Mention the word Franschhoek and you wouldn't be mistaken for associating this picturesque valley with South Africa's Food and Wine Capital or hosting unforgettable festivals, but Franschhoek also produces some of the country's finest wines and Méthode Cap Classiques in its own right.
Over the past five years Franschhoek has been challenging other wine-producing areas in South Africa, with great strides in quality, and is proud to have many of the most innovative and progressive producers in the country among its wineries. This fact was reaffirmed at the announcement of the 5-star rated wines as reviewed in the authoritative and internationally recognized 2012 Platters South African Wine Guide, due for release this month.
Of the 7 000 wines tasted this year (400 more than in the 2011 guide), only 45 wines received the prestigious 5-star rating. Nine of these were awarded to wines produced in Franschhoek. According to the guide a 5-star wine is described as ‘superlative, a South African classic’. Two of the 5-star ratings were awarded to Franschhoek Méthode Cap Classiques, the Topiary Blanc de Blancs Brut 2009, and Colmant Brut Chardonnay NV. These were the only Méthode Cap Classiques to receive this sought after rating.
The other 5-star rated wines included:
1. Boekenhoutskloof Cabernet Sauvignon 2009
2. Graham Beck Chalkboard 2007
3. Cape Chamonix Pinot Noir Reserve 2010
4. Boekenhoutskloof Syrah 2009
5. La Motte Pierneef Shiraz Viognier 2009
6. Graham Beck Pheasant’s Run 2011
7. Boekenhoutskloof Noble Late Harvest 2008
Adding to the Platter accolades Boekenhoutskloof was awarded Winery of the Year, a prestigious award which is the editor’s personal selection. The criteria of this award is to showcase a producer who epitomises the best of South African winegrowing today. Furthermore, Boekenhoutskloof’s The Wolftrap White 2010 was named Superquaffer of the Year. Red Wine Of The Year was awarded to Chamonix’s Pinot Noir Reserve 2010, which is described in the guide as ‘plush and vibrant’. This accolade is awarded to a 5-star rated red wine receiving the most votes from the judging panel.
With these esteemed recognitions as well as numerous international awards for their outstanding wines, during the past five years, Franschhoek winemakers have also clinched the titles of Winemaker of Year, Woman Winemaker of the Year and Young Winemaker of the Year.
Irene Waller, winemaker at La Bri, has recently been appointed as the new Chairman of the Vignerons de Franschhoek. Irene, who worked at Graham Beck in Robertson for six years, will head up the group of dynamic Franschhoek winemakers as they continue to be in the forefront of the winemaking industry. ‘I’m really looking forward to working with the producers as I believe they have a wealth of innovative ideas which we can take forward into the future of winemaking,’ says Irene.
Reaffirming that Franschhoek is foremost in wine tourist destinations, La Motte Wine Estate was recently voted the South African winner of the Great Wine Capitals Best of Wine Tourism Awards for 2012. Great Wine Capitals is a network of the world’s leading wine producing countries that share international best practice in the name of advancing standards in wine tourism globally. The estate was also voted as:
• Winner in the category Arts and Culture;
• Second runner up in the category Sustainable Wine Tourism Practices;
• Second runner up in the category Architecture and Landscapes;
• Third runner up in the category Innovative Wine Tourism Experiences.
The Franschhoek Wine Valley was well represented in this internationally recognised competition with awards also presented to Grande Provence (second runner up in the category Accommodation, and third runner up in the category Wine Tourism Services) and Solms-Delta (winner in the category Innovative Wine Tourism Experiences, and third runner up in the category Arts and Culture).
‘We’re extremely proud of our winemakers who continue to produce world-class quality wines. In doing so they keep Franschhoek top of mind as a preferred wine destination for local and foreign tourists,’ says Franschhoek Wine Valley CEO Jenny Prinsloo.