The Trophy Wine Show, now in its 22nd year, held its awards function at the Delaire Graff Estate in Stellenbosch last week, headlined by Investec for the second consecutive year, recognizing and celebrating the very finest Cape wines. Survivor Cellar Master Series Chardonnay 2022 emerged as a standout performer, securing two trophies at one of the most rigorous wine competitions worldwide.
The win is a testament to the vision and expertise of Cellar Master Pierre Wahl, who skilfully sourced Chardonnay from Wine of Origin Tradauw, showcasing this lesser-known region’s exceptional potential. Membership of the esteemed Cape Winemakers Guild further underscores his unwavering dedication to his craft and the direction of Survivor Wines.
Wahl expressed his elation and highlighted the significance of this achievement, particularly with the inaugural Chardonnay release in the Cellar Master Series. By exploring the unique terroir of the Wine of Origin Tradauw, Wahl and his team unveiled the immense potential of this gateway to the more arid Karoo.
He remarked, “These trophies affirm the exceptional quality that this terroir can produce. It is gratifying to see our direction with the Cellar Master Series rewarded so early on. Usually, one needs more time to get better acquainted with the whims of such an area. Still, fortunately, I have experience working with shale soils in Tulbagh, and the diurnal temperature differences in Tradauw are even more prominent. The combination of soil and significant differences between night and day temperatures playing a crucial role in fruit development contribute to the elegance and longevity of this exceptional Chardonnay.”
Survivor Cellar Master Series Chardonnay 2022 derives its excellence from meticulously cultivated vineyards, focusing on terroir typicity ultimately expressed through a quintessential fruit purity and mineral core adding luminosity to the wine. The textbook analysis of healthy grapes harvested here lends to lightly oaked styles displaying a beautiful balance between freshness and fullness.
“We are dealing with 25-year-old vineyards. The older they are, the more terroir typicity they show.”
And while yields are low at approximately five tons per hectare, they believe it is worth every berry as it has proven to translate into complex, characterful and energetic wins with immense ageing potential.
“This trophy holds immense value for all of us at Survivor Wines. As a young brand, we are deeply committed to producing the highest quality wines. However, it is not just about the trophy itself; it symbolises our dedication to consistency and the ongoing challenge to build upon this achievement and maintain our standards,” added Wahl.
The judging panel for the Trophy Wine Show is led by respected wine authority Michael Fridjhon, who invites renowned local and international judges to evaluate the submitted wines. This year’s panel included respected figures such as Anne Krebiehl MW, a London-based wine writer and lecturer; Benjamin Roffet, Wine Director of the Jules Verne Restaurant on the Eiffel Tower in Paris; and Jancis Robinson MW OBE, the most influential wine critic in the English-speaking world. Out of 688 wines, the panel awarded 32 gold medals, 86 silver medals, and 320 bronze awards, ultimately bestowing 19 best-in-class trophies, including 4 Museum Class trophies.
Jancis Robinson MW OBE: “There is no doubt South African Chardonnay is a real attribute for the country. I get the sense South African winemakers are very confident making Chardonnay.”
Johannesburg: Wednesday, 14 June, 2023 | 17h00 – 21h00
VENUE: Sandton Convention Centre, Pavilion (Bill Gallagher Room)
Cape Town: Wednesday 21 June, 2023 | 17h00 – 21h00
VENUE: CTICC 2 The new building, Hall 8
Tickets via webtickets:
More about the Survivor Cellar Master Chardonnay 2022: If the sheer drinking pleasure of this youthful wine is anything to judge it by, it will become an even more profound version of itself with some years in the bottle. As the maiden vintage, this finely crafted Chardonnay is duly memorable with a fruit purity, texture, intensity, and tension only achievable if the expression of terroir remains its primary attribute. The wine’s luminosity is captured in an aromatic bouquet of citrus blossoms, crunchy yellow apples, dried pineapple, cinnamon, grapefruit and mandarin zest. An almond skin, bay leaf and chamomile undertone add a sophisticated, savoury sheen. Its vibrant acidity steers the fruit to the back of your mouth, evoking a salivating mineral quality while weaving a magical balance of sweet, sour and salty nuances onto the midpalate. Enjoy its persistence with whiffs of lemon meringue pie, almonds and grapefruit pith, balancing the creamy texture with a citrus-briny finish.