OM Trophy Wine Show produces 24 gold, 52 silver medals 9 May 2008
The Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show – now in its seventh year - is widely regarded as the country’s most credible wine competition. Judging for the 2008 competition took place at Grande Roche in Paarl from 5 to 8 May when the 9 panelists – including three from overseas - worked their way through the 1 024 submissions. It was announced at the judges' feedback session that the 2008 show produced 24 gold, 52 silver and 242 bronze medals. These medals and the 15 trophy winners (from 15 producers) will be announced on 2 June.
As headline sponsor of the South African Trophy Wine Show, Old Mutual has committed itself to ensuring that the country’s top wines are identified in ideal judging conditions and the results brought to the attention of the South Africa’s wine drinking public. Meticulous attention to detail throughout the judging period ensures that the Trophy Wine Show maintains its reputation as one of the toughest and most rigorous events of its kind in the world.
Public tastings in six major centres
By hosting a series of Masterclass® and Public Tastings in six major centres in South Africa and one in Namibia over a two week period following the announcement of the competition winners in June, Old Mutual fulfils its undertaking to showcase the country's top wines. These are held in Cape Town, Johannesburg, Pretoria, Soweto, Port Elizabeth and Durban – and this year, for the first time, in Windhoek.
Among the many regulations and guidelines applied by the show and implemented by logistics manager Celia Gilloway are that the entries – which must be in market-ready condition – are served entirely unsighted. They are kept in Miele wine storage units so that they can be brought to the judges at optimum service temperature in specially designed Riedel tasting glasses. Judges therefore never see the bottles or any aspect of the packaging, ensuring that their opinion is based on the wine's perceived merits and not its image or reputation. Three panels – each comprising three judges of whom at least one comes to South Africa solely to taste at the show – are directed to produce a consensus driven result.
All the wines remain on the tasting bench until the completion of the judging of a particular class. This enables the jury to back-taste and to compare the evolution of the wine in the glass. The panel's result is then submitted to the scrutiny of the show chairman and, in the case of the gold medal winners, to all their fellow tasters at the Trophy judging which wraps up proceedings. Prior to the announcement of the results the top wines are submitted to an independent laboratory to confirm that the show sample is identical to the wines which will be found in the trade. The judging process and the competition results are monitored and audited by chartered accountants PricewaterhouseCoopers.
2008 show attracts 1024 entries from 230 producers
The 2008 show attracted 1 024 entries from 230 producers: Shiraz 156 (up on 2007); Chardonnay 96 (down on 2007), Cabernet Sauvignon 105, Bordeaux-style Red Blends 114, Sauvignon Blanc 106 (up), Merlot 62, Pinotage 58 and Chenin Blanc 41. This year also saw 40 Museum class entries. The 2007 show saw 968 wines judged (from 231 producers), with 19 trophies awarded to 13 cellars.
The 2008 overseas judges were: Joël Payne, editor of Meininger’s Wine Business International and chief editor and publisher of Gault Millau German Wine Guide; Sam Harrop MW (UK), one of 5 chairmen of the International Wine Challenge and Anthony Rose, wine columnist for The Independent and contributor to Decanter, Wine & Spirit and The World of Fine Wine, amongst others.
The local judges included Angela Lloyd, who has been tasting for the John Platter SA Wine Guide for 22 years, Cathy van Zyl MW, South Africa’s only resident Master of Wine, Chris Williams, winemaker at Meerlust, Christian Eedes, newly appointed editor of WINE magazine, Gary Jordan, proprietor and cellarmaster at Jordan Winery, and James Pietersen former wine buyer for Vineyard Connection and a graduate of the WINE Magazine Michael Fridjhon Tasting Academy. Michael Fridjhon, who has been co-convenor of the show – together with WINE Magazine – since 2002, continued as chairman of the judges.
Associate judges for this year’s show were selected from South Africa’s new generation winemakers, buyers and sommeliers. A different associate judge sat with each panel on each of the medal-judging days of the show. They participated in the tasting and the post-judging discussion, though their scores were not taken into account in the final tally. Their involvement provides an essential training platform for the country’s wine judges of the future.
This year’s associates were Francois Rautenbach of Singita Game Reserves; Tarriro Masayiti, white winemaker at Nederburg; Ginette de Fleuriot CWM, wine buyer at winesense; Roland Peens, manager of Wine Cellar; Eric Botha, wine specialist at Woolworths; Miguel Chan, sommelier of Cellars Hohenhort and Khuselo Mputa, sommelier at Belthazar’s in the Cape Town Waterfront.
Event partners American Express, British Airways Comair, Grande Roche Hotel, Miele and Riedel enjoy naming rights in respect of some of the trophies.
The results of the competition will be announced in Cape Town on 2 June and the road shows will run in the various cities from 3–17 June 2008.
Public tastings will take place in Johannesburg and Cape Town and will showcase the trophy, gold and silver medallists. The Johannesburg tasting is on Friday 6 June at the Hilton Sandton from 18h00–21h00 and Cape Town wine lovers can taste the winners on Thursday 12 June at the Westin Grand Cape Town Arabella Quays (previously the ArabellaSheraton Grand Hotel) from 17h00–20h00. Tickets are available via Computicket or at the door and cost R75 each if purchased by 31 May 2008 and R90 thereafter.
The 2008 results will be available on the website from 15h00 on Monday, 02 June 2008.