South African brandy wins further acclaim
Competition judging draws on the industry expertise of key members of the trade who serve as the gatekeepers to New York’s highly influential consumer base. Trends are set here that are followed worldwide. - Carrie Sanders, portfolio spokesperson, Distell.
South African brandies, like our wines, are increasingly acknowledged as among the finest in the world. The latest in a long list of awards for excellence goes to Distell. It was awarded the title of Distillery of the Year, winning the only double gold medal of the show at the 2011 New York International Spirits Competition.
This is the first time the company has entered the event, which attracted over 300 entries from 30 nations worldwide.
The double gold honours went to Oude Meester’s speciality, top-of-the range, Souverein. The luxury brandy, a blend of Savalle-potstills matured in French oak for 18 years and longer, also won gold medals at both the Veritas and Michelangelo International Wine Awards.
Silver medals went to 2 of the connoisseur brandies in the company’s portfolio: the Oude Meester Reserve 12 Year Old and Van Ryn’s 20 Year Old.
Earlier this year, premium brandies from South Africa won 6 gold medals at the 2011 Concours Mondial de Bruxelles wine and spirit competition, held in Luxembourg.
The prestigious Médaille d'Or award went to KWV's Laborie Alambic, Distell's Oude Meester Demant, Van Ryn's 15 Year Old Fine Cask Reserve, Distell's Klipdrift Gold, Oude Meester 12 Year Old Reserve and, to the LadiSmith 8 Year Vintage Pot Still from small southern Cape Vineyards.
These awards are testament to the consistent quality of South African brandies and the depth of quality of brandy producers and their products.
South African grape brandies are, by law, made almost exactly as in Cognac, using a double-distillation process in copper pot stills followed by aging in oak barrels for a minimum of 3 years. This helps ensure that South Africa produces brandies of a very high quality.
Like our wines, most of South Africa’s brandy is produced in the magnificent Cape winelands. There are 3 main brandy routes that take in some of the best-known wine farms and distilleries in the country.
On the Western Cape Brandy Route, you will visit Avontuur, Louiesenhof, Tokara, Uitkyk and Van Ryn in picturesque Stellenbosch. In Paarl, taste wines and brandies at Backsberg, Laborie, Nederburg and KWV. Wellington has De Compagnie, Oude Wellington and Upland. The small town of Grabouw is home to the Oude Molen distillery, which is well worth a visit to see its massive copper stills.
The R62 Brandy Route starts at the KWV House of Brandy in Worcester. You can then visit the Klipdrift facility in Robertson, Rietrivier in Montagu, Barrydale Wine and Brandy Cellar in Barrydale, and Boplaas in Calitzdorp. Between Calitzdorp and Oudtshoorn you'll find Grundheim, while the Kango Wijnhuis is just outside Oudtshoorn. The final stop is Mons Ruber on the road between Oudtshoorn and De Rust.