Monday, June 20, 2011



Internationally, there is a rapidly growing fascination around South African wines. While that appreciation is readily rewarded with a glass of our wine, the desire for a richer understanding is harder to satisfy, short of a trip to our country. With the WOSA Wine Workshops, however, we can bring a little bit of South Africa to you.

The workshops will take place in various countries around the world, and will comprise of a series of specially chosen master classes with leading South African winemakers and experts.

They will cover such topics as unique varietals and flagship reds, famous blends and fantastic food pairings, centuries of tradition and our view to the future, as well as new naturals and sustainability.

(For a full list and description of topics, click here.) Attendees can expect to get first-hand knowledge of our wines through tastings and in-depth, informative and personal conversations.

Ultimately, they will come away with an enriched appreciation and more acute understanding of South African wines and winemaking.

We believe the workshops will be most successful if held in smaller groups, so seating is limited.

All seminars are expected to be full so we recommend early booking. Workshop dates and details are available here.











Cape Legends has entered into a long-term agreement to sell its wines into China.

It expects sales volumes to increase “substantially” as a result, according to the business manager for the portfolio of specialty wines, Isobel Armstrong.

The successful negotiation comes in the wake of the growing appetite among Chinese consumers for South African wines with the country increasing the volumes of bottled wine sold in the People’s Republic by 60% for the 12 months to March this year, compared with the previous 12 months, according to SA Wine Industry & Information Systems (SAWIS).

Producers worldwide are looking to China to grow sales volumes and market analysts International Wine & Spirit Research (IWSR) are projecting that China's wine market will continue to grow annually in value to reach $6 billion by 2014.

Wine Intelligence, a UK-based research organisation, expects that the number of Chinese wine drinkers will rise to about 34 million by 2015. Rabobank has reported that China's market for table wine has been growing by around 20% per year for the last five years, with consumption now at about 1,48 billion litres, according to Euromonitor data.

Cape Legends is represented by Guangzhou South Africa Valley.

The deal involves 14 products across five brands - Alto, Jacobsdal, Neethlingshof, Plaisir de Merle and Stellenzicht.

With one exception, all the wines in the line-up are red, given the positive associations that the colour holds in China and the current demand for mostly red wine.

The single white is an off-dry and very fragrant Gewürztraminer, universally recognised as being a compatible partner with Chinese foods.

It is made by Stellenbosch estate, Neethlingshof.

Guangzhou South Africa Valley, which has been representing a select range of high-profile Cape wineries for several years, has been steadily building visibility for the category by participating in trade shows and exhibitions in cities with high levels of disposable income, such as Guangzhou (Canton), the capital of Guangdong Province; Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan Province, and Changsha, the capital of Hunan.

Guangzhou accounts for 16% of China’s upper middle-class wine-drinkers, according to Meininger’s Wine Business International and is already familiar to some extent with South African wines.

The Cape Legends wines are being offered through both the retail and on-consumption channels.

Armstrong says while all five brands are sold outside South Africa, the new deal is the first major export drive for Alto, which has to date concentrated its efforts on the domestic market, where it enjoys considerable success.

“In terms of their positioning, styling and labelling, all the wines chosen were considered an excellent fit with the Chinese market and we look forward to establishing a presence for these brands.”

DATE MAY 19, 2011
QUERIES ISOBEL ARMSTRONG, CAPE LEGENDS +27 (0)21 809 7000 or +27 (0) 82 990 7424

Sunday, June 19, 2011

South African Shiraz performs well

South African Shiraz performs well

Cathryn Henderson, editor of Wine Magazine and Miguel Chan, Deluxe
Brand Sommelier for the Southern Sun group, part of the tasting panel. ...



New Government backing for South African wine tourism, Cape Town’s selection as the top city in the Travelers’ Choice Destination by the world’s largest travel site, TripAdvisor, and the inclusion of three Cape restaurants on the 2011 S.Pellegrino World’s 100 Best Restaurants list were all great news for local wineries, said industry spokesperson André Morgenthal.

Announcing the opening of the new Best Of Wine Tourism Awards made by the Great Wine Capitals global network, he said there was a new mood of optimism among local wineries.

“Producers are enormously encouraged that wine tourism has just been identified by national Government as a big plus in the country’s competitive advantage over many other long-haul destinations.

At the same time, key players in the Cape’s tourism industry, together with the office of the Western Cape Premier and the provincial department of Finance, Economic Development and Tourism, are collaborating on a joint strategy to maximise tourism opportunities.

“These initiatives are taking place as global tourism is on the increase and the middle class in developing economies is rapidly expanding.

In Africa alone, according to figures released this month (May) by the World Economic Forum, the continent’s middle class now numbers around 300 million people.

We have also learned that emerging countries are becoming more popular travel destinations than their developed counterparts.

“This is a good time for tourism and South African wineries are ideally placed to take advantage of these developments, coupled as they are with some very positive publicity for Cape Town and Cape Winelands restaurants over the last few weeks.”

He urged local wineries to enter the Best Of Wine Tourism Awards both to benchmark themselves against international best practice and to generate wider awareness of their offerings.

In addition to Cape Town/Cape Winelands, the other members of the global network are Bilbao-Rioja (Spain), Bordeaux (France), Florence (Italy), Mainz (Germany), Mendoza (Argentina), Porto (Portugal), San Francisco-Napa (United States) and Christchurch (New Zealand).

“Winning the awards and joining the company of some of the most iconic wine establishments throughout the world has proved a major boost for many of the past winners.

There is also the additional benefit to the overall South African winner each year, who is entitled to nominate a member of staff to visit a wine-producing country within the network.

” The most recent winner, Steenberg Vineyards, sent Zelda Petrus (44), a former cleaner at the winery who now has responsibility for its high-profile front-of- house cellar-door sales, to California in March this year to learn more about wine sales and marketing in the famous Napa Valley.

“Such an opportunity would scarcely have been possible if it were not for the Best of Wine Tourism Awards.

Ms Petrus met with some of the leading names in wine tourism and was able to share her experiences with her colleagues.”

Anetha Homan, Steenberg’s sales and marketing manager said the renewed attention and additional exposure resulting from the win had been “astonishing”.

She said that when the news became known, just before the start of the summer season, cellar sales had flourished, despite the ongoing recession.

Winning, she added, had also been an affirming experience for staff, who had “added new pride to their service”.

Morgenthal said a group of highly respected specialists in their fields would be judging across the awards’ seven categories that included accommodation, architecture and landscapes, art and culture, innovative wine tourism experiences, sustainable wine tourism practices, winery restaurants and wine tourism services.

“Once the category shortlists have been confirmed, the organisers will once again arrange for wine and travel bloggers to visit the wineries concerned.

They arrive unannounced so they don’t receive any special treatment but generally, it has proved to be very beneficial in raising publicity for participants amongst a very influential group of opinion-formers.”

The closing date for entries is Monday, June 20, 2011.

The category finalists will be announced in the spring and the overall winner will be identified at a gala event in Mainz in November, at which representatives from the international wine tourism industry will be present.

In addition to Steenberg Vineyards, other former South African winners of the Best Of Wine Tourism Awards have included Vergelegen (three times), Nederburg, Waterford and Rust & Vrede.

Entry forms can be downloaded by going to

Details about the awards themselves can be obtained from the Great Wine Capitals website at Entries must be submitted to the Best Of Wine Tourism secretariat, Belinda Lamprecht at or by contacting her on 021 418 2302 to arrange delivery.


Ideas Magazine - Your_Ideas

Ideas Magazine - Your_Ideas

"Not good," said Miguel Chan, "and Viognier also shouldn't be used in reds
where it doesn't belong." Quality on the up ...



Stellenzicht winemaker Guy Webber, has seen his unwavering pleasure in Pinotage rewarded yet again - this time with a gold medal at the 2011 Decanter World Wine Awards for the 2008 vintage of Stellenzicht’s Golden Triangle Pinotage.

An avowed Pinotage-lover, he believes the appeal of this wine lies in its attractive “cedar and toasty oak scent, balanced by hints of ripe berries and touch of sweet vanilla”.

