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By Myrna Robins


Cellars in the Robertson Wine region produced a total of 15 winners in the 2017 National Wine Challenge. 
The results of the National Wine Challenge and the Top 100 SA wines were released recently, with a motor showroom in Cape Town  as the chosen venue. More than 500 wines were entered, with chardonnay being the most prominent varietal in the white Top 100 winners and shiraz taking the lead in the red wines. 
Four Robertson Wine Valley cellars scooped  awards both in the Top 100, which are the Double Platinum winners, as well as being receiving recognition in the shiraz, cinsaut and cabernet sauvignon categories, and attracting double silver in shiraz, cab franc and sauvignon blanc classes. 
De Wetshof estate’s The Site Chardonnay 2015, not only made it to the Top 100 but is the winner of the Grand Cru award for Best in Class. The estate’s two unwooded Chardonnays, Bon Vallon and Limestone Hill both won Double Gold for the 2016 vintage. 
De Wetshof CEO Johann de Wet remarked: “With its stringent judging process the SA Top 100 list affords recognition of which any successful producer can feel justifiably proud... As its name implies, The Site is a wine with an address, showing a fingerprint of site-specificity which is a non-negotiable aspect of all De Wetshof’s chardonnays. The Top 100 Award also underscores the Robertson Wine Region’s ability to make world-class chardonnay.” 
Two of Graham Beck Wines’ illustrious MCC’s reached Double Platinum scores, and are therefore in the Top 100 wines . The Graham Beck Blanc de Blancs 2012 and their Brut Rosé 2011 are the winners, while their Cuvée Clive Cap Classique 2011 attracted Double Gold.
Graham Beck winemaker Pierre de Klerk summed up their achievement as follows: “We are immensely proud of this achievement – receiving two Double Platinum/Top 100 wines as well as Double Gold means we’re undoubtedly on the right track in our pursuit of the perfect bubble. Graham Beck has shown that it truly is a leader in the field when it comes to producing bubblies that raise the bar in terms of quality, consistency, elegance and versatility”.
First time entrant Lord’s Wines has every reason to celebrate its hat trick of awards, with their MCC Brut Rosé making it into the Double Platinum/Top 100 status and their Three Barrel shiraz 2012 attracting Double Gold. Lord’s shiraz 2015 was recognised with Double Sliver.
Owner Jacie Oosthuizen praised the team’s commitment, loyalty and hard work, while winemaker Alwyn Liebenberg summed up the wines as “an absolute fantastic result for us”. Partner Melané Oosthuizen added: As a young winery in the McGregor valley, high up on the northern slopes, we strive to create elegant wines and this recognition is both humbling and exciting for our team.” 
Rietvallei Estate, one of the region’s oldest wine estates has seen the Burger family celebrate success for no less than six of their wines.   The Rietvallei cinsaut 2015, JMB chardonnay and Rietvallei cabernet sauvignon, all 2015 vintage, were awarded Double Gold, while the JMB Cabernet Franc 2014, the Rietvallei Estanna Red 2013 and the Rietvallei Sauvignon Blanc 2016 all attracted Double Silver awards. 
Said cellarmaster Kobus Burger: "It’s fantastic when recognition is given to one’s hard work. Our team has put huge effort into making world class wines over many years and to have so many of our wines represented in the 2017 NWC is a great compliment to the fact."