Tuesday, May 12, 2009

2009 Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show

Dear all,

I’m back online, after 3 weeks break…..

It was a pleasure and an honour again to be asked to be part of the Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show 2009, experience as an Associate Judge.

What I like about the Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show, is the wealth of information somebody can learn, in one day judging, the healthy and very very fair debate, where no stones are left unturned and each wine scrutinized at it’s fullest, and merits given accordingly, the number of fresh re-pour as well as the final calibration of each wine.

As a matter of respect to the OMTWS, I will not reveal which panel I sit on, last week, but for a beginner such as myself in the show circuit, it’s an experience, unique in all sense, I will always looked forward in the future.

I have observed over the past 4 years that wines winning a Trophy at the OMTWS, does carry a special appeal to wine consumers, observation based in fine dining context and does indeed get requested and ordered, especially more meaningful on an extensive wine list of over 500 labels, which is quite amazing, so I am definitely looking forward to the Trophies winner, when results will be reveal on the 1st of June, for listing, even if it’s only 1 case…..

Miguel Chan
Certified Sommelier

Press release below, courtesy of Old Mutual

Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show '09 - quest for nation's best
11 May 2009

Judging for the 2009 Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show – now widely regarded as the country’s most focused wine competition - took place at Grande Roche in Paarl from 4 to 7 May. Nine panellists – including three from abroad – working in groups of three judges - made their way through the 1 155 submissions from 257 producers.

Old Mutual, headline sponsor of the competition since its inception eight years ago, sees great value in a process which identifies the country’s top wines and makes this information available to the South African wine drinking public.

The wealth management company’s commitment to the Show ensures that judging takes place in ideal conditions and with a panel of tasters which includes several with a long-established international reputation.

Meticulous attention to detail throughout the process is part of how the Trophy Wine Show maintains its reputation as one of the toughest and most rigorous events of its kind in the world.

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 showcases the top wines from the Show to an audience of several thousand people.

The Show's rules and guidelines are detailed in the entry kit and cover certification requirements, the market-readiness of the wines and the composition of the blends.
Technical issues are managed by the show chairman, Michael Fridjhon, while show logistics (including the implementation of the 'blind' (ie unsighted) tasting arrangements, are undertaken by show manager, Celia Gilloway.

Submissions are kept in Miele wine storage units so that they can be brought to the judges at optimum temperature in Riedel tasting glasses. Judges 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 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 are available through the trade. The judging process and the competition results are monitored and audited by chartered accountants PricewaterhouseCoopers.

2009 show attracted 1155 entries

The 2009 show attracted 1 155 entries from 257 producers: Shiraz 164 (up on 2008); Chardonnay 95 (96 in 2008), Cabernet Sauvignon 131 (up on 2008), Bordeaux-style Red Blends 113 (114 in 2008), Sauvignon Blanc 113 (up on 2008), Merlot 63 (62 in 2008), Pinotage 65 (up on 2008) and Chenin Blanc 52 (up on 2008). This year also saw 35 Museum class entries (40 in 2008).

The 2008 show saw 1 024 wines judged from 230 producers, with 19 trophies awarded to 16 cellars.

Event partners American Express, British Airways Comair, Grande Roche Hotel, Miele and Riedel enjoy naming rights in respect of some of the trophies.

This year's international judges were: Brian Croser (past President of the Australian Winemakers' Federation), Michel Bettane (France's leading wine critic) and Julia Harding MW (writer and editor for and assistant editor The Oxford Companion to Wine).

The South African panel comprised: Angela Lloyd (wine writer and wine judge), Carrie Adams (wine buyer and co-owner of Norman Goodfellows), Gary Jordan (proprietor and winemaker, Jordan), Christian Eedes (editor WINE Magazine), James Pietersen (WINE Magazine panellist) and Ginette de Fleuriot CWM (national retail sales manager for Wine Worx).

Michael Fridjhon, who has been co-convenor of the show since 2002, continued as chairman of the judges.

Associate judges for this year’s show were selected from South Africa’s new generation winemakers and wine buyers. 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: Miguel Chan (sommelier The Cellars-Hohenort); Rianie Strydom (winemaker Haskell Vineyards); Mark Norrish (wine division general manager, Ultra Liquors); Gareth Robertson (sales manager L’Ormarins); Trizanne Barnard (winemaker and consultant); Howard Booysen (first Cape Winemakers Guild protégé); Higgo Jacobs (sommelier Steenberg Hotel) and Arnold Vorster (Graham Beck Wines).

The results of the competition will be announced in Cape Town on 1 June and the roadshows will run from 2 to 12 June 2009.

Public tastings will take place in Cape Town and Johannesburg to showcase the trophy, gold and silver medallists. The Cape Town tasting is on Friday 5 June from 17h00 to 20h00 at CTICC – Jasminium. The Johannesburg tasting is on Friday 12 June at the Hilton Sandton from 18h00 to 21h00. Tickets are available via Computicket or at the door and cost R80 each if purchased by 2 June or R100 thereafter.

For more information, please visit the Trophy Wine Show website.