Its tannins are “wonderfully ripe and integrated to leave a very friendly, unobtrusive and lasting finish”.

"Elegance is what I look for when making wine” he adds, in his typically understated way; “If you have good grapes, just treat them well and let them do what they naturally will do.

" Nevertheless, he does concede the importance of nuanced blending to achieve his desired result.

“After 19 months of barrel maturation, the different batches were blended and returned to wood for an extra three months, producing sweet characters echoed in the sweet ripe berry and prune flavours of the Pinotage. I think this has added a rich, plush, mouth-filling dimension.

” The wine was aged in a combination of French, Eastern European and American oak barrels.

The 2009 vintage of the wine, now on the local market, expresses the same integrity of pure Pinotage fruit as the 2008 but is slightly more restrained.

The wine was matured in oak barrels for 21 months and after blending was returned to wood for an extra month.

Webber says its full and rich flavours of stewed fruit on the palate pair extremely well with hearty home-cooked lamb and also with chicken curry. For those with a palate for traditional South African fare, he suggests matching the wine with meat and bean casserole served with “stampkoring”, or even with “smoorsnoek” and “korrelkonfyt”.

A perfect companion for a cosy indoors winter’s evening and comfort food, the 2009 Golden Triangle Pinotage retails for about R82 a bottle.

DATE 24 May 2011
ISSUED BY DKC (De Kock Communications)FOR Cape Legends
QUERIES Guy Webber, Stellenzicht winemaker, 021 880 1103 Lize-Marie Gradwell, Cape Legends marketing manager, 021 809 8243 Marlise Potgieter, DKC, 021 422 2690

Try the latest vintage from Du Toitskloof Wines

Try the latest vintage from Du Toitskloof Wines

Du Toitskloof Wines, the well-known cellar near Rawsonville in the Breede River valley, has just released the latest vintage of its much-loved Sauvignon Blanc.

The 2011 Sauvignon Blanc, one of the favourites of local wine lovers, is bracingly fresh with an abundance of flavour and character - perfect to be enjoyed slightly chilled on its own or with a selection of mezze, Cape salmon and fresh oysters.

Du Toitskloof is widely known for the quality of its wines, has been voted best value wine cellar by Wine Magazine four times in the competitions nine-year history.

Located at the entrance of the Du Toitskloof Pass, the area is one of the coolest in the Breede River valley, with the vineyards in summer shaded from the early afternoon on by the high peaks of the Du Toitskloof Mountains, thereby providing the ideal conditions for producing exceptional Sauvignon Blancs.

The 2011 Du Toitskloof Sauvignon Blanc is now available nationally and is expected to retail for about R37.

ISSUED BY DKC (De Kock Communications)ON BEHALF OF Du Toitskloof Wines
DATE ISSUED 24 May 2011MEDIA ENQUIRIES Leoni van Zyl, Public Relations Officer, Du ToitskloofWines, (023) 349 1601Linda Christensen, DKC, (021) 422 2690

YouTube - Selection tasting for Nederburg Auction 2011

YouTube - Selection tasting for Nederburg Auction 2011

A brief perspective from Southern Sun Hotels Group Sommelier Miguel Chan
and Nederburg Auction 2011 panel selection member on the wines he tasted at
this ...



Who says sweet wine is only for dessert? There’s a growing body of opinion amongst some of the world’s foremost chefs like the Adria brothers, Ferran and Albert, formerly of the world-famous Spanish restaurant El Bulli that the division between sweet and savoury isn’t as clear-cut as we’ve been making it all along. No doubt at their new tapas eatery and food laboratory in Barcelona, they will be exploring these ideas even further with their trademark ingenuity.

The talented South African chef, Jacques Erasmus, well-known for the exciting and inventive way he approaches taste combinations, recently paired four Nederburg sweet wines at his Cape Town restaurant, Hemelhuijs and there wasn’t a dessert on the menu! Winemaker, Tariro Masayiti presented the wines and guests were amazed at the success of the combinations.

Warm pear tart tatin with fresh pear salad and foie gras was served with Nederburg Private Bin Edelkeur 2008 while pork and calf’s liver terrine with watercress, croutons, Parmesan and Pommery mustard dressing harmonised fantastically with Nederburg Private Bin Eminence 2008.

Nederburg Winemaster’s Reserve Special Late Harvest 2010 was complemented by pan-fried veal with smoked oyster cream. Warm fig brioche with Huguenot cheese and ruby grapefruit was matched with Nederburg Winemaster’s Reserve Noble Late Harvest 2009. Go to or to see what guests at the event had to say about the exciting sweet wine and food pairings!

Nederburg Private Bin Edelkeur 2008 served with warm pear tart tatin with fresh pear salad and foie gras.

Nederburg Private Bin Eminence 2008 paired with pork and calf’s liver terrine with watercress, croutons, Parmesan and Pommery mustard dressing.

Nederburg Winemaster’s Reserve Special Late Harvest 2010 complemented by pan-fried veal with smoked oyster cream.

Nederburg Winemaster’s Reserve Noble Late Harvest 2009 matched with warm fig brioche with Huguenot cheese and ruby grapefruit.

About Nederburg:

Tradition and talent blend with passion, precision and patience at Nederburg, where classically structured wines are made with vibrant fruit flavours.

Nederburg’s hallmark combination of fruit and finesse continues to be rewarded around the world.

The winery was recently chosen as the Winery of the Year in the Platter’s South African Wine Guide, with an unprecedented five of its wines across the multi-tiered range earning five-star ratings in the 2011 edition.

Nederburg is exported to key global markets in the UK, Europe and North America, where it is steadily building a presence and reputation for classically styled wines with fruit-rich flavours.

Its growing success as a global lifestyle brand is the result of an extensive infrastructure that includes ongoing viticultural research, implementation of pioneering vineyard practices, sourcing of top-quality grapes; major investment in cellar facilities and an international marketing and distribution network.

Razvan Macici heads the team as Nederburg cellarmaster. He is supported by two winemakers who work closely under his direction. They are Wilhelm Pienaar, who produces the red wines and Tariro Masayiti, who makes the whites.

For more information about Nederburg, please visit DATE MAY 25, 2011ISSUED BY DKC (DE KOCK COMMUNICATIONS)FOR NEDERBURG WINESQUERIES GERHARD DU TOIT, NEDERBURG’S SA MARKETING MANAGER (021) 809 7000 or 079 456 2272
TARIRO MASAYITI (021) 862 3104 or 072 6115042

Auctioneer's Initiative - Nederburg Auction

Auctioneer's Initiative - Nederburg Auction

Dalene Steyn: RT @NedAuc: Quick vid comment on 2011 wine submissions from
sommelier Miguel Chan, member of #NedAuction's 2011 selection panel

Nederburg's line-up for Auction demonstrates stylistic dexterity

Nederburg's line-up for Auction demonstrates stylistic dexterity

26 May 2011 by Nederburg Wines

An interesting and varied collection of specialty wines from Nederburg, highlighting its fluency across a spectrum of wine styles, will feature on the Nederburg Auction in September.

Offered in a range of lot sizes to accommodate boutique as well as bigger buyers, they include a single-vineyard white, a line-up of red and white varietal and blended wines, and an outstanding representation of noble late harvest and natural sweet wines.

While most of the wines date from the previous decade, there are also several venerable offerings from the 1970s and early 1990s to more than amply demonstrate the winery’s ability to produce wines of great longevity. In fact, some of the more youthful reds on offer are already a decade old. All ideally aged, they are just coming into their own, says cellarmaster Razvan Macici. “We tend not to release the auction reds until they are close to a decade old.”

The oldest of the Nederburg offerings is a 1979 vintage Edelkeur, with just two 12-bottle cases available at a reserve price of R2 000 per case. Produced by Günter Brözel, who pioneered the style in South Africa with the 1969 vintage which debuted on the first Nederburg auction in 1975, it still shows, according to Macici, “an intensity of apricot, marmalade and honey on the nose, delivering a vibrant explosion of dried fruit and dark honey in the mouth, backed by good acidity.”

