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Our iconic Redhill Pinotage won its seventh Absa Top 10 Pinotage Trophy last week, making this one of the most consistently lauded wines in the history of this prestigious competition.

The Absa Top 10 Pinotage Awards, presented since 1997, was held at Boschendal this year, with our famous Redhill Pinotage once again winning one of the coveted trophies with the 2017 vintage.

The 2019 competition attracted 161 entries from regions throughout South Africa’s wine landscape, and according to Pinotage Association chairman Beyers Truter, the annual event is becoming more competitive each year as the quality of Pinotage, as well as the offering of stylistic diversity, increases.

According to cellarmaster, Debbie Thompson, the Absa Top 10 accolade remains a triumph for every Pinotage producer. “To win this award seven times for this particular wine is an incredible feeling as the Redhill feels like an extension of my being as a winemaker,” she says. “The vineyard, the grapes’ ripening stages, the expression of the young wine in the barrels – to be a part of this wine’s annual life-cycle and then to see the wine impressing the strict palates judging the Top 10, all this has been one of my most rewarding experiences as a winemaker to date.

“And yes, I accept this award on behalf of the country’s woman winemakers who do not always share in the industry’s accolades. As I told Beyers on receiving this Top 10 award – you guys must watch out, the time of the South African woman winemaker has come!”

Thompson ascribed her success with the Redhill Pinotage to the incredible terroir on Simonsig, as well as the inspiration she has received and continues to receive from the Estate’s Director of Wine, Johan Malan.

“The majority of the Pinotage block is deep red soil comprising shale and granite, ideal Pinotage soil,” says Thompson, who joined Simonsig in 1999. “The vines always give lovely ripe, concentrated berries which are the perfect fruit for a winemaker to work with.

“With Simonsig’s rich history of producing quality red wines I am also truly humbled by the confidence Johan has shown in entrusting me with this superb fruit from one of Stellenbosch’s most well known-wine farms. It is a dream come true just working on this farm and this award is for Johan, our team in the cellar and the vineyard and for South African Pinotage. Despite this being our seventh Absa Top 10 Pinotage award, the elation is as great as ever. What a way to celebrate my 20th year at this fantastic estate.”

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