Graham Beck 2009 Cuvée Clive named Best South African Sparkling Wine in the CSWWC 2016

Graham Beck 2009 Cuvée Clive was crowned Best South African Sparkling Wine last night at the Awards Dinner of the 2016 Champagne & Sparkling Wine World Championships in London by competition founder Tom Stevenson. Graham Beck’s export manager Kobie Lochner collected the trophy from judge Essi Avellan MW at the historic Vintners’ Hall in front of 100 of the world’s top sparkling wine producers and press.

Commenting on the South African entries, Tom Stevenson said: “We were delighted to receive twice the number of South African sparklers this year and to award our first Silver medal to a pure Chenin Blanc Cap Classique. We were also happy to see a reduction in the number of oxidative wines, but the judges were concerned by various levels of VA-lift in the wines of a few producers. Only high levels should be defined as faulty and we did not find any South African sparkling wines to have dangerously high levels or the sort of bacterial infection that is responsible for high levels. However, just below and above subliminal level, VA can be effective in increasing the fruitiness of a wine. When VA is not perceived, only fruitiness is experienced and the result can be quite smart indeed, but when VA is perceived, its effect is all too obvious and the result not very smart at all.

“If next year’s participating Cap Classique producers could show us all their styles, from naturally fresh and fruity to more yeast-complexed styles, and park their VA-lifted wines with the more oxidative styles they held back this year, South Africa should be easily capable of doubling its haul of medals.”

Graham Beck 2009 Cuvée Clive was one of 11 international sparkling wines unveiled as National Champions, chosen from over 60 Best in Class sparkling wines. Six wines were also named World Champions by Style, with three special trophies including the ultimate Supreme World Champion, which was awarded to Louis Roederer Cristal Brut 2002 (Magnum).

Commenting on the overall results for 2016, Stevenson says: “2016 was a ground breaking year for the Champagne & Sparkling Wine World Championships, with more entries than ever before. In particular we were really pleased to be able to award National Champions for the first time in Chile, China and Hungary. It’s our mission to discover and reward new and exciting wines from emerging regions across the world.”

The CSWWC is the most respected, comprehensive and rigorous international sparkling wine competition in the world, judged exclusively by renowned fizz experts Tom Stevenson, Essi Avellan MW and Dr Tony Jordan. The complete list of Trophies, Best in Class, Gold and Silver medal winners for 2016 is now available to view on and will be published with full tasting notes and price categories for each wine in Tom Stevenson’s Champagne & Sparkling Wine Guide 2017(due to be published in October 2016 and available via Amazon).