Like the original and every successor since, it is made exclusively from Chenin blanc. Other Edelkeurs on offer include a 1999 (just three cases) with attractive notes of white peach in addition to dried fruit, honey and caramel, as well as the more youthful but no less complex 2003 (15 cases) and 2006 (50 cases) vintages. Richly rewarded, their credentials include a Veritas double gold, gold and silver at the Michelangelo International Wine Awards and silver at the International Wine & Spirit Competition and International Wine Challenge.

Nederburg’s Private Bin S316 Weisser Riesling Noble Late Harvest is represented by the 2001 and 2002 vintages. The 10-year old, made by Macici during his first vintage on the farm, opens with an intriguing nose of nectarine, figs and some herbs, and is layered with ripe fruit and nuts, while its successor also shows fragrances of rose, honeysuckle and jasmine with tropical flavours.

The other two noble late harvest wines – 2001 and 2003 Private Bin Semillon Noble Late Harvest - are unusual in that they were made in two of only three vintages in a decade in which Semillon grapes delivered to Nederburg were affected by botrytis cinerea. The noble rot has imparted a citrusy, spicy profile to the wine. The 2001 is full of quince, apricot, vanilla and lavender aromas with a palate that is drier than suggested by the nose. The 2002 is rich and dense, buoyed by a lively acidity.

There are also four vintages of Nederburg’s Eminence, made from Muscat de Frontignan – the 1991, 2001, 2005 and 2006. All exhibiting a purity of Muscat fruit, they are fragrant, luscious and tangy with delectably golden hints of pineapple.

Among the decade-old reds that come, in some instances, with best-in-class and silver medals at the International Wine Challenge, are the Private Bins R101 Malbec, R163 Cabernet Sauvignon, R172 Pinotage, R181 Merlot and R109, a Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot blend. The last of these, rich and silky with a profusion of berry fruit, mocha and violets, provides an interesting contrast to the slow-ripened 1997 vintage of the same wine that is still fresh and vivacious with good acidity and notes of prune and tobacco.

The 2003 Private Bin D270 Chardonnay is an eloquent example of an age-worthy white, believes Macici. “Entirely fermented and matured in French oak, its ripe melon, stone fruit and citrus characters abound on the nose and the creamy textured palate.”

The D253 Sauvignon Blanc/Chardonnay of 2005 brings together Sauvignon blanc from Darling and barrel-fermented Chardonnay from Durbanville, where freshness and zest are complemented by rounded creaminess in a satisfying whole, he says of the blend that Nederburg was the first to create locally.

The youngest wines in the line-up are the 2009 vintage of the crisp, fresh and flinty D234 unwooded Sauvignon Blanc, made from grapes from the Groenekloof area of Darling; the D215 Sauvignon Blanc sourced from Durbanville vineyards to produce a panoply of tropical aromas and flavours; as well as the D253, a Platter five-star blend of Sauvignon Blanc from Groenekloof and Durbanville and Chardonnay from Durbanville and Paarl. Its delicious grassy and tropical flavours are offset by creamy citrus characters.

The Nederburg Auction will take place on Friday, September 16 and Saturday, September 17, with Bonham’s Anthony Barne MW as auctioneer.

Miguel Chan - Nederburg Auction

Miguel Chan - Nederburg Auction

Mauritian-born Miguel Chan is the group sommelier for Southern Suns Hotels
and has excelled in a range of international competitive sommelier events.

Celebrating 10 years of memorable wines

Celebrating 10 years of memorable wines

Wine Magazine

Miguel Chan enjoyed the healthy debate among the judges in reaching
consensus. François Rautenbach saw the detailed feedback to the industry
as important in ...

Sommelier Miguel Chan on Nederburg Auction - You Tube

Sommelier Miguel Chan on Nederburg Auction 2011 - You Tube

Southern Sun Wine Dinners

Southern Sun Wine Dinners

South African Wine | wine news | Wine and Dine with South Africa's ...
Southern Sun's renowned Sommelier, Miguel Chan, will introduce guests to
six top South Africa wines, paired with a four-course dinner prepared by
Executive ...



Coming in at third place internationally under the Top 10 and as the top performing South African Shiraz, the limited edition 2008 Rhinofields Shiraz has been awarded a gold medal at the 2011 Syrah du Monde held in France recently.

With 383 wines were sampled from 24 countries Durbanville Hills was one of only 34 to be honoured with gold.According to red winemaker Wilhelm Coetzee, the 2008 Rhinofields Shiraz has done the cellar and the cool Durbanville ward proud by rubbing shoulders with some of the best Syrah and Shiraz in the world.

“When we created this limited edition wine we were aiming for a specific style, selecting exceptional grapes with a classic peppery profile that could capture the complexity of this cultivar and remind us of the classic Shiraz styles from the middle and northern Rhône area.

“We selected the best French oak with an extra tight grain in which to mature the wine for 18 months and then used the wine from the best barrels to create the final blend.”The 2008 Rhinofields Shiraz offers sweet ripe fruit and plums, combined with white pepper and nutmeg, on the nose.

Full-bodied and soft textured it fills the mouth with ripe red fruit that leads to silky tannins and oak flavours that linger on the palate.

The spicy palette makes this wine the ideal companion to robust dishes such as game poultry, venison and red meats.

Durbanville Hills is a member of the Biodiversity & Wine Initiative (BWI) and named its reserve Rhinofields range for the threatened renosterveld to raise awareness.

In addition, 210 ha of renosterveld are being protected on member farms.

The 2008 Rhinofields Shiraz is available exclusively from cellar at R119 per bottle.

ISSUED BY DKC (De Kock Communications)ON BEHALF OF Durbanville Hills Winery

DATE ISSUED 2 June 2011MEDIA ENQUIRIES Tania Kotze, brand manager, Durbanville Hills (021) 809 8571
Linda Christensen, DKC (021) 873 2199

Rossouws Restaurants

Rossouws Restaurants

The independent guide to eating in South Africa
The evening began with the Sommelier Miguel Chan explaining the history of
Cab Sav and then outlining the meal we were to receive. ...



which sommelier Miguel Chan will be presenting fun, tutored tastings ...
Join sommelier Miguel Chan in the San private dining room as he guides you

Diarise the dates for the 37th Nederburg Auction wine tasting events.

Diarise the dates for the 37th Nederburg Auction wine tasting events.

The dates and venues are also on the Nederburg Auction website under the calendar.

Subscribe now to ensure you do not miss out on any other important details!

When: Tuesday 12th July, 19:00 for 19:30
Where: Upper Eastside Hotel, Woodstock, Cape Town

When: Monday 18th July, 19:00 for 19:30
Where: Bauren Stube, Windhoek

When: Wednesday 20th July, 19:00 for 19:30
Where: Pecorino Italian Restaurent, Port Elizabeth

When: Thursday 21st July, 19:00 for 19:30
Where: Southern Sun Elangeni Hotel, Durban

When: Wednesday 27th July, 19:00 for 19:30
Where: Balalaika Protea Hotel, Sandton, Johannesburg

When: Tuesday 2nd August, 19:00 for 19:30
Where: Anta Boga Boutique Hotel, Bloemfontein

When: Thursday 4th August, 19:00 for 19:30
Where: Phakalane Golf Estate, Gabarone, Botswana

When: Monday 18th July, 9:00 for 9:30 (Media)
Where: Nederburg, Paarl

Kind regards, Dalene Steyn & The Nederburg Auction Team



A Nederburg wine has earned one of the top scores on the 2011 Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show, with the 2008 Nederburg Eminence coming in at 96 points to take the trophy for the best unfortified dessert wine.

The only wine to earn a higher grade was the 1933 KWV Jerepigo.

Amongst the international panel of judges were Neal Martin, who tastes for eRobert Parker, Debra Meiburg MW, founding director of the Cathay Pacific Hong Kong International Wine & Spirit Competition and Thierry Desseauve, former editor of La Revue du Vin de France, France's most influential wine guide.

Nederburg also earned 10 silver medals on the show.

