The ultimate expression of a premium Hemel-en-Aarde vineyard site, La Vierge Apogée Pinot Noir 2020 is the national Pinot Noir champion in the 2023 SA Terroir Wine Awards.
Having been selected as the winning pinot noir from the Walker Bay district, where it is located in the ward of Hemel-en-Aarde Ridge, La Vierge Apogée Pinot Noir 2020 was selected by the judges as the national pinot noir winner out of all winemaking districts.
The awards were announced at the Lanzerac Hotel in Stellenbosch on Wednesday, 16 August 2023.
“To be recognised as the top Pinot Noir from the country’s premium pinot noir area, and then the national winner against the winners from other superb Pinot Noir growing regions, is an ultimate honour.
“This award is recognition for our efforts in both the vineyard and the cellar to ensure Apogée epitomises the very best expression of the terroir of our incredible vineyards. It is a vineyard site-driven wine that emphasises the subtle differences created by altitude, aspect, clonal variety, and soil, with minimal intervention in the cellar allowing the vineyard to speak for itself,” said La Vierge winemaker Christo Kotze.
Apogée is the flagship of La Vierge’s four Pinot Noir styles and is grown in Bokkeveld Shale in the estate’s most elevated Hemel-en-Aarde Ridge vineyard, in the cool, temperate maritime Walker Bay climate. The area has high rainfall, and the vineyards are dryland farmed, for lower yields of high quality and fruit concentration, Kotze said.
This latest recognition comes just a few weeks after the 2020 vintage was one of only three South African wines to have been awarded a Trophy at the 2023 International Wine Challenge – claiming the South African Trophy for the country’s best Pinot Noir, while the Apogée Pinot Noir 2021 was the only South African Pinot Noir to be awarded Gold in the 2023 International Wine & Spirits Competition (IWSC), with 96 points – the highest score awarded in the competition.
The SA Terroir Wine Awards reward the “origin story” of South African wines, singling out those that best express their terroir – the unique combination of soil, altitude, climate in a specific winegrowing terrain that gives a wine its distinctive character and flavour.
Based on South Africa’s highly regarded Wine of Origin system, the exclusive competition is open only to certified single-vineyard, estate-produced wines from a distinct ward, or a district not divided into more than one ward. The winning wines at ward and district level are put forward for selection as national winners for cultivar or style.