South Africa continues to show the world that it has what it takes in the spirit and wine stakes.
* Amarula Cream has won its third international gold medal for excellence this year, awarded by the International Wine and Spirit Competition (IWSC) in London. The latest coup follows golds clinched in Europe at Concours Mondial in Brussels and in the US at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition.
Says global spokeswoman for the brand, Tamsyn Parkins: “Three very different competitions, three very different panels, yet the results are consistent and speak to the universal appreciation of the African Original.”
The IWSC panellists taste entries blind and as the organisers put it: “They use the Olympic principle of awarding medals so that only the highest quality entries are awarded, and they do not give medals away.”
Amarula Cream’s newly released sibling, Amarula Gold, a clear golden spirit with a 30 percent alcohol volume, that’s made for mixing, did not escape unnoticed by the IWSC panel of industry experts. It won a silver outstanding medal in its international competition debut in London. To achieve this A+ rating, entries must score between 86 and 90 percent.
Amarula Cream and Amarula Gold are made from wild-harvested marula fruit. Amarula Cream, launched in 1989, celebrates its 25th birthday this spring.
* Receiving its sixth consecutive gold medal from the International Wine and Spirits Competition was the proudly South African single grain whisky, Bain’s Cape Mountain Whisky.
Lauded for its “big, strong fragrant nose with vanilla and orange, caramel toffee and spicy oak” flavours by the panel, the “sound, full flavoured finish” echoes the reason whisky experts and consumers from around the world have been praising this multi-award winning whisky since its launch in 2009.
Inspired by the Cape’s mountains and its natural beauty, Bain’s Cape Mountain Whisky is South Africa’s first single grain whisky and is crafted at the James Sedgwick’s Distillery near the Bainskloof Pass.
The whisky is inspired by the areas’ magnificent peaks, cool, sparkling streams, wooded valleys and indigenous fynbos.
Only the finest South African grain is used with water that flows over 850-million-year-old sandstone and indigenous fynbos, setting Bain’s Cape Mountain Whisky apart from any other whisky. The whisky is double-matured – first for three years in casks previously used for Bourbon, before being revatted into a fresh set of casks for a further maturation period that result in its smooth taste.
* Another worthy IWSC winner was the Three Ships 10-Year-Old Single Malt, released in limited quantities in October 2012. The international panel of judges praised the proudly South African single malt, for its “rich, full malty nose with bakery dough and ripe stone fruit. Some apricot and pear. Gracious entry with slow spread of flavours. Malt dried fruit and some very pleasant vanilla notes. Little wisp of attractive smoke. Firm, light and clean with beautiful balance. Full-fruited finish with some mature notes beginning to show.”
Launched in 2003, as a limited release, the Three Ships 10-Year-Old is South Africa’s first single malt whisky. Since then three additions were released in 2010, 2011 and 2012, commemorating the epic voyages of Bartholomew Diaz, Vasco da Gama and Jan van Riebeeck in a special collectors’ series.
The whisky is crafted at the James Sedgwick’s Distillery in Wellington, by master distiller Andy Watts, from the finest malted barley and aged for a minimum of 10 years in specially selected American oak casks of varying ages. The older, smaller casks, contributed to the exceptional smoothness of the whisky while the younger American Oak casks brought fruit and oak flavours to the fore.
* Flying the flag for South African wine, Nederburg’s 2011 Eminence was the only local wine to feature in the Top Ten Muscats du Monde.
The 2011 Eminence is a limited edition specialty sweet wine made for exclusive sale on the annual Nederburg Auction. Earlier this year, the same vintage won the trophy for best natural sweet dessert wine at the Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show.
The 2011 vintage joins its predecessors in earning wide acclaim. The 2010 vintage was a Veritas double gold winner and ranked five stars by the Platter’s South African Wine Guide.
The 2009 vintage was judged South Africa’s best sweet wine retailing for over £15 to win the 2013 Decanter World Wine Awards category trophy and was declared wine of the show at the 2011 Five Nations Wine Trophy Challenge in Sydney.