These went to the 2010 Winemaster’s Reserve Noble Late Harvest, the same wine to win a trophy at this year’s Decanter World Wine Awards in May and a gold medal at the 2011 International Wine Challenge; the 2009 Ingenuity, which is rated five stars in the 2011 Platter’s South African Wine Guide; the 2010 Winemaster’s Reserve Rhine Riesling and the 2009 Winemaster’s Reserve Merlot, as well as a selection of wines sold exclusively on the Nederburg Auction.

DATE JUNE 6, 2011

RAZVAN MACICI (021) 877 5151 or 082 785 4577



Lomond’s growing reputation for world-class wines of complexity and elegance has been re-affirmed at the 2011 Decanter’s World Wine Awards in London, and the local Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show.

The eco-friendly Gansbaai property’s 2009 Snowbush claimed Decanter’s regional trophy for the best South African white blend retailing above £10. The Snowbush is named after the Brunia laevis, fynbos, found abundantly around the farm.

The blend is made of Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Nouvelle and Viognier, all the white grape varieties produced on the farm.

Two years ago, Lomond’s 2007 single-vineyard Pincushion won the Decanter trophy for the world’s best Sauvignon Blanc selling under £10.

This year, the 2010 vintage has come home with a Decanter gold medal, its vibrant tropical flavours once more appealing to the judges.

Lomond also won gold and a best-in-class score for 2008 Estate Syrah at Old Mutual.

The wine is produced from a selection of vineyards on the 1000 hectare farm and is fragrant with notes of plum, lavender and liquorice.

The 2007 Sugarbush single vineyard Sauvignon Blanc won the Museum Class Trophy at this years Old Mutual Trophy Show, showing the ageability of white wines from this region.

Situated 34˚ 34’ south, Lomond is one of very few wine operations with a Cape Agulhas District appellation.

Located just 8 kilometres from the sea as the crow flies, its vines are cooled by south-west and south-east winds that blow during the summer months.

Lomond’s Wayne Gabb says the proximity to the sea helps to create an environment that is cooler on average than other wine regions with slow ripening.

The farm also has the advantage of naturally occurring indigenous vegetation and low hills to act as a filter for the salt-laden sea air.

With its varying terrain and low-vigour soil types and the opportunity to plant vines with different aspects and elevations, it offers a broad spectrum of building blocks to make single-vineyard wines and single-cultivar as well as multi-cultivar blends, he adds.

Lomond names many of its wines after the indigenous flora growing on the farm. It is one of the earliest members of the Biodiversity and Wine Initiative (BWI), acknowledged for protecting the environment and conserving the indigenous habitat and also belongs to the Walker Bay Fynbos Conservancy.

The 2009 Snowbush retails locally for around R135, the 2010 Pincushion for around R105, and the 2008 Syrah for R100.

DATE JUNE 6, 2011
QUERIES WAYNE GABB, LOMOND 0283 880095 or 082 5524124
TANYA JORDAAN, LOMOND BRAND MANAGER (021) 809 7000 or 083 3217643

QUALITY TIME - Southern Sun

BRINGS THE ... which sommelier Miguel Chan will be presenting fun, tutored
tastings ...

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Van Ryn's Brandy

luxury: private charter personal development company diane kruger ...
Sommelier Miguel Chan Wine Journal: NEW GOLDEN LAYER TO VAN RYN'S LUXURY
BRANDY Lingerie de luxe – Luxury lingerie. ...

Southern Sun Hyde Park Wine Dinners July 2011

Cabernet Sauvignon dinner Southern Sun Hyde Park 4 July 2011

South African Cabernet Sauvignon showcase dinner at Bice Ristorante Southern Sun Hyde Park 4th July 2011 with Sommelier Miguel Chan

Thursday, June 16, 2011



Van Ryn’s 15 Year Old Fine Cask Reserve, winner of the Best Brandy trophy at the 2010 International Spirits Challenge in London, hasn’t lost any of its charm.

Captivating judges with its great length, subtlety and depth of flavour, it has just brought home a gold medal from Luxembourg at this year’s Concours Mondial Bruxelles.

A 750ml bottle of Van Ryn’s 15 Year Old Fine Cask Reserve retails for around R830 and is available from Van Ryn’s Distillery close to Stellenbosch, or from Makro stores and other leading liquor outlets countrywide.




When brandy master Johan Venter crafted Klipdrift Gold he wanted to create the perfect blend that could compete against the best in the world.

And to prove him right, Klipdrift Gold recently returned home with a gold medal from the Concours Mondial de Bruxelles held in Luxembourg.

A proudly South African potstill brandy, Klipdrift Gold is a blend of rare brandies aged for up to 21 years balanced by younger components.

A rich gold in colour, Klipdrift Gold opens onto an aroma of ripe peaches, pears and citrus complemented by traces of sweet spice, chocolate and hazelnut.

Enjoy this warm and inviting brandy on its own, with a splash of water or an ice cube or two, or even at the table with aromatic dishes and chocolate.

Klipdrift Gold is available from leading liquor outlets for about R200 per bottle.

DATE 14 June 2011ISSUED BY DKC (De Kock Communications) FOR Klipdrift Gold QUERIES Duif Richter, Klipdrift Gold marketing manager

Thursday, June 9, 2011




Fairbairn Capital Trophy for the Most Successful Producer

Spier Private Cellar

Old Mutual Trophy for Best Red Wine:  Thelema Shiraz 2007

Old Mutual Trophy for Best White Wine: Paul Cluver Chardonnay 2009

Old Mutual International Judges’ Trophy: Paul Cluver Chardonnay 2009

Old Mutual Trophy for Discovery of the Show : Nuy White Muskadel 2005

Old Mutual Trophy for Best Dessert Wine: Nederburg Private Bin Eminence Noble Late Harvest Muscadel 2008

British Airways Comair Trophy for the Best Shiraz: Thelema Shiraz 2007

Grande Roche Trophy for Best White Blend: Fleur du Cap Unfiltered Special White Blend 2010

Riedel Trophy for Best Bordeaux-style Blend: KWV The Mentors Orchestra 2009

American Express Trophy for Best Cabernet Sauvignon– Museum Class: Cathedral Cellar Cabernet Sauvignon 1995

Just Riesling Trophy for Best Riesling: Jordan Riesling 2009

Miele Trophy for Best Chardonnay: Paul Cluver Chardonnay 2009

Trophy for Best Sauvignon Blanc Semillon Blend: Spier Creative Block 2 2010

Trophy for Best Sauvignon Blanc: Delaire Coastal Cuvée Sauvignon Blanc 2010

Trophy for Best Pinot Noir: Meerlust Pinot Noir 2009
Trophy for Best Merlot: Hillcrest Quarry 2008
Trophy for Best Pinotage: Rijk’s Pinotage 2007

Trophy for Best Shiraz-based Red Blend: Ormonde Theodore Eksteen 2008

Trophy for the Best Fortified Dessert Wine:  Nuy White Muskadel 2005

Trophy for Best Semillon – Museum Class: Cape Point Vineyards Semillon 2006

Trophy for Best Riesling – Museum Class: Hartenberg Weisser Riesling 1999

Trophy for Best Sauvignon Blanc – Museum Class: Lomond Sugarbush Sauvignon Blanc 2007

Trophy for the Best Fortified Dessert Wine – Museum Class: KWV White Jerepigo 1933
Thelema Sutherland Viognier Roussanne 2009
Buitenverwachting Husseys Vlei Sauvignon Blanc 2010
Tokara Zondernaam Sauvignon Blanc 2010
Spier Private Collection Shiraz 2008
Lomond Syrah 2008
Chamonix Reserve Chardonnay 2009
Hillcrest Quarry 2009
A full set of results including the Silver and Bronze medals, a transcript of the judges’ feedback session and a variety of statistics are available on

* Chartered accountants PKF monitored the judging procedures at the 2011 Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show and audited the competition results.

Throughout the judging the identity of the wines was withheld from all the tasters, including the Show Chairman. No one judge was in a position to impose a result upon a majority of the panellists and declarations of interest have been received from all the locally-based judges.

