Barely two weeks after the Quest Heroes Journey 1 2011, a red Bordeaux blend, won a Double Gold at the Michelangelo Wine Competition, the Quest Heroes Journey 2 Rhône-style wine scored a Gold medal at the 2016 Veritas Wine Awards.
This year’s Veritas Wine Awards attracted 1 670 entries. South Africa’s most important wine show, Veritas was held for the 26th time in 2016. Of the 1 670 entries, only 38 managed Double Gold and 167 wines collected Gold.
According to Shawn Thomson, cellar master at Du Toitskloof Wines, both medals for two Quest wines can be seen as inspiring achievements for this popular winery situated in the Breedekloof Wine Valley.
“The Veritas Gold medal for the Quest Heroes Journey 2 is a major achievement, as the South African wine industry is bursting at the seams with terrific wines made to this style from esteemed producers from the country’s top wine regions,” says Thomson. “To manage a Gold medal among such fierce competition is no small feat. Just as has been the case with the Michelangelo Double Gold, the Veritas recognition has given Du Toitskloof Wines a tremendous boost as far as our image and reputation is concerned.”
The Quest Heroes Journey 2 is a blend of Shiraz (70%) and Mourvèdre (30%) sourced from various top vineyard sites in the Western Cape. Willie Stofberg, assistant to Thomson and one who is responsible for the Quest range says that the approach to making this wine was classic, thorough and detailed.
“The brief for the Quest was to make a wine that could compete with the best, so no short-cuts are taken,” says Stofberg.
“During the vinification the two parcels of fruit were exposed to separate methods of open tank fermentation. The first method is a “softer” approach with aerated pump-overs, ensuring the extraction of deep colour and softer tannins while embodying the wine with an intriguing spiciness.
“The other parcel was picked later and vinified using the traditional punch-down method. The fermentation cap was punched down four times a day, resulting in more robust tannins as well as excellent structure and concentration. The wines were blended, undergoing malolactic fermentation in new French oak barrels in which the maturation also took place.”
Barrel-tastings were done every six months to assess the wine’s interaction with wood and three rackings were done over the 24 month ageing period.
Thomson says that although Du Toitskloof is custodian of a substantial wine range, the cellar team is given the opportunity to engage in new projects aimed at spreading the winery’s offering in terms of quality as well as being encourage to remain innovative.
“The Du Toitskloof Quest project is a case in point,” says Thomson. “We get to show what we can do in the cellar by making top quality wines in small batches as well as keeping our focus on our popular commercial range. And as long as we keep winning gold medals in the progress, this is what we will keep doing.”