This year's Decanter World Wine Awards Regional Trophy for South African Single-Varietal Red over £15 went to Spier, 21 Gables Pinotage, Stellenbosch 2011 (14.5%)

Tasted against:

  • Wildekrans, Barrel Select Reserve Pinotage, Walker Bay 2012


The men to be credited for Spier’s trio of stunning successes are cellarmaster Frans Smit and viticulturist Johann Smit. Together they have developed an innate understanding of the land on which they work, and know how to eke out the very most from it.

This Trophy-winner was first released with the 1999 vintage, and its fruit comes from a special plot of land, says Johann: ‘The Pinotage grapes are sourced from an 18-year-old, low-yielding single vineyard in Faure. It has two types of soil, including one with high clay content, ensuring excellent water retention.

‘The vineyard gets strong, cooling ocean breezes and as the vines are planted in the direction the wind blows, it travels down the vines, not against them,’ he explains.

‘We focus on cooler terroirs for Pinotage. Their longer ripening periods make a big difference to the quality of the grapes, and the resulting wines have more structured tannins.’

Completing a remarkable hat trick of Trophies for Spier at DWWA 2014, this is a cracking example of South Africa’s signature red grape.

Written by Decanter