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Kleine Zalze and Kwv Glitter at Michelangelo
In one of the most competitive line-ups in the 22 year history of the Michelangelo International Wine & Spirts Awards, Stellenbosch producer Kleine Zalze made history when a Shiraz was awarded not only the Grand Prix Wine Trophy  - the show’s top accolade, but for the first time in Michelangelo’s history, a second trophy was awarded to the same wine, namely the Shiraz trophy, sponsored by SA Airlink.  The Kleine Zalze Family Reserve Shiraz 2015 was the highest scoring wine (98 points) at this year’s competition, which attracted a record number of 2 255 wines and spirits entries. This now makes Michelangelo the largest competition of its kind on the Africa continent and one of the leaders in the southern hemisphere.

The Grand Prix Trophy for Highest Scoring Dessert Wine was awarded to legendary muscadel producer Nuy Winery from Worcester for the Nuy Wit Muskadel 2006.

Since its inception Michelangelo has differentiated itself from other competitions in using a judging panel comprising a majority of international wine and spirits experts. For this year’s judging, 30 judges from 16 nationalities were called upon to score the record number of entries.

Lorraine Immelman, founder and CEO of the Michelangelo Awards says that the judges were unanimous in their view that South Africa was making the finest wines in its history, complemented by a diverse and exciting component of top-quality spirits.

“This year’s judges included British Masters of Wine, sommeliers, wine and spirits producers, educators, spirits experts and influential journalists from Europe, the Far East and the Americas, some of whom have judged on numerous Michelangelo Awards panels in the past,” says Immelman. “The quality of wines are at a noticeable all-time high, with the brandies and other spirits termed world-class in terms of distillation technique and diversity of flavour.”

Out of the 2225 entries for this year’s competition, the judges handed out 26 trophies, 36 Platinum medals and 150 Double Gold medals.

“The high number of double gold medals certainly reflects the judges’ comments and the scores which were returned this year,” says Immelman. “Despite an extra workload due to the record number of entries, judges were unanimous in agreeing that the standard of entries was the highest it has ever been in terms of both the wine and spirits categories.”

Top Producers:

As far as individual producers are concerned, the KWV put in a formidable performance winning one trophy, a Platinum Medal, five Double Gold Medals and 13 Gold Medals. The Paarl-based producer, which celebrates its centenary this year, took the Michelangelo Cabernet Sauvignon Trophy for its Mentors Cabernet Sauvignon 2014. KWV Classic Collection Cape Tawny won a Platinum Medal, with Double Golds going to Mentors Noble Late Harvest 2015, Mentors Pinotage 2016, Classic Collection Cape Full Cream, KWV Heritage Cognac XO and IMOYA brandy.

Boplaas Family Vineyards from Calitzdorp was another top achiever at this year’s Michelangelo Wine & Spirits Awards winning two Platinum Medals, three Double Golds and Five Golds.

Boplaas Cape Vintage Reserve 2016 and its Cape Tawny Aged Whisky each won a Platinum Medal, while Double Golds went to Boplaas’ acclaimed red wine the Ring of Rocks Family Reserve 2015, its Cape Tawny Vintners Reserve and the Heritage Muscadel 2013.

Another Calitzdorp producer, De Krans, also excelled in this year’s competition with two Platinum Medals, one each for its Cape Vintage Reserve 2015 as well as for the Cape Vintage Reserve 2016.

Durbanville winery Diemersdal Estate put in a sterling performance on the wine front, winning one Platinum, three Double Gold and two Gold medals. The Platinum was awarded to the Diemersdal Pinotage Reserve 2016, while the sixth generation farm owned by the Louw family took Double Golds for its Private Collection 2016 Bordeaux blend, the Diemersdal Woolworths Reserve Collection Merlot Malbec 2017 and its Eight Rows Sauvignon Blanc 2018.

Another top achiever on the wine front was Glen Carlou from Paarl which won five Double Gold Medals and two Golds. The Double Golds were awarded to Glen Carlou’s The Curator Collection Red Blend 2017, Chardonnay 2017, Barrel Select Chardonnay 2015, Barrel Select Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 and the Barrel Select Cabernet Sauvignon 2014.

