De Carvalho, executive chef of the CTICC.
Double Gold winners
Altogether 50 Double Gold and 219 Gold medals were awarded.
Distell led the way with four Double Gold for two MCC wines, Desiderius 2011 and Pongrácz Blanc de Blanc N/V, as well as for the Fleur du Cap Lazlo 2015 and Nederburg Private Bin Edelkeur 2012.
Spier took three Double Gold for Spier 21 Gables Chenin Blanc 2013, Spier Creative Block 5 Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot/Cabernet Franc/Malbec/Petit Verdot 2013 and Naledi Cabernet Sauvignon 2008.
KWV won three Double Gold for the KWV The Mentors Canvas 2014, KWV The Mentors Petit Verdot 2016 and KWV The Mentors Sauvignon Blanc 2014.
Orange River Cellars excelled with three Double Gold for three white wines, namely Orange River Cellars Colombard 2018, Orange River Cellars Sauvignon Blanc 2018 and Orange River Cellars Straw Wine 2017.
Cederberg and Darling Cellars each received two Double Gold and four and three Gold respectively.
Altogether 10 wineries also won one Double Gold.
The top Achievers in Wine: Back – Rianco van Rooyen Orange River Cellars, Wim Truter KWV, Christo Pienaar Chairman Veritas;
Front: Johan Jordaan Spier Wines, Elunda Basson Distell (Also Vertex award winner), Maggie Immelman Darling Cellars, Alex Nel Cederberg Private Cellar
Fortified Wine winners
Altogether 12 Double Gold and five Gold medals were awarded to the top fortified wines. Most of these were taken by Nuy and Boplaas with Double Gold for Nuy White Muscadel 2006 and 2012, Nuy Red Muscadel 1993 and 2015, Boplaas Cape Tawny Vintner’s Reserve, Boplaas Cape Vintage Reserve and Boplaas Heritage Collection Muscadel 2014. Five producers each clinched one Double Gold in this category.
South Africa’s leading brandy producers won 10 Double Gold and nine Gold medals. Distell received five Double Gold for its Richelieu Vintage Brandy 10 Years, Van Ryn’s Viceroy Potstill Brandy 10 Years, Van Ryn’s Single Potstill Brandy 12 Years, Van Ryn’s Single Potstill Brandy 15 Years and Van Ryn’s Single Potstill Brandy 20 Years. KWV also received five Double Gold for its KWV 10 Year Barrel Select Potstill Brandy, KWV 12 Year Barrel Select Potstill Brandy, KWV 15 Year Alambic Blend Potstill Brandy, KWV XO 20 Year Potstill Brandy and KWV Imoya Fine Potstill Brandy. Nuy won Double Gold for their Copper Potstilled Brandy.
The Veritas Awards, South Africa’s premier wine and brandy competition, attracted 1 677 medal contenders this year.
An authoritative jury, comprising six international and 100 local specialists, scrutinised candidates for Veritas fame during a marathon five-day blind tasting session.
The six most keenly contested categories in terms of entries received, were Red Blends (228), Sauvignon Blanc (185), Shiraz (157), Cabernet Sauvignon (142), Chenin Blanc (128) and Chardonnay (112). A total of 24 brandies were entered in three categories, Standard, Potstill and Vintage.
In total, 1 499 medals were awarded – 50 double gold, 219 gold, 671 silver and 559 bronze.
Top scorers in the Double Gold medal stakes for Natural Wine were Cabernet Sauvignon (3), MCC (3), Sauvignon Blanc (3), Museum Noble Late Harvest (2), Other Red Blends (2), Shiraz (2), White Blends – wooded (2), Bordeaux Style (1), Cape Blend (1), Chenin Blanc (1), Chenin Blanc – wooded (1), Colombar (1), Museum MCC (1), Museum Red Wine (1), Museum White Wine (1), Other Red Cultivars (1), Straw Wine (1).
