Durbanville wine estate Diemersdal staked a place as one of the most successful producers in the history of the annual Absa Top 10 Pinotage Trophy awards by this year raking in its 10th Top 10 trophy. Diemersdal’s The Journal Pinotage 2019 was selected as one of the Top 10 winners in the prestigious annual competition, which was held for the 25th time.

This places Diemersdal among the top three producers in the history of the Absa Top 10 competition and arguably the most successful winery ever from the Durbanville wine region. In an amazing year for Diemersdal thus far on the competition front, Diemersdal was recently also named Best Producer at the Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show.

“The Absa Top 10 Pinotage Trophy is one of the most sought-after red wine trophies for any South African winemaker, and winning it for the 10th time is a true privilege and honour,” says Thys Louw, owner-winemaker at Diemersdal. “Winning it has always been a highlight each time we have been fortunate enough to do so. But becoming one of the few producers to get 10 Absa Pinotage trophies on the mantelpiece is something special.”

Louw might be used to getting his hands on an Absa Top 10 Trophy, but the award was especially sweet as this year’s winning wine was a Pinotage in Diemersdal’s new The Journal range, released last year. The 2018 Pinotage vintage of this range won a Top 10 trophy in 2020.

“The Journal is a collection of three wines we released earlier this year to emphasise the importance of heritage and legacy at Diemersdal through an ultimate quality wine offering,” says Louw who is the sixth generation Louw to farm on this Durbanville Estate. “It is extremely rewarding to see one of The Journal wines, our Pinotage, win this cherished accolade in its second year on the market.”

Louw says an Absa Top 10 is an award you don’t take for granted. “The number of quality Pinotage producers is increasing at a rate of knots as more winemakers discover the magical qualities of the grape and its ability to express the sites of our country’s best wine regions.

“Winning an Absa Top 10 in this environment of quality wines makes it very special. I want to congratulate every other Trophy winner, finalist and entrant for what they are doing to make Pinotage an extraordinary red wine category which is one of the showcases of the South African wine industry.”

Pinotage has a long history in Durbanville and on Diemersdal specifically, where the oldest unirrigated Pinotage bush-vines are 46 years-old.

“Dryland farming on clay and shale soils and the maritime influence all add to the structure of the wine which is characterised by a formidable backbone complemented with bright fruit expression,” says Louw. “We aim for sturdiness in the wine, but elegance and refinement are non-negotiable.”

After harvesting the grapes were fermented in one ton open wood-fermenters for four days at 26-28ºC. The cap was punched through every three hours. Wood maturation was done over 22 months, also in 225l French, of which 60% was new.

“The cellar and vineyard teams have embraced Pinotage as one of Diemersdal’s key red varieties, and it is their understanding of the grape – from the vine to the bottling of the final wine – that enables us to make a Pinotage showing true quality,” says Louw. “And more importantly, this 10th Absa Top 10 Trophy has shown the quality to be consistent.”