The 2023 LUMO Awards commending distinctive excellence in Wine and Spirits and crowned the Woman Winemaker of the Year, Woman Distiller of the Year, Cap Classique of the Year, and Red wine of the Year.
Stellenbosch, 8 August 2023 – The LUMO Awards, now in its eighth year, once again lit up the world of wine and spirits with its unwavering dedication to recognising excellence. Held at Lanzerac Estate during the first week of August 2023, the LUMO Awards provided an exceptional platform to honour wines and spirits.
With a renewed spirit of celebration, the event continued its remarkable growth following the aftermath of COVID-19. Two wine panels and a dedicated spirits panel embarked on the journey of sensory exploration. The cornerstone of this endeavor was the principle of impartiality – a double-blind tasting process where each panelist’s judgment was uninfluenced by preconceptions.
A defining feature of the LUMO Awards is its panellists, all distinguished wine and spirits industry specialists. The wine panellists were Fiona Mcdonald (chairperson), Cathy van Zyl MW, Jacqui Henderson CWM, René Groenewald
CWM, Nomonde Kubheka and Meryl Weaver CWM. The spirit panellists were Dr Mare-Loe Prinsloo, Dr. Caroline Snyman CWM and Dr Carla Weightman. The annual event aims to find worthy wines, spirits, and liqueurs judged by all- female panels and to award the best products entered.
Despite women representing a substantial portion of the wine and spirits buying public, the industry’s marketing efforts often neglect to address their preferences. Filling this gap, the LUMO Awards emerges as a singular force in Africa. As the sole competition where recommendations are curated exclusively by female judges, it serves as a testament to female expertise and evolves into an indispensable marketing asset. The LUMO Awards are pivotal in a landscape where the female perspective is paramount.
Fiona highlighted that amidst the influx of entries, a distinct trend emerged: the quality of submissions surpassed all previous standards. This remarkable elevation in excellence underscored the industry’s commitment to pushing boundaries and striving for ever-higher levels of achievement.
Cap Classique of the Year: Paul Renè’s Pinot Noir Chardonnay Brut Rosé 2019
Emerging triumphant for the second consecutive year, Paul Renè’s Pinot Noir Chardonnay Brut Rosé 2019 clinched the title of Cap Classique of the year. Building on its predecessor’s victory, the Paul Renè Pinot Noir Chardonnay Brut Rosé 2018, which claimed the highest score in the category last year, this wine once again demonstrated exceptional prowess. Its consistent excellence and
remarkable quality underscore its rightful place at the summit of Cap Classique craftsmanship.
Red Wine of the Year: Tristone Cabernet Sauvignon 2019 from Stellenzicht
The Tristone Cabernet Sauvignon 2019 from Stellenzicht emerged as the triumphant Red Wine of the Year in a fiercely competitive category. Amidst a robust field that included standout contenders like KWV’s The Mentors Cabernet Franc and Thor Vintners & Co’s Gentis The Bishop, the Tristone Cabernet Sauvignon 2019 showcased unparalleled distinction.
Woman Winemaker of the Year: Sanmari Snyman of Landzicht Winery
In a testament to her extraordinary winemaking prowess, Sanmari Snyman of Landzicht Winery claimed the coveted title of Woman Winemaker of the Year 2023. Sanmari secured not one but two Double Gold awards and a Gold award.
Woman Distiller of the Year: Chanté Hilse of Black Horse Distillery
Celebrating innovation and mastery in distillation, Chanté Hilse of Black Horse Distillery emerged as the triumphant Woman Distiller of the Year. With two of her distinguished products securing Gold medals, Chanté’s unparalleled craftsmanship and dedication shone through, earning her the well-deserved title.
From the vivacity of youthful wines to the intricate tapestry of mature vintage examples, the Cap Classique category unveiled a remarkable array. Cathy’s reflections echoed the sentiment that this was a splendid category to evaluate. In the spotlight were two remarkable wines: the Aurelia Brut Rosé from Groote Post Vineyards and the resplendent Paul Renè’s Pinot Noir Chardonnay Brut Rosé 2019.
