Diemersdal snaps up ninth Absa Top 10 Pinotage Trophy

Thys Louw from Diemersdal, middle, with the Absa Top 10 Pinotage Trophy. Left is Beyers Truter, chairperson of the SA Pinotage Association, and on the right is John Tshabalala, Absa’s managing executive for the Western Cape.

Durbanville wine estate Diemersdal staked its claim as one of the most successful producers in the history of the annual Absa Top 10 Pinotage Trophy Awards. The estate raked in its ninth Top 10 Trophy. Diemersdal’s The Journal Pinotage 2018 was selected as one of the Top 10 winners in the prestigious competition, which attracted 149 entries.

“The Absa Top 10 Pinotage Trophy is one of the most sought-after red wine trophies for any South African winemaker. Winning it for the ninth time is a true privilege,” says Thys Louw, owner-winemaker at Diemersdal. “Now to go for the magic number ten!”

What the award means for Diemersdal

Although Louw is used to getting his hands on an Absa Top 10 Trophy, the award was especially sweet because this year’s winning wine was a new Pinotage in the Diemersdal range.

“The Journal is a collection of three wines we released earlier this year to emphasise the importance of heritage and legacy at Diemersdal through an ultimate quality wine offering,” says Louw, who is a sixth-generation Louw farming on this Durbanville estate. “It is extremely rewarding to see one of The Journal wines, our Pinotage, win this cherished accolade in its first year on the market.”

Louw says an Absa Top 10 Award is one you do not take for granted. “The number of quality Pinotage producers is increasing as more winemakers discover the magical qualities of the grape and its ability to express the sites of our country’s best wine regions.

“Winning an Absa Top 10 Award in this environment of quality wines makes it truly special. I would like to congratulate every other trophy winner, finalist and entrant for what they are doing to make Pinotage an extraordinary red wine category. This category of wines contributes to showcasing the South African wine industry,” he adds.

How Diemersdal’s excellent Pinotage was made

Pinotage has a long history in Durbanville and on Diemersdal, where the oldest unirrigated Pinotage bush vines are 45 years old.

“Dryland farming on clay and shale soils and the maritime influence all add to the structure of the wine. It is characterised by a formidable backbone complemented with a bright fruit expression,” says Louw. “We aim for sturdiness in the wine, but elegance and refinement are non-negotiable.”

After harvesting, the grapes were fermented in one-ton open wood fermenters for four days at 26 to 28°C. The cap was punched down every three hours. Wood maturation was completed over 22 months, also in 225ℓ French oak barrels, of which 60% was new.

“The cellar and vineyard teams have embraced Pinotage as one of Diemersdal’s key red varieties. It is their understanding of the grape – from the vine to the bottling of the final wine ­– that enables them to make a Pinotage showing true quality,” says Louw. “And more importantly, this ninth Absa Top 10 Trophy has proven the quality to be consistent.” – Press release, Diemersdal