Plett vineyards shine in Gilbert & Gaillard International Challenge 

Bitou Vineyards in Plett have won a Gilbert & Gaillard International Challenge Award
Published: May 3rd, 2021

Plett vineyards shine with the Gilbert & Gaillard International Challenge

Bitou Vineyards, Kay & Monty Vineyards and Newstead Lund Family Vineyards are recipients of awards with the Gilbert & Gaillard International Challenge. The Gilbert & Gaillard International Challenge provides recognition to vineyards and wineries that set an international benchmark.

The Gilbert & Gaillard International Challenge is used as a marketing tool to increase sales in both local and international markets. For 30 years, the group has been publishing their printed and online wine guide and has been conducting more than 10,000 wine tastings per year with a French tasting panel. South African wineries can take part in the challenge.

Patty Butterworth, CEO of Plett Tourism, notes that the awards are a result of the efforts of many individuals. “We are proud that two of our vineyards have received this honor given the number of growers in South Africa that focus on international standards. This recognition belongs to the teams, which for many years, have successfully woven such high standard practices into everything they do.”

One individual that stands out, in particular, is Plett winemaker Anton Smal. He is the winemaker at Bitou, Kay & Monty and Newstead.

‘Smallie’ is a pedigreed winemaker. He began his career at the well-known Villeria wine farm in Stellenbosh, Cape Town between 1991 – 2010. After gaining vast experience in a variety of cultivars, in particular Cap Classiques (MCC or traditional Champagne method of producing), he moved to Plett’s founding wine farm Bramon.

With the sun, sand, and surf at his reach he has dug his heals in and now calls Plett home. He continues to work for several wine farms in the area, including Bitou, Kay & Monty and Newstead Vineyards.

BITOU VINEYARDS AWARDS

Bitou Vineyards Méthod Cap Classique Sauvignon Blanc – 2017
MCC (Méthode Cap Classique) – Plettenberg Bay
Rating 91/100
Dégustation: année 2021
Attractive first impression. Green apple, pretty lees notes from yeast. Unexpected well integrated acidity, good mousse and palate weight with long finish.

Bitou Vineyards Sassy Sauvignon Blanc Off-Dry – 2020
Sweet white wine – Plettenberg Bay
Rating 90/100
Dégustation: année 2021
Light yellow. Gooseberry and granadilla nose. Light-to-medium palate with a fruit-forward aroma. Apple, gooseberry and fresh peach follow from the nose. A fragrant and layered wine.

Bitou Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc – 2019 (silver)
Dry white wine – Plettenberg Bay
Rating 84/100
Dégustation: année 2021
Light yellow. Subdued nose with some fruit salad notes. Medium palate with fresh fruit-salad and quince. Pithy on the finish. Drink now.

KAY & MONTY VINEYARD AWARDS

Gold – Kay & Monty MCC Champu Chardonnay – 2016
MCC (Méthode Cap Classique) – Plettenberg Bay
Rating 89/100
Dégustation: année 2021
Straw yellow. Freshly baked bread, yellow apple and pear notes carries to taste. Medium to light palate but shows a good return on the aftertaste.

Gold – Kay & Monty SAV Sauvignon Blanc – 2020
Dry white wine – Plettenberg Bay
Rating 87/100
Dégustation : année 2021
Very light yellow. Subdued nose with hints of capsicum and green apple. Medium-to-light on the palate with a crisp finish. Fruit-salad and fig. A great summer-sipper.

Kay & Monty SAV Sauvignon Blanc – 2019
Dry white wine – Plettenberg Bay
Rating 90/100
Dégustation : année 2021
Light yellow. Tropical nose with hints of white pepper. Fruit-forward palate with canned peas and capsicum. Full and rich on the finish. Drink through 2025.

NEWSTEAD LUND FAMILY VINEYARDS AWARD

Newstead Sauvignon Blanc – 2019
Dry white wine – Plettenberg Bay
Rating 92/100
Dégustation : année 2021
Light yellow. Sweaty and herbaceous nose with hints of green apple. Fine and textured palate with green apple and lime. A refined and layered wine. Drink through 2025.

Newstead Methode Cap Classique Blanc de Blanc – 2015
MCC (Méthode Cap Classique) – Plettenberg Bay
Rating 94/100
Dégustation : année 2021
Golden straw. Nutty, rich and vibrant nose with hints of lemon drops. Crisp and refreshing on the palate with green apple and lime. Fine mousse and lengthy on the finish. Refined and finessed. Excellent.

Garden Route

Some 520 km from Cape Town, on the beautiful Garden Route, lies the popular tourist destination of Plettenberg Bay. Over the past two decades, vineyards have been established along a 57 km strip in very diverse terrain: close to the Indian Ocean, at the edge of indigenous forests, at the base of craggy mountains, alongside polo fields and in view of ponies, dairy cows and even elephants!

Grapes were first planted at Bramon Estate in 2001, when winemaker Anton Smal was lured away from Stellenbosch.

It was a visit to New Zealand that inspired sugar farmer & polo player Doug & wife, Sue Lund of Newstead to plant vines here in 2008, finding the geography and cool climate – the temperatures, sunlight hours and night- time breezes especially favourable for Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

“We’re witnessing the beginning of something very special.”

Newstead’s wines – and in particular its traditional- method sparkling wines (Cap Classique) – have put Plettenberg Bay on the fine wine map in recent years, with recent accolades including a 94-point Gilbert & Gaillard rating for the “finessed” Newstead Méthode Cap Classique Brut 2015 and 92 for the “refined and layered” Sauvignon Blanc.”