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News > Congratulations > Stuart (1988W) and James (1990W) Downes Receive 5-Stars in Three Years for Shannon Vineyards

Stuart (1988W) and James (1990W) Downes Receive 5-Stars in Three Years for Shannon Vineyards


and wins Merlot of the Year Award

Shannon Vineyards was once again affirmed as one of the leading suppliers of fine wines in the Elgin Valley at the unveiling of the 2019 edition of the Platter’s SA Wine Guide on Monday evening. These accolades follow a highly successful year for Shannon Vineyards and is a leading testament to their ongoing aspiration of making wines expressive of their unique terroir.

The 39th edition of The Platter’s by Diner’s Club South African Wine Guide 2019 was unveiled at the Table Bay Hotel on Monday 5 November with over 200 guests invited, including VIP winemakers who all achieved a 5-star rating for their wines. A 5-star rating is reserved for wines that score 95+ points and is considered classic South African wines.

Shannon Vineyards received two 5-stars, one for the Capall Bán 2015 and one for the Shannon Black 2013, continuing its successful streak of two 5-stars per year for the last three years, or a total of six 5-stars in three years. Further to this success, the Shannon Black 2013 was also awarded Merlot of the Year 2019. “This has been a truly successful year for us,” says Stuart Downes, co-owner and head of marketing at Shannon Vineyards. “While our focus remains on the viticulture principles and our commitment to winemaking as an expression of terroir, these achievements also reflect the dedication of our talented team who share our passion.”

The Shannon Black 2013, also known as Black Bullet, is selected each year from one of the five clones of the 3ha Mount Bullet vineyards that best reflects the unique characteristics of a particular year. It’s 100% Merlot and a small hand bottling captures this classic expression in the bottle only with vintages that the team feel are special enough.

The newly released Capall Bán 2015, a white Bordeaux style blend of 70% Semillon and 30% Sauvignon Blanc were awarded the second 5-star rating. “The focus of this wine is based on vineyard components arising from unique low yielding Table Mountain Sandstone soils,” says James Downes, co-owner and farm manager at Shannon Vineyards. While the Shannon Semillon is known for excellent quality, the added Sauvignon Blanc component provides a substantial aromatic lift to the wine. The wine also pays homage to the family-run and formed owned pub in Parsons Green London, called The White Horse Pub.

Shannon Vineyards, known for producing world-class Merlot, places considerable emphasis on capturing the clone expressions in the wine from what is known as the “oldest Merlot vineyard” in Elgin. The Mount Bullet, a blend of the 5 different clones, leaves a trail of accolades and achievements with a 5-star rating in the 2010 edition, two 5-stars in the 2017 and 2018 Platter’s edition, a Certificate of Excellence from MW Tim Atkin and first place at the Christian Eedes 2018 Merlot Report, amongst others.

“Merlot is a huge category in in South Africa,” says Atkin, “but there’s only one world-class example: Mount Bullet. The stylish patrician red made from five different clones and grown on clay soils is smooth, textured and beautifully balanced, all perfume, nuance, acidity and savoury tannins.”

Shannon Vineyards’ steadfast focus on producing quality wines with a strong viticulture focus demonstrates its success with a steady stream of prominent awards both locally and internationally.
The Platter’s by Diner’s Club South African Wine Guide
Platter's SA Wine Guide is South Africa's first and still leading wine annual with information on over 8000 locally produced wines. Shannon Vineyards has been awarded with six 5-stars over the last three years:
2010 edition: Mount Bullet 2008
2017 edition: Mount Bullet 2013 and Shannon Semillon 2015
2018 edition: Mount Bullet 2014 and Shannon Semillon 2016
2019 edition: Shannon Black 2013 and Capall Bán 2015

MW Tim Atkin’s South African Report
Tim Atkin, internationally renowned wine commentator and British Master of Wine, rated Shannon Vineyards with 90+ points throughout the range:
Shannon Mount Bullet Merlot 2015                               95 points
Shannon Black 2013                                                      94 points
Shannon Capall Bán 2015                                             93 points
Shannon Merlot 2017                                                    90 points
Shannon Noble Late Harvest Pinot Noir 2017              91 points
Shannon Pinot Noir 2017                                              90 points
Shannon Rock n Rolla 2016                                         93 points
Shannon Rockview Ridge Pinot Noir 2017                   93 points
Shannon Sanctuary Peak Sauvignon Blanc 2017        91 points
Shannon Triangle Block Semillon 2017                        92 points            

Christian Eedes 2018 Merlot Report
Mount Bullet 2015 dominated the annual Christian Eedes Merlot Report and was awarded overall first place with 92 points.
Six Nations Wine Challenge
The Mount Bullet 2015 was the only Merlot to be awarded a Gold Medal in the Merlot/Carménère category at the Six Nations Wine Challenge.
NWC National Wine Challenge/Top 100 Wine
Mount Bullet was awarded grand cru winner of the Merlot category in the Top 100 Wine.
VIVINO 2018 Wine Style Awards

The 2015 Mount Bullet were awarded category winner the 2018 VIVINO Wine Style Awards. This competition is known for recognizing the best and most beloved wines from around the globe.
Shannon Vineyards is situated in the Elgin Valley within the Kogelberg Biosphere with mountains on the western boundary and the Peninsula Dam forming the eastern boundary. The name Shannon pays homage to the Shannon and Downes families’ Irish ancestry. Their forefathers, the Shannon and Downes families were from County Cork, Ireland. Today, brothers James and Stuart Downes manage the wine farm and business and strive to continue to produce wines of elegance and finesse expressive of their unique terroir.
For more information visit:
Tel: 021 859 2491
Twitter: @shannonwines
Instagram: @shannon_vineyards

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