Double Gold for Fortified Wines were Cape Ruby/Tawny/Vintage with 4 awards, Red Muscadel (3), White Muscadel (2), Dessert Wine (1), Museum Dessert Red (1) and Museum Dessert White (1);
Potstill Brandy excelled with 11 Double Gold awards.
In the Gold medal stakes, Bordeaux Style led (21), followed by Cabernet Sauvignon (19), Shiraz (13), MCC (9), Other Red Cultivars (9), Chenin Blanc – wooded (8), Museum White Wine (8), Pinot Noir (8), Pinotage (8), Other Red Blends (8), Sauvignon Blanc (8), Chenin Blanc (7), White Blends – wooded (7), Noble Late Harvest (6), Chardonnay – wooded (5), Malbec (5), MCC Rosé (5), Potstill Brandies (5), Red Muscadel (5), Cape Blend (4), Cape Ruby/Cape Tawny/Cape Vintage (4), Chardonnay (4), Standard Brandies (4), Merlot (3), Museum MCC (3), Museum Noble Late Harvest (3), Museum Red Wine (3), Sauvignon Blanc – wooded (3), Sémillon – wooded (3), Straw Wine (3), White Blends (3), White Muscadel (3), Cabernet Franc (2), Dessert Wine (2), Red and White – predominantly red (2), White and Red Blend – predominantly white (1), Colombar (1), Museum Natural Sweet (1), Riesling (1), Rosé (1), Viognier – wooded (1).
Full results are available online at www.veritas.co.za.
Six foremost judges from around the globe were in action at Veritas 2018, namely Janåke Johansson and Nikita Nördstrom (both from Sweden), Joe Wadsack and Richard Kelley MW (both from the UK), Tersina Shieh (Hong Kong) and Treve Ring (Canada).
The entire judging process is audited by Deloitte.
Great news for consumers
The fruitful collaboration between Veritas and Checkers over the past 15 years, received a boost with the announcement during the Veritas Awards gala dinner, namely that some Veritas Double Gold and Gold medal winners will in future be exhibited in special divisions of a handful of selected Checkers stores, for easy identification by consumers.
Taste the winners
Wine lovers have the opportunity to taste the top achiever Double Gold and Gold medal winning wines and brandies at countrywide tastings sponsored by Deloitte. The Veritas showcase tastings are presented in Cape Town (16 October), Johannesburg (23 October), Durban (7 November) and Port Elizabeth (14 November). In Knysna, a sit-down dinner and food and wine evening are presented on 15 and 16 November respectively. Tickets are available from Computicket.
Best performers : Rianco van Rooyen Orange River Cellars (with 10 or less entries), Elunda Basson holding the Vertex Award, Distell (with more than 10 entries) and Bennie Howard Veritas
The Living Legends award: Christo Pienaar, Chairman Veritas, Martin van Der Merwe, Melvyn Minnaar, Christine Rudman, Pierre Marais, Albert Eksteen, Bennie Howard, Vice Chairman Veritas
All the Veritas Chairmen 1991 - 2018: Christo Pienaar, Charles Hopkins, Lourens Jonker, Danie de Wet, Duimpie Bayly
Bennie with Top Chefs that designed the menu for the evening : Craig Cormack renowned chef, Roberto Carvalho, CTICC Executive Chef, with Rudi Liebenberg, Executive Chef Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel and Bennie Howard
Bennie Howard with sponsors: Claudia Agostinelli SA Litho, Nadia van der Merwe and Ryno Holm Deloitte
The Brandy Champions
Back LtR: Mari-Lou Prinsloo (Distell), Wallies Uys (Distell), Johan Venter (Distell), Christo Pienaar (Nuy & Veritas Chairman)
Front LtR: Gerhard Schreuder (Distell), Ilse du Toit (KWV), Christelle Read-Jahn(SA Brandy Foundation), Pieter de Bod (KWV)
The Fortified Wine Champions
Back: Bennie Howard, Elenore Cronje (Boplaas)
Front: Louis van der Riet (De Krans), Danie van der Westhuizen (Calitzdorp), Paul Burger (Nuy)