Kanonkop’s Beyers Truter was named International Winemaker of the Year at the 1991 International Wine and Spirit Competition. He was the first South African winemaker ever to win this prestigious competition. It’s very apt that he did so with a wine variety which is quintessentially South African, at a time when political developments were ending the country’s economic isolation. The stage was set for a reappraisal of Pinotage’s qualities. This started to happen in forum after forum. Another delegation of British Wine Masters visited the country in the early 90s. This time they sang Pinotage’s praises. No more ‘hot and horrible’, or ‘rusty nails’. This time they used phrases like ‘excellent wine and grape variety with tremendous potential’, and the ‘future of South Africa’, and ‘Pinotage should be taken seriously’. In 1995, James Suckling, the editor of American Spectator, visited the Cape for a tasting of old Kanonkop Pinotages. He declared “What the hell is going on here? These are spectacular, spectacular!” At last, after seventy years, South Africa’s home-hero wine was receiving the kind of acclaim for which it had been waiting for.
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