With the extraordinary range of Pinotage styles showcased at the recent Absa Top 10 Pinotage competition, it is no wonder that there is immense anticipation as this year’s Perold Absa Cape Blend finalists are announced. This competition kicked off in 2011 and has grown year on year, with winemakers eager to portray their take on a Cape Blend, naturally with Pinotage as key component.

Judging panel convener Wilhelm Pienaar said that Pinotage makes for a unique blending component that is compatible with numerous varietals and allows winemakers to make distinctive and expressive South African red blends. He added that it is a great privilege to literally taste the creativity of winemakers with their various Cape Blend efforts, of which there were 44 entries this year.

The full judging panel consists of: Wilhelm Pienaar (Hermanuspietersfontein), Janno Briers-Louw (Eenzaamheid), Samarie Smith (Benguela Cove), Nataleé Botha (Kleine Zalze) and Heinrich Kulsen (Nederburg).

As always, the finalist wines are of world class quality, which shows how South African winemakers have not only figured out how to make harmonious Pinotage based blends with grapes originating from various regions, but also their commitment to this wine style and all that is Pinotage.

A new rule is in effect this year. The longstanding rule that a Cape Blend should comprise at least 30 % Pinotage, but not more than 70 %, still stands. But from the 2019 vintage  Pinotage should also be the major component.

The 10 finalists this year are from five different regions, including Stellenbosch, Wellington, Botrivier, West Coast and Robertson.




Asara Vineyard Collection Cape Fusion 2016
WO Stellenbosch: Shiraz, Pinotage, Malbec. Winemaker – Janette van Lill.

Beyerskloof Faith 2016
WO Stellenbosch: Pinotage, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot. Winemaker – Anri Truter.

Clos Malverne Spirit of Malverne Limited Release 2015
WO Stellenbosch: Pinotage, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Malbec. Winemaker- IP Smit.

Flagstone Dragon Tree Cape Blend 2017
WO Western Cape: Pinotage, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Mataro, Pinot Noir, Malbec. Winemaker-Gerhard Swart.

Kaapzicht Steytler Vision 2017
WO Stellenbosch: Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinotage, Merlot. Winemaker – Danie Steytler.

KWV Abraham Perold Tributum 2012
WO Coastal Region: Pinotage, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Petit Verdot, Petit Sirah. Winemaker – Izélle van Blerk.

Cape West Cabernet Sauvignon/Pinotage 2018 (Namaqua Wines)
WO West Coast Region: Pinotage, Cabernet Sauvignon. Winemaker – Reinier van Greunen.

Rooiberg Winery Reserve  Cape Blend 2015
WO Robertson: Pinotage, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz. Winemaker – André Scriven

Wellington Wines La Cave Cape Blend 2016
WO Wellington: Pinotage, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz. Winemaker – Francois van Niekerk

Wildekrans Cape Blend Barrel Select Reserve 2016
WO Botrivier: Pinotage, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Shiraz. Winemaker – Braam Gericke


 As for the Pinotage Rosé category, which is already in its third year, significant growth has seen the entries more than double, with 26 wines this year. The four finalists are from producers from the Stellenbosch, Worcester and Paarl regions.



Alvi’s Drift Signature Pinotage Rosé 2019
Winemaker – Dr. Alvi van der Merwe

Beyerskloof Pinotage Dry Rosé 2019
Winemaker – Anri Truter

Landskroon Blanc de Noir Pinotage Off-Dry 2019
Winemaker – Michiel du Toit

Windmeul Pinotage Rosé 2019
Winemaker – Abraham van Heerden


The Perold Absa Cape Blend Competition is in its 9th year and the five winners will be announced at an award function on 29 August 2019 at Lanzerac Wine Estate in Stellenbosch.