Johan Jordaan, senior winemaker at Spier Wines since 2007, is the 2011 Diners Club Winemaker of the Year. This was announced at a gala event in Paarl on Saturday night (26 November). The Diners Club Young Winemaker of the Year is Matthew van Heerden of
Uva Mira Vineyards.
This year participants in the Winemaker of the Year competition were judged for their Bordeaux-style red blends while young winemakers competed for the title with dry white wines.
Jordaan won the award for his 2009 Spier Creative Block 5, a blend of the five classical varietals that make up the Bordeaux-style blend. In addition to the trophy he also receives a return ticket to any wine-producing country in the world plus a R50 000 travel allowance.
Matthew van Heerden won the title Young Winemaker of the Year for his 2009 Uva Mira Chardonnay, a single-vineyard wine of which 50% was aged for 11 months in new French oak. He won, addition to the trophy, a cash prize of R25 000.
Chairman of the judging panel Dave Hughes lauded the quality of the entries saying South African winemakers had proved once again
their world-class winemaking. “The winning wines in this year’s competition are both absolutely world- class. The fact that both are from the 2009 vintage confirms the excellence of that year for winemaking. It is probably our top vintage of the past 15 years.”
The Creative Block 5 to win Johan Jordaan the title is a Cabernet Sauvignon-led blend, that also includes Merlot, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc and Malbec which together produced, according to the judges, “a great balance of fruit, tannins and alcohol”.
Matthew van Heerden, who also serves as the chairperson of the SA Chardonnay Forum and is passionate about this cultivar, said he strove in his winning wine for the utmost fruit purity and a wine that would reflect a true sense of place.
In addition to Dave Hughes the other members of the judging panel were Vincent Lignac, wine judge and commentator Neil Pendock; Carrie Adams, wine judge and specialist liquor retailer; Margaret Fry, Cape Wine Master; Colin Frith, wine judge and honorary Cape Wine Master and Ntsiki Biyela, winemaker for Stellakaya Winery.