2011 Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show Public Tastings 

141 Trophy, Gold and Silver and some Museum Class medal winning wines will be presented at public tastings in Cape Town and Johannesburg:

Cape Town: Thursday 9 June 2011 * 17h00 to 20h30 – CTICC Ballroom

Johannesburg: Friday 10 June 2011 * 18h00 to 21h00 – Sandton Sun, Maroela Room

Ticket Sales: ‘Early bird’ tickets bought by 5 June will cost R100 each and tickets sold thereafter and at the door, R120 per person. Bookings can be made via Computicket online "" or by telephoning 083 915 8000, or 011 340 8000.

Wine Sales: Wines can be ordered at the shows, with delivery to your door.


Issued on behalf of the Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show:
Contact: Michael Fridjhon * Tel: 011 482 9178 / 083 600 9101 * Email:"
Issued by: OutSorceress Marketing * Contact: Janice Fridjhon & Alex Mason-Gordon
Tel: 011 482 5936/5/4 / 083 302 2197 (Janice) / 083 308 1447 (Alex)

Date: 1 June 2011





In the most closely contested race since the inaugural event in 2002, Spier edged ahead of Thelema Mountain Vineyards to take the Fairbairn Capital Trophy for the Top Producer at the 2011 Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show. Adding the show's most prestigious trophy to an exceptional season of international awards, Spier's Frans Smit can now include the laurels of the Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show to his medals from the Decanter World Wine Awards and the Concours Mondiales. While Thelema had exactly the same Trophy, Gold and Silver medal count as Spier in its five highest scoring wines, it had a lower medal-to-entry ratio over its total number of submissions. In the end this proved to be the tie-breaker for the narrowest margin in the show's history.

Spier's top results came from winning the Trophy for Best Sauvignon Blanc Semillon Blend and a Gold medal for Shiraz, while Thelema secured the British Airways Comair Trophy for the Show's best Shiraz (which also won the Old Mutual Trophy for the Best Red Wine), and a Gold medal in the blended white wine class for its Roussanne Viognier.

The 2011 Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show saw an increase in entries over the 2010 event, and a markedly higher number of Silver and Bronze medals awarded, a clear indication of the ever-increasing number of high quality wines available on the local market.

The Gold medal count was down however, mainly, it would seem, because the judges have responded to the general improvement in wine quality by raising the bar even higher for these much sought-after accolades.

Only twenty five Gold medals were awarded (compared with 32 in 2010) and of these, five were from Museum Class entries (compared with seven in 2010).

Most of the major classes were represented among the Golds, though the absence of a Chenin Blanc and a Port among these top awards was a disappointment.

The Riesling category continued to show the enhanced quality and interest first revealed last year, with the Just Riesling Trophy being awarded to Jordan Estate for its Riesling 2009.

For the first time there was also a Museum Class Riesling Trophy awarded – the laureate being Hartenberg for its Weisser Riesling 1999.

A new award has been created this year – the Old Mutual International Judges' Trophy – for the wine which, in the opinion of the three international judges at this year's show, was the very best wine at the trophy judging.

In theory, this wine will represent the Show’s top wine from an international perspective. The inaugural winner was the Paul Cluver Chardonnay 2009.

Co-convenor of the competition (together with Wine magazine) and Chairman of the Judges, Michael Fridjhon, was enthusiastic about the overall results: “We are seeing a strong improvement through all the ranks, with some very encouraging signs at the top of what used to be problematic classes.

A pair of Merlot gold medals, ongoing strength from Pinotage and Riesling producers as well as the results we have come to expect from Shiraz, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and blended whites all suggest that the industry is addressing its past weaknesses and maintaining the gains of the past couple of years.

There is some concern that we are not finding the same depth and resonance in Cabernet and Cabernet-blends, though the increase in the silver medal count is very encouraging.”

“Old Mutual is proud of its 10-year sponsorship of the most prestigious event on South Africa’s wine calendar,’ says Joy Khaole, Old Mutual’s sponsorship manager.

“Not only does it provide us with opportunities to build relationships with the wine-loving community, but it enables us to support the pursuit of excellence in an industry important to the reputation of Brand South Africa.”

Within the next two weeks, a series of tastings will be taken to six major centres countrywide including a Masterclass® in Windhoek. Wine lovers in Cape Town and Johannesburg will be able to taste 141 Trophy, Gold, Silver and some Museum Class medal winning wines at public tastings.

Each show visitor will receive a copy of the Icons Guide - which contains details of all the winning wines, together with vintage information, advice about wine service and chapters contributed by some of the international judges.

Icons will appear FREE with the July issue of Wine.

This is an extraordinary publishing achievement and a tribute to the dedication of the team at Wine magazine.

Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show 2011: Silver medals

Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show 2011: Silver medals

Silver medal awarded for a score of 80 to 89 points out of 100; excellent, wine of distinction.

Published: 01 Jun 11 RED WINE


No silver medals were awarded in this class.


85 S Eikendal Cabernet Sauvignon 2008
84 S Kanonkop Cabernet Sauvignon 2008
83 S Fleur du Cap Unfiltered Cabernet Sauvignon 2008
82 S Glen Carlou Gravel Quarry 2008
80 S De Vallei Cabernet Sauvignon 2009
80 S Nederburg Private Bin R163 Cabernet Sauvignon 2005
80 S Stark-Condé Stellenbosch Cabernet Sauvignon 2008
80 S Kumkani Cradle Hill Cabernet Sauvignon 2007
80 S Graham Beck Coffeestone Cabernet Sauvignon 2007
80 S Neil Ellis Vineyard Selection Cabernet Sauvignon 2007


No silver medals were awarded in this class.


84 S Yonder Hill Merlot 2008
83 S Marklew Merlot 2007
83 S Painted Wolf Merlot 2009
82 S Nederburg Private Bin R181 Merlot 2006
80 S Nederburg The Winemaster’s Reserve Merlot 2009
80 S Nederburg Private Bin R181 Merlot 2007
80 S Meerendal Reserve Merlot 2007


84 S Chamonix Reserve Pinot Noir 2009
83 S Elgin Vintners 3rd Edition Pinot Noir 2009
82 S Paul Cluver Seven Flags Pinot Noir 2008


85 S Kanonkop Pinotage 2008
82 S Neethlingshof The Short Story Collection The Owl Post Pinotage 2009
81 S Kanonkop Pinotage 2003
81 S Painted Wolf 'Gillermo' Pinotage 2009
80 S Kanonkop Pinotage 2009


No silver medals were awarded in this class.


86 S Laborie Jean Taillefert 2009
82 S Lomond Conebush Syrah 2008
82 S Nederburg Private Bin R121 Shiraz 2006
82 S Dunstone Shiraz 2009
82 S Linton Park Shiraz 2008
82 S Rickety Bridge Shiraz 2009
81 S Graham Beck The Joshua 2008
81 S Land’s End Syrah 2008
80 S Creation Syrah 2009
80 S Boschendal Reserve Collection Shiraz 2009
80 S Tokara Zondernaam Shiraz 2009
80 S Saronsberg Provenance Shiraz 2009
80 S Sutherland Syrah 2008
80 S Vergelegen Shiraz 2007


No silver medals were awarded in this class.


89 S Gabriëlskloof Five Arches 2008
86 S Spier Creative Block 5 2008
84 S Saronsberg Seismic 2007
82 S Miles Mossop Max 2007
82 S Rustenberg John X Merriman 2008
81 S Gabriëlskloof The Blend 2009
81 S Muratie Ansela van de Caab 2008
80 S Raka Quinary 2009
80 S Yonder Hill Inanda 2008


No silver medals were awarded in this class.


86 S La Motte Pierneef Collection Shiraz Viognier 2008
83 S Saronsberg Full Circle 2008
80 S De Vallei Jacobus Red blend 2009
80 S Haskell II 2009
80 S Le Joubert Brillianté 2008


83 S Delaire Botmaskop 2008
82 S De Meye Trutina 2009


No silver medals were awarded in this class.



88 S Desiderius 2003
82 S Simonsig Woolworths Limited Release Pinot Noir Rosé 2009


No silver medals were awarded in this class.



