The announcement late last week of the 2014 Muskadel South Africa awards, at which Badsberg Red Muscadel 2013 was named the top wine, should place muscadel firmly in the sights of winelovers as a deliciously smooth, sweet and warming winter drink.
Badsberg, a Breedekloof grower-owned winery, is recognised for the excellence of its fortified, Natural Sweet and Noble Late Harvest dessert wines. These are mostly and variously made from chenin blanc and two muscat varieties: muscat d’Alexandrie (“hanepoot” in the vernacular) and the more vaunted muscat blanc à petits grains (known in SA as muscadel).
Badsberg’s was the only wine among the 25 muscadels entered and tasted by a panel of fortified wine experts to win the highest accolade, the Platinum Award.
Gold medallists to look out for include two wines from grower-owned Nuy between Worcester and Robertson, acclaimed for both its Red and White Muskadel.
Another winner is the Bon Courage Red Muscadel. The Bruwer family estate in Robertson is also the home, on the opposite end of the wine spectrum, of top-class méthode cap classique sparkling.
A gold medal also went to a White Muscadel from Orange River Cellars.
These wines were all from vintage 2013. Panellist Lolly Louwrens, veteran former Robertson Winery winemaker now at Du Preez Estate in Breedekloof, says the vintage “delivered great quality muscats”.
According to Muskadel SA chair and Badsberg winemaker Henri Swiegers, the 2013 season was “exceptionally dry, resulting in high sugar levels, delightful full-bodied muscat aromas and rich raisin flavours”.
Of particular interest, showing the exceptional longevity of quality muscadels, was a venerable KWV 1968 White Muscadel Jerepigo. It too was awarded gold.