Top image: The Kleine Zalze team: Top Achiever at Veritas 2022. From left: RJ Botha (cellarmaster), Norman Paulse (cellar manager), Natalie Botha and Lizemari Geldenhuys (winemakers), and Gerald Snyman (farm manager).
Stellenbosch wine estate Kleine Zalze reaffirmed its status as one of South Africa’s most awarded wineries on being announced as Best Achiever at this year’s Veritas Awards – the country’s leading wine competition – for producers entering more than 10 wines into the show. At this year’s Veritas Awards ceremony held at the historic Nederburg Wine Estate in Paarl, Kleine Zalze garnered four Double Gold medals and three Gold gongs on its route to the Best Achiever title.
The annual Veritas Awards this year attracted 1 312 wine entries which were judged by an authoritative jury of over 70 South African wine experts.
Kleine Zalze’s Double Gold awards went the way of its Family Reserve Old Bushvine Chenin Blanc 2015; Family Reserve Sauvignon Blanc Sur Lie 2020; Family Reserve Shiraz 2012 and Vineyard Selection Grenache 2021.
Gold medals were awarded to Kleine Zalze’s Family Reserve Sauvignon Blanc Sur Lie 2021; Chardonnay/Pinot Noir Vintage Brut Cap Classique 2015 and the Family Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2018.
Showing a disarming combination of elation and relief after his four Double Golds and the Best Achiever award were announced, Kleine Zalze cellarmaster RJ Botha said that he had not been anticipating this level of success at Veritas 2022. “After our three Gold medals had been called and we were nowhere to be seen as the winners of the first tranches of Double Golds were read out, I just thought we would have to be happy with the Golds, which was in itself quite a sort-of OK achievement,” he said.
“Then the selected winners of four Double Golds were announced and the Kleine Zalze name was called, which took the Veritas experience to a new level for myself and my team. I am truly proud on behalf of the whole Klein Zalze family – from vineyards to cellar, marketing and sales….we all share a commitment to establishing the brand as a leading producer of a diverse spectrum of consumer-focussed wines expressing quality, identity and uniqueness.”
Botha said this commitment is underscored by the diversity within the range of Kleine Zalze wines that won Double Gold and Gold medals this year. “The Double Gold achievers are a broad mix of wines, from Chenin Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc, to Shiraz and Grenache,” he said. “And on the Gold side, having Méthode Cap Classique as well as Cabernet Sauvignon putting in top performances accentuates a viticulture and winemaking approach at Kleine Zalze that can only be described as multi-dimensional and successful. One driven by a commitment to give our local and international customers access to the diversity and quality South African wine is able to offer.”
Botha says that access to various grape varieties from selected vineyards sites throughout the Cape creates the backbone of Klein Zalze’s quality offering. “In the cellar we understand the approach each parcel of fruit requires to best express its origin,” he says. “And this approach is an ongoing process. We innovate and adapt in our winemaking, constantly seeking and discovering new ways of pushing the boundaries, thus making the fundamental aspect of quality a never-ending journey, not a destination.”