80 S Neethlingshof Unwooded Chardonnay 2010


85 S Tokara Zondernaam Chardonnay 2010
84 S Oak Valley Chardonnay 2010
83 S Bouchard Finlayson Kaaimansgat Limited Edition Chardonnay 2009
83 S Chamonix Chardonnay 2009
82 S Tokara Reserve Collection Stellenbosch Chardonnay 2009
82 S Jordan Nine Yards Chardonnay 2009
81 S Oldenburg Chardonnay 2010
80 S KWV Cathedral Cellar Chardonnay 2010
80 S Neil Ellis Woolworths Elgin Chardonnay 2010


85 S False Bay Chenin Blanc 2010
83 S Kanu Chenin Blanc 2010
81 S Knorhoek Chenin Blanc 2010
81 S MAN Vintners Chenin Blanc 2010


87 S Delaire Chenin Blanc 2010
82 S Cederberg Five Generations Chenin Blanc 2009
81 S Tormentoso Old Vine Chenin Blanc 2010
80 S Raka Chenin Blanc 2010
80 S Springfontein Unfiltered Terroir Selection Chenin Blanc 2010


No silver medals were awarded in this class.


No silver medals were awarded in this class.


No silver medals were awarded in this class.


80 S Nederburg The Winemaster's Reserve Riesling 2010


89 S Tokara Reserve Collection Elgin Sauvignon Blanc 2010
85 S Brunia Sauvignon Blanc 2010
85 S Boschendal Cecil John Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2008
84 S Lomond Pincushion Sauvignon Blanc 2006
83 S Paul Cluver Sauvignon Blanc 2010
82 S Kleine Zalze Family Reserve Sur Lie Sauvignon Blanc 2010
82 S Mulderbosch Sauvignon Blanc 2010
81 S The Goose Wines Sauvignon Blanc 2009
80 S David Nieuwoudt Ghost Corner Sauvignon Blanc 2010
80 S Durbanville Hills Rhinofields Sauvignon Blanc 2010


85 S Quoin Rock The Nicobar 2009
82 S Stark-Condé Pepin-Condé Sauvignon Blanc 2010
80 S Chamonix Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2009


80 S Rickety Bridge Paulina’s Reserve Semillon 2009
80 S Steenberg Semillon 2010


81 S Saronsberg Viognier 2009


No silver medals were awarded in this class.


83 S Vergelegen 2010
82 S Groot Constantia Gouverneurs Reserve 2010
82 S Steenberg Magna Carta 2007
82 S Vergelegen 2009
80 S Cape Point Vineyards Isliedh 2007
80 S Tokara Director’s Reserve 2009


85 S Waterkloof Circle of Life 2010
73 B Ashbourne Sandstone 2007


84 S Nederburg Private Bin D253 Sauvignon Blanc Chardonnay 2009
83 S Welmoed Heyden’s Courage 2009
83 S Solms-Delta Amalie 2010
80 S Nederburg Ingenuity 2009



85 S Nederburg The Winemaster's Reserve Noble Late Harvest 2010
80 S Nederburg Private Bin Eminence Noble Late Harvest Muscadel 2007
80 S Paul Cluver Close Encounter Riesling 2010
80 S Fleur du Cap Noble Late Harvest 2010


89 S Du Preez Hanepoot 2009
85 S Nuy Rooi Muskadel 2010
82 S Alvi’s Drift Muscat de Frontignan 2007
82 S Nuy White Muskadel 1992
82 S Nuy Rooi Muskadel 1989


84 S De Krans Cape Vintage Reserve Port 2008
82 S Axe Hill Cape Vintage 2008
80 S De Krans Cape Vintage Reserve Port 2007

Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show 2011: Bronze Medal

Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show 2011: Bronze Medal

Published: 01 Jun 11


78 B Buitenverwachting Cabernet Franc 2009
76 B Druk My Niet Find Art Collection Cabernet Franc 2009
75 B Longridge Cabernet Franc 2007
72 B Ondine Cabernet Franc 2008
72 B Claime d'Or Cabernet Franc 2008


78 B Klein Roosboom Cabernet Sauvignon 2009
78 B Delaire Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2008
77 B Buitenverwachting Cabernet Sauvignon 2006
76 B Arabella Cabernet Sauvignon 2010
76 B Stark-Condé Three Pines Jonkershoek Cabernet Sauvignon 2008
75 B Allesverloren Cabernet Sauvignon 2009
75 B Nederburg Private Bin R163 Cabernet Sauvignon 2006
75 B Spier Private Collection Cabernet Sauvignon 2008
75 B Glen Carlou Cabernet Sauvignon 2009
74 B Le Bonheur Cabernet Sauvignon 2008
74 B Delheim Cabernet Sauvignon 2007
74 B Dornier Cabernet Sauvignon 2007
74 B Mooiplaas Cabernet Sauvignon 2000
74 B Warwick The First Lady Cabernet Sauvignon 2009
74 B Tokara Cabernet Sauvignon 2002
74 B Groenland Cabernet Sauvignon 2006
73 B Zorgvliet Cabernet Sauvignon 2006
72 B Overgaauw Cabernet Sauvignon 2009
72 B Welbedacht Barrique Select Cabernet Sauvignon 2007
72 B Cederberg Five GenerationsCabernet Sauvignon 2008
72 B Kanonkop Cabernet Sauvignon 2003
72 B Kleine Zalze Vineyard Selection Cabernet Sauvignon 2008
72 B Rickety Bridge The Bridge Cabernet Sauvignon 2008
71 B Kleine Zalze Vineyard Selection Cabernet Sauvignon 2009
71 B Vriesenhof Paradyskloof Cabernet Sauvignon 2009
70 B Bon Courage Limited Release Inkará Cabernet Sauvignon 2009
70 B Chamonix Cabernet Sauvignon 2008
70 B Longridge Cabernet Sauvignon 2007
70 B Anura Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2001
70 B Bosman Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 2007
70 B Edgebaston Cabernet Sauvignon 2008
70 B Tokara Zondernaam Cabernet Sauvignon 2008


75 B Neil Ellis Vineyard Selection Grenache 2009


79 B Dombeya Merlot 2008
75 B Anura Reserve Merlot 2007
75 B Ernie Els Merlot 2009
75 B Groot Constantia Merlot 2009
75 B Rosendal Hilltop Reserve Merlot 2009
75 B Veenwouden Reserve Merlot 2008
74 B Glenelly Glass Collection Merlot 2009
74 B La Petite Ferme Merlot 2009
74 B Lanzerac Merlot 2009
73 B Ondine Merlot 2008
72 B Durbanville Hills Luipaardsberg Merlot 2008
71 B Kyburg Merlot 2008
70 B Raka Barrel Select Merlot 2009


75 B Oak Valley Pinot Noir 2009
74 B Glen Carlou Pinot Noir 2010
73 B Hamilton Russell Vineyards Pinot Noir 2009
73 B Paul Cluver Pinot Noir 2009
72 B Creation Pinot Noir 2010
71 B Hamilton Russell Vineyards Pinot Noir 2010
70 B Grande Provence Pinot Noir 2009
70 B Bouchard Finlayson Galpin Peak Pinot Noir 2003


78 B Beyerskloof Reserve Pinotage 2008
78 B Schalk Burger & Sons Meerkat Pinotage 2009
78 B Spier Private Collection Pinotage 2008
76 B Pulpit Rock Reserve Pinotage 2009
76 B Kanonkop Pinotage 2005
76 B Lanzerac Pionier Pinotage 2008
76 B Tormentoso Bush Vine Pinotage 2009
75 B Kaapzicht Steytler Pinotage 2007
75 B Middelvlei Free-Run Pinotage 2010
74 B Doolhof Signatures of Doolhof Pinotage 2009
74 B Rooiberg Reserve Pinotage 2009
73 B Chamonix Greywacke Pinotage 2008
73 B Arniston Bay Bushvine Selection Pinotage 2009
73 B Zonnebloem Pinotage 2009
73 B Marklew Cape Flora Pinotage 2009
73 B Jacksons Limited Release Pinotage 2009
73 B Vriesenhof Pinotage 2006
72 B Tukulu Pinotage 2008
72 B Le Manoir de Brendel Pinotage 2008
72 B Rijk’s Reserve Pinotage 2007
72 B Romond Rebus Single Vineyard Selected Pinotage 2009
72 B Simonsvlei Ja Mocha Pinotage 2010
71 B Ashton Kelder Limited Release Pinotage 2010
71 B KWV The Mentors Pinotage 2009
70 B Bosman Family Vineyards Pinotage 2009
70 B Clos Malverne Reserve Pinotage 2009
70 B Durbanville Hills Rhinofields Pinotage 2009
70 B Dornier Pinotage 2009
70 B Painted Wolf The Den Pinotage 2010
70 B Viljoensdrift River Grandeur Pinotage 2009