Rosé / Blanc de Noir:
With a diverse spectrum of styles, the Rosé / Blanc de Noir category showcased expressive wines that ranged from vibrant fruitiness to captivating consistency in quality. A marked movement towards a radiant salmon hue caught our attention. These wines spanned from delightful everyday companions to truly exceptional offerings, each boasting weight, freshness, and remarkable length.
The Chenin blanc segment painted a picture of consistent quality, with the 2023 vintage taking center stage. Fiona’s observation echoed unanimous agreement – this category remains an impressive showcase of the varietal’s
prowess. Exceptional wines like Darling Cellars Reserve Arum Fields Chenin Blanc 2023 and The Long Mountain 2023 from Thor Vintners & Co stood out, leaving an indelible mark.
Chardonnay’s versatility was on full display, spanning the gamut from beautifully balanced contemporaries to the allure of older, more complex vintages. The 2023 wines showcased easy-drinking charm, while the seasoned contenders ignited excitement with their depth. The unanimous favourite, Alvi’s Drift Albertus Viljoen Chardonnay 2022, exemplified the captivating allure of this noble varietal.
The Sauvignon blanc flight emerged as a cohesive parade of excellence characterized by vibrant varietal expression, impeccable acidity, and masterful balance. Notable among these, the Darling Cellars Reserve Bushvine Sauvignon Blanc 2023 shone as a beacon of what the varietal can achieve.
A symphony of excellence resonated within the realm of red blends, and it was the 2021 vintage that truly stole the limelight. The category embraced a symphony of elements – from commendable concentration to a medley of intricate flavours spanning the spectrum from savory to invigoratingly fresh. Balanced oak contributions added a harmonious touch. The Dieu Donné Cabernet Sauvignon/Shiraz 2021 stood out among the gems.
A tapestry of complexity unfolded within the riper Shiraz wines, characterized by their inviting depth and exquisite concentration. Nomonde aptly dubbed this category “delicious,” capturing these wines’ sheer indulgence. René’s delight in older vintages that continue to enthrall with their sheer beauty resonated. At the same time, Fiona recognized the artistry in achieving a seamless fusion of fruit and oak, underscored by supple tannins.
In its understated elegance, Merlot showcased a vivid array of expressions – a dance of varietal identity intertwined with balanced red and dark fruit notes. The judicious handling of oak lent an additional layer of sophistication, complemented by soft, velvety tannins. An occasional hint of green character hardly detracted from the overall grace.
The Cabernet Sauvignon wines, grand in stature, spoke volumes of their potential. Bursting with fruit typicity and immense promise, this category embodied winemakers’ prowess in tannin management. The Tristone Cabernet Sauvignon 2019 from Stellenzicht exemplified the profound impact of masterful craftsmanship.
In the realm of Pinotage, elegance took center stage, defying expectations and showcasing an admirable moderation in alcohol levels. Cathy acknowledged the category’s solidity, highlighting its ability to present less alcohol intensity while maintaining its characteristic allure.
The realm of niche varietals captivated discerning palates, offering high-quality surprises that delighted the senses, sporting fine examples of Carménère, Petit Sirah, Cabernet franc, Petit Verdot and Cinsault.
Standout entries like The Mentors Cabernet Franc by KWV and Gentis, The Bishop from Thor Vintners & Co showcased the undeniable charm of these underappreciated gems.
The tasting room witnessed a spirited display as entries in the gin category took center stage, showcasing a remarkable dominance. The diversity in styles,
particularly evident in the ‘new styles gin’ and ‘London Dry gin’ segments, drew unanimous attention. The ‘London Dry Gin’ category emerged as a pinnacle of excellence, housing the finest examples.
Mare-Loe underscored the exceptional offerings from Deep South Distillery, exemplifying the industry’s depth of craft and innovation.
Furthermore, the tasting journey unveiled a burgeoning trend in rum submissions, accompanied by commendable executions that have heightened the spirited landscape.