Simonsberg-Paarl wineries shine at the Michelanglo International Wine Awards

It was really interesting to see how well our little Wine-Of-Origin region did at Fridays’ Michelanglo International Wine Awards. We are very proud of the gold medals we received for the Vrede en Lust Jess 2010, Marguerite Chardonnay 2009 plus a silver medal for the new Sarah 2010 Unwooded Chardonnay. All of these wines are WO Simonsberg-Paarl.

Other Simonsberg-Paarl wineries that shone at the Michelangelo awards include Anura, Marianne, Mt Vernon, Neil Joubert, Backsberg, GlenCarlou and Noble Hill. Anura (Golden Oldie Trophy), Marianne (CCL Label Grand Prix Trophy) and Mt Vernon (Garagiste Trophy) excelled; bringing home 33% of the trophies to the Simonsberg-Paarl ward!

Wine of Origin Ward Simonsberg-Paarl

Not all wineries enter all competitions and winemakers have to decide which wines they enter. We entered 5 wines – Sarah 2010, Jess 2010, Marguerite 2009, Syrah 2007 and Viognier 2010. The Syrah 2007 received a silver medal last year and is more elegant than showy. The Viognier 2010 is really a beautiful wine, but Viognier is a tough category due to a wide range of wine styles.

We have retired the Boet Erasmus 2007 from competitions following its Best SA Red Wine Trophy win at the IWC; the Mocholate Malbec 2009 is sold out; the Elgin Sauvignon Blanc 2009 was nearly sold out and the 2010 was bottled too late for this competition. We do not enter the limited release wines such as the new Casey’s Ridge Pinot Grigio or our Barrique white blend.

We own two vineyards in the Simonsberg-Paarl ward; Vrede en Lust and Ricton (next to Babylonstoren & Neil Joubert) plus our Casey’s Ridge cool climate vineyard in Elgin. Our Sauvignon Blanc, Barrique and Pinot Grigio wines are WO Elgin. We also plan to release a 2010 Casey’s Ridge Viognier and a Casey’s Ridge Chenin/Chardonnay/Viognier 2010 barrel fermented white blend sometime in 2011.

In South African vineyard demarcation terms, the Vrede en Lust vineyard fall under Simonsberg-Paarl, which in turn falls under Paarl, which is part of Coastal and ultimately Western Cape. The Simonsberg-Paarl ward is quite small and of very similar soils, as opposed the wide range of soils and terroir in the large region such as Paarl.

The ward is located along the southern edge of the Paarl region, along the slopes of the mighty Simonsberg and borders Stellenbosch to the southwest and Franschhoek to the southeast. The map shows the wineries that fall inside the Simonsberg-Paarl ward.

The Simonsberg-Stellenbosch sister-ward on the other side of the mountain, is home to many of South Africa’s best-known wineries, including Kanonkop, Rustenberg, Thelema, Muratie, Delheim, Warwick, L’Avenir, Morgenhof, Tokara and Quoin Rock.

Just to complicate matters, Vrede en Lust is part of the Vignerons Franschhoek wine route and belong to the Franschhoek Wine Valley Tourism Association. It seems to irritate some local wine hacks no end! They seem to battle with the difference between ‘Wine of Origin’ and ‘Wine-Route’ (from the old German term ‘Wine Road’).

It amazes me that said wine hacks never take on the likes of Vergelegen, Morgenster, Lourensford or new winery Waterkloof for being part of Stellenbosch Wine Routes, despite being located the other side of Somerset West!! Maybe we are just smaller and easier to pick on?