78 B Idiom Sangiovese 2007
72 B Anthonij Rupert Terra Del Capo Sangiovese 2008


79 B De Morgenzon Syrah 2009
79 B Cederberg Shiraz 2008
79 B Grande Provence Shiraz 2007
79 B Hartenberg The Stork Shiraz 2007
78 B D’Aria The Soprano Shiraz 2008
78 B Simonsvlei South Atlantic Shiraz 2008
78 B Meerendal Bin 159 Shiraz 2006
76 B Brunia Shiraz 2009
76 B Bellingham The Bernard Series Basket Press Syrah 2009
76 B Franschhoek Cellars Baker Station Shiraz 2009
76 B Saxenburg Private Collection Shiraz 2007
75 B Lyngrove Platinum Shiraz 2008
75 B Elgin Vintners 4th Edition Shiraz 2008
75 B Hartenberg The Stork Shiraz 2003
75 B Hartenberg Shiraz 2007
75 B Longridge Shiraz 2007
75 B Nicolas van der Merwe Syrah 2007
75 B Raka Biography Shiraz 2009
75 B Raka Biography Shiraz 2008
75 B Saronsberg Shiraz 2008
75 B Vrede en Lust Syrah 2008
74 B Graham Beck The Ridge Syrah 2008
74 B Du Plevaux Shiraz 2009
74 B Groenland Premium Shiraz 2008
74 B Kanu Shiraz 2006
74 B Kleine Zalze Vineyard Selection Shiraz 2009
74 B Nick & Forti’s Shiraz 2006
74 B Waterford Kevin Arnold Shiraz 2008
73 B Bovlei Vineyard Selected Limited Release Shiraz 2009
73 B Nederburg The Winemaster’s Reserve Shiraz 2009
73 B Driehoek Shiraz 2009
73 B Graham Beck The Joshua 2009
73 B Kleinood Tamboerskloof Syrah 2007
73 B KWV The Mentors Shiraz 2009
72 B Diemersdal Shiraz 2009
72 B Nederburg Private Bin R121 Shiraz 2007
72 B Eikendal Shiraz 2010
72 B Koelenbosch Shiraz 2008
72 B Neil Ellis Vineyard Selection Syrah 2007
72 B Rhebokskloof Black Marble Hill Syrah 2008
72 B Rijk’s Estate Syrah 2007
72 B Rosendal Hilltop Reserve Shiraz 2009
72 B Springfontein Ulumbaza 2007
71 B Stellenzicht Golden Triangle Shiraz 2007
71 B Durbanville Hills Rhinofields Shiraz 2008
71 B Nederburg Private Bin R121 Shiraz 2008
71 B Havana Hills Virgin Earth Lost Barrel Shiraz 2007
71 B Hartenberg Shiraz 2002
71 B Jordan The Prospector Syrah 2008
71 B La Motte Shiraz 2009
71 B Waterkloof Circumstance Syrah 2008
71 B Waverley Hills Shiraz 2009
70 B Landskroon Shiraz 2009
70 B Rietvallei Special Select Shiraz 2008


70 B Allesverloren Tinta Barocca 2008


79 B Beyerskloof Field Blend 2007
79 B Diemersdal Private Collection 2009
79 B Morgenster 2006
79 B Raka Quinary 2007
79 B Saronsberg Provenance Red 2009
78 B Asara Bell Tower 2007
78 B Le Joubert 1070 2008
76 B Holden Manz Big G 2009
76 B Meerhof Salomon 2008
76 B Oak Valley The Oak Valley Blend 2006
75 B Delheim Grand Reserve 2001
75 B Durbanville Hills Caapmans Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2008
75 B Druk My Niet Invictus 2009
75 B Hillcrest Hornfels 2008
75 B Laibach Ladybird Red 2009
75 B Neil Ellis Woolworths Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2009
75 B Vrede en Lust Boet Erasmus 2008
75 B Warwick Trilogy 2008
75 B Yonder Hill Nicola 2008
74 B Delheim Grand Reserve 2007
74 B Diemersdal MM Louw Estate 2009
74 B Eikendal Classique 2008
74 B Emineo Liber I 2006
74 B Ernie Els Signature 2007
74 B Kanonkop Paul Sauer 2008
74 B Kanonkop Paul Sauer 1995
74 B La Motte Millennium 2009
74 B Meinert Devon Crest 2006
74 B Romond Rebus 2007
74 B Springfontein Red 2006
74 B Stellenrust Timeless Barrel Selection 2008
73 B Buitenverwachting Christine 2008
73 B Jordan Cobblers Hill 2003
73 B Vilafonté Series C 2007
73 B Zorgvliet Richelle 2006
72 B Allée Bleue Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2009
72 B Dornier Donatus Red 2007
72 B Haskell IV 2007
72 B Hidden Valley Hidden Gems 2008
72 B Klein Constantia Marlbrook 2008
72 B KWV The Mentors Orchestra 2008
72 B Welbedacht Cricket Pitch 2006
71 B Tokara Director's Reserve Red 2007
71 B Hartenberg The Mackenzie 2007
71 B Raka Quinary 2008
71 B The High Road Classique 2008
71 B The High Road Director’s Reserve 2008
70 B Boschkloof Conclusion 2006
70 B Le Bonheur Prima 2008
70 B Glen Carlou Grand Classique 2007
70 B Claime d’Or Cabernet Sauvignon Cabernet Franc 2008
70 B Vriesenhof Kallista 2005


74 B Warwick Three Cape Ladies Cape Blend 2008
73 B Welbedacht Hat Trick 2007
70 B Stellenrust JJ Handmade Picalot 2008


79 B Villiera Down to Earth Touriga Naçional Shiraz 2009
78 B Beaumont Shiraz Mourvèdre 2008
77 B Durbanville Hills Bastion Cabernet Sauvignon Shiraz 2009
76 B Joostenberg Bakermat 2009
76 B Mont Destin Passione 2009
76 B Rustenberg Stellenbosch R M Nicholson 2009
75 B Emineo Liber III 2007
75 B Zevenwacht Z-Collection Syrah Mourvèdre Viognier Grenache 2008
74 B Painted Wolf Pictis One 2009
73 B Bosman Family Vineyards Adama 2008
73 B Hermanuspietersfontein Die Martha 2007
73 B Eagle’s Cliff Shiraz/Pinotage 2008
73 B Welbedacht Schalk Burger & Sons No 6 2006
73 B Spier Creative Block 3 2008
73 B Stark-Condé Lingen 2009
72 B Diemersfontein Summer’s Lease 2009
72 B Zonnebloem Shiraz Mourvèdre Viognier 2009
72 B Zonnebloem Shiraz Mourvèdre Viognier 2006
72 B Edgebaston The Berry Box 2008
71 B Faraway House High Overberg Classic 2009
71 B Glenelly Grand Vin 2008
71 B Simonsvlei South Atlantic Shiraz/Cabernet Sauvignon 2008
71 B Thelema Mountain Red 2008
70 B Creation Syrah Grenache 2009
70 B Koelenhof Wynkelder Koelenberg 2009
70 B Koelenbosch Nineteenfortyone 2008
70 B KWV The Mentors Canvas 2009
70 B Nico van der Merwe Cape Elements 2009
70 B Waterford Edition The Library Collection MB 2004


79 B Fleur du Cap Laszlo 2006
78 B Edgebaston The Berry Box 2009
76 B Waterkloof Circle of Life 2009
75 B Backsberg Family Reserve Red 2005
75 B Backsberg Family Reserve Red 2003
74 B Clos Malverne Auret Cape Blend Cabernet Sauvignon Pinotage 2009
72 B Rustenburg Brampton OVR 2009
70 B Bouchard Finlayson Hannibal 2009
70 B Graham Beck Ad Honorem 2007
70 B Angel’s Tears Red NV


