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Home Winners > Winners 2016 > NEW WORLD: Zinfandel & Pinotage

Winner Details

New World: Zinfandel & Pinotage

2016 Gold: 2 Silver: 0 Bronze: 3 Commended: 6
2015 Gold: 1 Silver: 2 Bronze: 5 Commended: 5

Protein is big at the moment. You can’t walk 50 yards in London without coming across a £20 Burger Joint or Beer Fondled Cow Steakery [Are you sure about this? Ed]. And if two wine styles were nailed-on perfect for dead Ermintrude, it’s Zin and Pinotage, so they ought to be cashing in. But they’re not.

It’s not so much a lack of Golds in the Sommelier Wine Awards that’s the problem – two was at the upper end of what we tend to get in this section – but rather that we’d expect to get a lot more entries to choose from in the first place.

OK, we admit somms generally are not likely to pick a glass of Pinotage over cru Burgundy, but it has its uses, and our judges tend to be pretty open minded in this competition. And Zinfandel’s track record here is not bad at all – even with more expensive wines such as the excellent Seghesio.

Note to merchants: more of these next year, please. There are encouraging signs but we need more to be certain.


‘I didn’t write the word “alcohol” in my tasting notes once for the Zins. It’s something I wouldn’t have expected. They were really quite refreshing.’ Sam Caporn MW, team leader

‘I appreciated the cleanness of the Pinotages. They have listened to the palate of buyers.’ Devon Pryor, Blandford Comptoir

‘There was a real mix of styles in the Zins, from light and vibrant to much richer and heavier. I liked that this flight delivered across a variety of expressions – and at the price points that the wines were.’ Mya Brown, The Ledbury

‘The Zins were a very consistent flight in terms of quality, though there were still variations of style within it. And good value at the lower end.’ Enikő Heidenwolf, 67 Pall Mall

Award winners

Found 11 wines

New World: Zinfandel & Pinotage

Seghesio, Old Vine, Zinfandel, 2012, Sonoma County, California , USA

Gold medal winner

Length, spice and breadth of vision took Seghesio, with its soft and jammy blue and red berries, to the Gold podium. 'A big wine, suitable for further ageing,' suggested Jonathan Kleeman of Social Eating House, adding: 'Shows complexity, with floral and aromatic notes, sweet spices and clean black fruit.' 'Rich, powerful and complex, classic old vine Zin character,' agreed The Ledbury's Mya Brown.

£26.30 Liberty Wines

Rancho Zabaco, Sonoma Heritage Vines, Zinfandel, 2013, Sonoma County, California , USA

Gold medal winner

With a plentiful supply of 'jammy red and blue fruits' and sweet spice on the nose, this was both appealing and affordable. Team leader Sam Caporn MW noted its 'fruits of the forest, soft and smooth, commercial' style, while Devon Pryor of Blandford Comptoir said: 'The palate shows baked, pruney fruit, freshening up at the finish,' and team leader Tom Forrest picked up on the 'sweet ripe red fruits on the palate, alongside soft smoke and spice'.

£9.52 Enotria&Coe

Joel Gott, Zinfandel, 2012, California , USA

Bronze medal winner

A complex wine with developed flavours. Enikő Heidenwolf of 67 Pall Mall said: 'Red and black fruits, cloves, cinnamon and delicate oak treatment on the nose. A fruit bomb on the palate but not jammy, with more cloves, nutmeg, tobacco, smooth body and a long finish, not heavy.'

£10.75 Berkmann Wine Cellars

Swartland Winery, Bush Vines, Pinotage, 2013, Western Cape , South Africa

Bronze medal winner

Enikő Heidenwolf of 67 Pall Mall highlighted the 'very clean nose, spicy strawberry, very juicy, smooth and fresh' character of this wine, while Devon Pryor of Blandford Comptoir was particularly struck by its 'good structure and balance, and intriguing spice on the nose'.

£10.25 Hallgarten & Novum Wines

Accolade Wines, Flagstone, Writer's Block, Pinotage, 2013, Breedekloof , South Africa

Bronze medal winner

Team leader Sam Caporn MW was keen on its 'spicy and balanced black fruit compote' flavours, while 67 Pall Mall's Enikő Heidenwolf found it 'fruity and savoury, smooth and spicy, with cloves, cinnamon, tobacco and black pepper'.

£12.32 Matthew Clark

Edmeades, Mendocino County, Zinfandel, 2013, California , USA

Commended medal winner

£11.10 Fells

Sebastiani, Zinfandel, 2014, California , USA

Commended medal winner

Ravenswood , Lodi, Zinfandel, 2013, California , USA

Commended medal winner

£10.20 Matthew Clark

Meinert , Printers Ink, Pinotage, 2014, Stellenbosch , South Africa

Commended medal winner

£9.14 Enotria&Coe

MAN Family Wines, Bosstok, Pinotage, 2014, Coastal Region , South Africa

Commended medal winner

£6.55 Enotria&Coe

McHenry Hohnen, Hazel's Vineyard, Zinfandel, 2013, Margaret River, Western Australia , Australia

Commended medal winner