Stellenbosch wine estate Kleine Zalze achieved new heights after being named Top
Performing Winery of the Year by Platter’s South African wine guide, arguably the
most comprehensive guide to South African wine and one of the most highly
regarded in the world.
The guide, sponsored by Diner’s Club, bestowed
the title on the winery, which saw no less than seven of its wines achieve the
five-star apex rating whilst a further six wines received a four and a half
Kleine Zalze! In a year where we tasted fantastic wines from the 2017 and 2019
vintages, your stellar achievement of seven Five Star wines is remarkable.
It is amazing to think that, only 25 years ago, Kleine Zalze was a neglected
cellar and vineyard – and now you are on the forefront of brand South Africa!
To the entire team, our congratulations on the well-deserved fruits of
sustained, dedicated and creative work” said Platter’s guide publisher JP
The announcement follows just weeks after the
experienced judges at the esteemed Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show named Kleine
Zalze its Most Successful Producer Overall.
“To be named best producer in consecutive
premium competitions by two of South Africa’s most influential and experienced
wine-tasting panels is a wonderful acknowledgement for the team,” says Kleine
Zalze owner and managing director Kobus Basson. “It may seem like our stars
have finally aligned this year, but a lot of thought, investment and work
brought us to this point in the Kleine Zalze journey. Next year will be 25
years since we acquired Kleine Zalze and embarked on this journey. Our aim was
to build a sustainable wine business and to keep the focus on improving our
wines across price points, styles and cultivars whilst ensuring that we stay
relevant to the market”.
Three of the seven wines selected for five
star-glory are from the Family Reserve Range, namely the Cabernet Sauvignon
2017, Chenin Blanc 2019 and Sauvignon Blanc 2019. They were joined by one wine
from the Vineyard Selection Range, the Vineyard Selection Chenin Blanc 2019.
Then, there is a trio of Kleine Zalze “Project
Z” wines that received the five-star accolade. Project Z is an eclectic
collection of exceptional and individual wines from Kleine Zalze. With Project
Z, the team of winemakers at Kleine Zalze had free reign to interact with
nature, to search for the ultimate expression from a vineyard and to push the
boundaries of creativity and innovation in order to keep growing and evolving.
The “project” originated back in 2014 from
discussion between owner, Kobus Basson, and the winemaking team at the time.
From their discussions, the “project” grew and today the cornerstones of the
Project Z wines are a selection of vineyards on extraordinary sites and an
impressive collection of Italian amphorae that were steadily acquired since
2015. And of course, a dedicated, committed, and skilful team.
The development of the wines has been part of
ongoing experimentation in the winery, initially to create blend components to
evolve the style and to enhance the top wines from the estate. Their
stand-alone excellence however, led to the decision to bottle small lots of the
most exceptional wines. The wines offer a different perspective on what Kleine
Zalze is capable of. The first wine was bottled in 2017 and this year sees the
unveiling of the first of these small-volume and limited-edition wines.
Six Project Z wines have been released, all of
which achieved 4½ stars and more at Platter’s this year. The five-star winners
in this range are the Project Z Chenin Blanc 2018, Grenache 2017 and Syrah
“Platter’s is significant to us because it is
certainly one of the most important tasting panels in the country, and one of
the most comprehensive,” says Kleine Zalze cellar master Alastair Rimmer. “We
are also excited that through consistent recognition locally and from the best
international competitions, we help showcase, not only on our own terroir, but
of what South African wine is truly capable of producing.”
Kleine Zalze’s head of winemaking RJ Botha
adds: “It has been a wonderful year with the efforts of the entire team
culminating in a series of top awards. We worked really hard to improve and
refine our efforts from the farming and viticultural side where Henning Retief
and Anel Botha work tirelessly to the cellar where the winemakers keep pushing
the boundaries to deliver even better quality than what our consumers and
supporters expect.” The significant number of accolades amassed in 2020 in the most recent
months certainly is testament of the efforts of the entire team at Kleine
Heralded at the Old Mutual
Trophy Wine Show were
amongst others the Kleine
Zalze Vintage Brut Cap Classique 2013, which received the Trophy for the Best
Sparkling Wine, and the Kleine Zalze Family Reserve Chenin Blanc 2018, which
claimed the Harold Eedes Trophy for Best Chenin Blanc.
At the Michelangelo
International Wine & Spirits Awards, the winery
received Platinum for the Kleine Zalze Family Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2019 –
one of only 24 entries to receive Platinum – and Double Gold for the Kleine
Zalze Vineyard Selection Sauvignon Blanc 2019.
In addition, six Gold medals were awarded to
the Kleine Zalze Vineyard Selection Chenin Blanc 2019, Kleine Zalze Cellar
Selection Cabernet Sauvignon 2018, Kleine Zalze Family Reserve Shiraz 2016,
Kleine Zalze Vineyard Selection Shiraz 2017, Kleine Zalze Cellar Selection
Chardonnay 2020, and Kleine Zalze Cellar Selection Chenin Blanc Bush Vines
UK Master of Wine Tim Atkin awarded eight Kleine Zalze wines with
medals of excellence – wines that attained over 90 in the 100-point assessment.
At the esteemed Concours
Mondial de Bruxelles in
September – one of Europe’s benchmark competitions – the Kleine Zalze Vineyard
Selection Chenin Blanc 2019 was the top performing wine from South Africa,
winning Grand Gold. The winery collected a further three gold medals.