This year’s Michelangelo Brandy Trophy was presented to Die Mas Winery from Kakamas in the Northern Cape for the Kalahari Truffel Potketel Brandewyn.

Benefitting the producers:

During the Michelangelo awards ceremony, Immelman emphasised the importance of finding added ways of benefitting wine and spirits producers entering the event. For her, it is about adding value through Michelangelo.

“Our competition has always been committed to ensuring that producers entering the competition and the people who follow the lauded wines and spirits, find value in the Michelangelo brand,” says Immelman. This is the second year, for example, that the competition has embraced the world’s increasing dependence on technology to bring a world first to wine competitions.

QR technology adding value for producers:

“Using various experts in the field of digital marketing, Michelangelo last year embarked on a ground-breaking project that - as far we know - is a world first,” she says. “Since 2017 the coveted Michelangelo awards stickers - from Silver and Gold to Double gold and Platinum, all the way up to trophy award stickers - carry a QR code. Once scanned on a smartphone the user gets access to a variety of information on the product, including tasting notes and a guide as to where the specific product can be purchased and/or ordered. Data on the websites and booking major Michelangelo sponsors – Multi-Color Corporation, Airlink and the Tsogo Sun group - is also accessible.”

New partners:

For the 2018 competition Michelangelo has also partnered with South African Airways and retail giant Checkers who will be offering a selection of awarded wines to its customers through their respective lounges, on-board service and retail channels.

The full list of Trophy Winners for the 2018 Michelangelo International Wine & Spirits Awards: Nuy Wit Muskadel 2006: MultiColor Corporation Dessert Wine Grand Prix Trophy
Kleine Zalze Family Reserve Shiraz  2015: MultiColor Corporation Grand Prix Trophy
Cap Classique Jacques Bruére Cuveé Rosé Brut 2011: African Cellar Suppliers MCC Trophy
De Grendel Op Die Berg Pinot Noir 2015: African Cellar Suppliers Pinot Noir Trophy
Leopard's Leap Chenin Blanc 2018: B2S Chenin Blanc Trophy
Autograph Gin: Distillique Craft Gin Trophy
Incendo Distillery ID Golden Rum: Distillique Craft Rum Trophy
Pienaar& Son Waskis Vodka: Distillique Craft Vodka Trophy
Ginny Fowl Black Sesame & Cacao Sipping Gin: Distillique Most Innovative Craft Spirits Trophy
De Wet Cellar Pettilent Franté: IQ Business Most Innovative Wine Trophy
Vondeling Bowwood Pinotage 2015: JF Hillebrand Pinotage Trophy
Die Mas Kalahari Truffel Potketel Brandewyn: Michelangelo  Brandy Trophy
KWV The Mentors Cabernet Sauvignon Darling 2014: Michelangelo Cabernet Sauvignon Trophy
Renosterbos Nebbiolo 2017: Michelangelo Garagiste Trophy
Ormonde Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2003: Michelangelo Golden Oldie Trophy
Pang Blueberry Liqueur: Michelangelo Liqueur Trophy
Oldenburg Merlot 2014: Michelangelo Merlot Trophy
Waverley Hills Grenache 2017: Michelangelo Organic Trophy
Indian Whisky Bold: Michelangelo Whisky Trophy
Kleine Zalze Family Reserve Shiraz 2015: SA Airlink Shiraz Trophy
Backsberg Family Reserve Red Blend 2016: TM Mercurey French Style Red Blend Trophy
Lé Café Pinotage  2016: TN Coopers Coffee Pinotage Trophy
Alvi's Drift Reserve Drift Fusion 2016: Trane Cape Blend Trophy
Rizling Rýnsky (Rhine Riesling) 2017: Trane International Trophy
Mitre's Edge Cabernet Franc 2015: Tsogo Sun Cabernet Franc Trophy
Fleur du Cap Series Priveé Sauvignon Blanc 2017: Vinventions Sauvignon Blanc Trophy

For more information and the full list of results, see www.michelangeloawards.com