The Merit Wine and Spirit Challenge 2020

Rosé Trophy awarded to Lanzerac Pinotage Rosé 2020

This was the 2nd year The Merit Wine and Spirit Challenge was held, and the increase in the number of entries is a definite acknowledgement that the unique features of this competition fills a need in the South African industry. Several high-end wines and spirits were entered, as well as several super-value offerings.

The convener of judges, Celia Gilloway, made a conscious effort to include younger wine adjudicators to make the tasting panels more representative of consumers in general. These younger consumers and millennials are responsible for a renaissance of Rosé and that is why the trophy was included.

It was well deserved that Lanzerac Pinotage Rosé 2020 walked away with the Rosé of the Year trophy. Well done and congratulations to Wynand Lategan and Lanzerac.

We asked the winemaker, Wynand Lategan to tell us a bit about himself, and to enlighten us on some of their secrets.

Q: Where did you grow up, and what made you go into winemaking?

A: I did a stint as a journalist before winemaking found me, but having grown up in Stellenbosch, I always wanted to be involved in farming. 

Q: Where did you study and where did you work before Lanzerac?

A: My first studies were at Stellenbosch University, and I only later studied winemaking at Elsenburg.

Entrance to Lanzerac Estate

Q: Who played a vital role for you to become a well-rounded winemaker and why?

A: Numerous people in the wine industry played a vital role. Loftie Ellis, Francois Naude and Jan-Boland Coetzee, to name a few. They taught me patience and to believe in the vineyard.

Q: What makes this wine special?

A: The wine is light in colour, refreshing, dry but not bone dry.

Q: What do you think is the most important thing to keep in mind when making Rosé?

A: You need to pick the grapes at the right time and keep the wine light and tight.

Q: What cellar practices do you use that brings out the best in your Rosé?

A: I give the grapes a short skin-contact time, and basically approach the process as I would a white wine.

Q: What is your fermentation regime?

A: Fermentation temperature is kept between 13 and 15°C. Normal nutrition for the yeast, you do not need much because the juice has a low sugar content so fermentation will not struggle. The yeast I use is from Anchor Yeast, VIN13.

Q: What is your ideal colour for Rosé, more towards onion skin, salmon or pink?

A: Everybody has their own opinion on this, but I would say light salmon.

Q: Are there any techniques you practice consciously to prolong the shelf life of your wine?

A: In the Jonkershoek Valley we generally get lower pH’s on our wines and subsequently have a slightly higher natural acidity. This greatly helps with the shelf life of our wines.

Wynand Lategan with his trophy winning Lanzerac Pinotage Rosé 2020

Q: Where do you see the future of Rosé?

A: The days of Rosé being only a feminine drink is long gone. With our climate and outdoor lifestyle, the future of Rosé is bright.

Q: Where do you think South Africa rates with Rosé, compared to the rest of the world?

A: We are catching up. I think we are getting our styles right and the public is voting with their palates.

Well done

With the number and quality of Rosé wines entered, winning the trophy for best Rosé is a remarkable achievement.

We are thankful to our partners who helped to make this event possible:

For all enquiries, visit https://themeritchallenge.com, or email hello@themeritchallenge.com

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