‘I make bold to say that our best wine brandy can compete with the very best foreign types… and does not have to stand back for them at all,’ wrote the legendary South African poet, medical doctor, botanist and amateur chef C Louis Leipoldt (1880–1947) back in the day. And in this area, it seems, not much has changed – South African brandies are still rated among the finest in the world, if the results of the 2017 New York International Spirits Competition are anything to go by.
Two premium brandies from South Africa won coveted Gold awards in the competition: Van Ryn’s 12-Year-Old Distiller’s Reserve from the Stellenbosch-based Van Ryn’s Distillery, and Oude Meester Souverein 18-Year-Old brandy.
This year’s New York International Spirits Competition featured more than 600 entries from 23 countries around the world, and the judging panel consisted of a mix of restaurateurs, sommeliers, retail spirits buyers, distributors and importers. Other South African brandy winners at the event include Oude Meester Demant, Oude Meester 12-Year-Old Reserve, Richelieu 10-Year-Old and Van Ryn’s Fine Cask Reserve 15-Year-Old, all of which won Silver awards in the competition.
Did you know that Van Ryn’s is currently the world’s most awarded brandy distillery, having consistently produced first-class brandies since 1845? Among these accolades are multiple titles of Best Worldwide trophy at the International Wine and Spirit Competition, and Best International Trophy Award Winner at the International Spirits Challenge.
‘Oude Meester Souverein is the pinnacle of the Oude Meester range and symbolises the endless quest for faultless quality,’ says Distell Brandy Ambassador Nick Holdcroft. ‘These brandies are clearly king of the hill and we hope these international awards will encourage more South Africans to taste and appreciate some of the world’s finest brandies – made right here with locally grown grapes.’