Neethlingshof Awarded Michelangelo Tropy
Neethlingshof Stars with Merlot and Sauvignon Blanc at Michelangelo 2019
Neethlingshof Estate in Stellenbosch was one of the top producers at this year’s Michelangelo International Wine&Spirits Awards, winning a Trophy, one Double Gold and four Gold medals.
Michelangelo is the leading wine competition in Africa and this year attracted 2036 entries judged by international wine and spirits experts from 22 countries. Neethlingshof Estate Merlot 2017 won the Bidvest Bank Merlot Trophy for Best Merlot, while Neethlingshof Sauvignon Blanc 2019 was awarded a Double Gold medal. Sauvignon blanc was the Michelangelo Awards’ most competitive category with 198 entries. Gold Medals went to Neethlingshof Estate Shiraz 2016, Cabernet Sauvignon 2016, Chardonnay 2019 and the Caracal 2017, a Bordeaux–styled blend.
Carina Gous, marketing and international sales manager for Neethlingshof, says the awards underscore Neethlingshof reputation as a leading Stellenbosch wine estate focussed on making exceptional terroir-driven wines. “Besides the South African wine landscape being awash with wine competitions, the offerings from the local market are increasing annually in terms of quality and the number of brands,” says Gous. “For an established Stellenbosch estate such as Neethlingshof to be able to stand out in competitions such as the Michelangelo International Wine Awards – the country’s largest wine competition – vindicates our maintaining the pursuit to making classical wines of outstanding quality. All our wines are made from grapes grown on the Estate as we believe that the decomposed granite and sandstone soils and our variety of different slopes and aspects gives Neethlingshof the exceptional terroir allowing us to achieve such quality.”
Neethlingshof Merlot 2017 was one of only 19 wines to be awarded a trophy out of the over 2000 entries. According to Neethlingshof cellarmaster De Wet Viljoen this wine expresses the superb 2017 vintage in the Cape winelands, one which is being talked about with as much reverence as the 2015.
“Merlot is South Africa’s leading varietal wine in terms of sales and the Merlot stakes are therefore very high, with a number of superb wines made from this variety,” he says. “For Neethlingshof to be crowned as top Merlot producer at this year’s Michelangelo Awards is a tremendous honour. It is recognition of our Stellenbosch terroir and the commitment of the viticulture team who ensures the cellar only gets the best quality fruit to work with. Then there is the Neethlingshof management who have positioned us as a classic South African estate, demanding nothing but world-class wines, expressing the individual character of the farm’s wine culture and its natural attributes. This ethos is great motivation.”
As a Michelangelo double gold medal winner in the competitive Sauvignon Blanc category, Neethlingshof shows its ability to make world-class white and red wines. “Our 2019 Sauvignon Blanc, which won the double gold, comes from a vintage I predicted would produce top-class wines from this variety,” says Viljoen. “It was a relatively cool vintage, despite the previous four years’ drought, and with Neethlingshof lying in the face of the summer south-easterly breeze, our Sauvignon Blanc had the cool conditions in which to develop the right degree of pyrazine-driven freshness and tropical complexity that good Sauvignon Blanc requires, and makes it South Africa’s most popular cultivar.”
Viljoen also says that the Michelangelo Awards’ commitment to using judging panels comprising a majority of international wine experts makes these accolades important. “As a world-player in wine, it is vital for South African winemakers to hear what foreign judges think of our wines,” he says. “Not only are these judges experienced in scrutinising wines from all winemaking countries on the globe, thereby providing a suitable yard-stick for us to measure ourselves by, but as an export country it is important for our industry to know how world palates judge our wines.”
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