73 B Lord’s Pinot Noir Rosé 2011
71 B Tulbagh Winery Rosé 2011
70 B Delheim Pinotage Rosé 2011
70 B Obikwa Pinotage Rosé 2010
70 B Elgin Vintners 3rd Edition Rosé 2010



79 B Saronsberg Méthode Cap Classique Brut 2007
78 B Du Preez Hendrik Lodewyk Méthode Cap Classique NV
78 B Meerendal Blanc de Blanc 2007
78 B Villiera Woolworths The Black Label Vintage Reserve MCC 2006
76 B Pongrácz Brut NV
75 B Boschendal Grande Cuvée Brut 2007
74 B Klein Constantia Brut 2007
73 B Des Dieux Claudia Méthode Cap Classique Brut 2007
72 B Altydgedacht MCC Blanc de Blanc 2008
72 B JC le Roux Pinot Noir Rosé 2008
72 B Graham Beck Cuvée Clive 2005
72 B Graham Beck Brut NV


74 B Tulbagh Winery Pinotage Doux 2010



76 B Douglas Green Chardonnay 2010
74 B Mont Rochelle Unwooded Chardonnay 2010
71 B Jordan Unoaked Chardonnay 2010
70 B Obikwa Chardonnay 2010


79 B Almenkerk Chardonnay 2010
79 B Uitkyk Chardonnay 2009
78 B Le Bonheur Chardonnay 2010
78 B Jordan Barrel Fermented Chardonnay 2009
77 B Tokara Reserve Collection Walker Bay Chardonnay 2009
77 B Spier Private Collection Chardonnay 2009
75 B Cape Point Vineyards Chardonnay 2009
75 B Chamonix Reserve Chardonnay 2006
75 B Chamonix Reserve Chardonnay 2007
75 B Nederburg Private Bin D270 Chardonnay 2009
75 B Hoopenburg Integer Chardonnay 2008
75 B Vrede en Lust Marguerite Chardonnay 2010
74 B Bouchard Finlayson Missionvale Chardonnay 2009
74 B Buitenverwachting Chardonnay 2010
74 B Cape Point Vineyards Chardonnay 2003
74 B Delaire Chardonnay 2010
74 B Glenelly Grand Vin Chardonnay 2010
74 B Van Loveren Christina van Loveren Chardonnay 2010
73 B Boschendal Reserve Collection Chardonnay 2009
72 B Fleur du Cap Unfiltered Chardonnay 2010
72 B Louisvale Chardonnay 2010
71 B Alvi’s Drift Chardonnay 2010
71 B La Motte Chardonnay 2009
71 B Saxenburg Private Collection Chardonnay 2010
70 B Quoin Rock Cape Agulhas Chardonnay 2008


78 B Alvi’s Drift Chenin Blanc 2010
75 B Dornier Chenin Blanc 2010
75 B Table Bay Chenin Blanc 2010
73 B Rupert Wines Protea Chenin Blanc 2010
73 B Obikwa Chenin Blanc 2010
73 B Knorhoek Chenin Blanc 2009
70 B Cederberg Chenin Blanc 2010
70 B Ondine Chenin Blanc 2010


76 B Kleine Zalze Vineyard Selection Chenin Blanc 2010
75 B Boschendal Chenin Blanc 2010
75 B Ken Forrester Reserve Chenin Blanc 2010
74 B De Morgenzon Chenin Blanc 2007
74 B Jordan Barrel Fermented Chenin Blanc 2009
73 B Allée Bleue Chenin Blanc 2010
73 B Graham Beck Bowed Head Chenin Blanc 2010
73 B Land of Hope Reserve Chenin Blanc 2010
72 B Arniston Bay Bushvine Selection Chenin Blanc 2010
72 B Mont Destin Chenin Blanc 2010
72 B Stellenrust Barrel Fermented Chenin Blanc 2010
71 B Bosman Family Vineyards Optenhorst Chenin Blanc 2009
71 B Painted Wolf The Den Chenin Blanc 2010
70 B Bellingham The Bernard Series Old Vine Chenin Blanc 2010
70 B Simonsig Woolworths Limited Release Chenin Blanc 2009
70 B Spier Private Collection Chenin Blanc 2009


73 B Delheim Gewürztraminer 2010
72 B Neethlingshof Gewürztraminer 2010


76 B Buitenverwachting G Limited Vintage 2010


73 B KWV The Mentors Grenache Blanc 2010


79 B Graham Beck Pheasant’s Run Sauvignon Banc 2010
79 B KWV The Mentors Sauvignon Blanc 2009
79 B Rosendal Sauvignon Blanc 2010
78 B De Grendel Koetshuis Sauvignon Blanc 2010
78 B Tokara Reserve Collection Walker Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2010
78 B Hillcrest Sauvignon Blanc 2009
78 B Hillcrest Sauvignon Blanc 2007
78 B Tierhoek Sauvignon Blanc 2009
77 B Buitenverwachting Husseys Vlei Sauvignon Blanc 2007
77 B Durbanville Hills Sauvignon Blanc 2010
77 B Des Dieux Sauvignon Blanc 2010
75 B Lomond Sugarbush Sauvignon Blanc 2010
75 B Cederberg Sauvignon Blanc 2010
75 B Durbanville Hills Rhinofields Sauvignon Blanc 2009
75 B Zonnebloem Limited Edition Sauvignon Blanc 2010
75 B Driehoek Sauvignon Blanc 2010
75 B Klein Roosboom Bandana Blanc Sauvignon Blanc 2010
75 B Waterhof Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2010
75 B Neethlingshof Single Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2010
74 B Cape Point Vineyards Woolworths Limited Release Sauvignon Blanc 2010
74 B Rietvallei Special Select Sauvignon Blanc 2010
74 B Claime d’Or Sauvignon Blanc 2010
74 B Rustenberg Sauivgnon Blanc 2010
73 B Uitkyk Sauvignon Blanc 2010
73 B D’Aria Sauvignon Blanc 2010
73 B Elgin Heights Sauvignon Blanc 2010
73 B Hidden Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2010
73 B Koelenbosch Sauvignon Blanc 2010
73 B Alexanderfontein Sauvignon Blanc 2010
73 B Thelema Sauvignon Blanc 2010
73 B Villiera Traditional Bush Vine Sauvignon Blanc 2010
73 B Warwick Professor Black Sauvignon Blanc 2010
72 B Buitenverwachting Husseys Vlei Sauvignon Blanc 2009
72 B Le Bonheur Sauvignon Blanc 2010
72 B Diemersdal Eight Rows Sauvignon Blanc 2009
72 B Du Preez Sauvignon Blanc 2011
72 B Edgebaston Sauvignon Blanc 2010
72 B Hillcrest Sauvignon Blanc 2010
72 B Steenberg Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2010
72 B Zorgvliet Sauvignon Blanc 2010
71 B Allée Bleue Sauvignon Blanc 2010
71 B Lomond Pincushion Sauvignon Blanc 2010
71 B Groot Constantia Sauvignon Blanc 2010
71 B Jacksons Limited Release Sauvignon Blanc 2010
70 B Diemersdal Eight Rows Sauvignon Blanc 2010
70 B Nederburg Private Bin D215 Sauvignon Blanc 2010
70 B Elgin Vintners 5th Edition Sauvignon Blanc 2009
70 B Groote Post Sauvignon Blanc 2007
70 B KWV Cathedral Cellar Sauvignon Blanc 2010
70 B Thierry & Guy Fat Bastard Sauvignon Blanc 2010
70 B Steenberg Sauvignon Blanc 2007
70 B Sutherland Sauvignon Blanc 2010


77 B Mooiplaas Sauvignon Blanc 2007
75 B Cape Point Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc 2010
75 B Hermanuspietersfontein Nr 5 Sauvignon Blanc 2010
75 B Zorgvliet Five-Thirty-Five 2010
74 B Bouchard Finlayson Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2010
74 B Cape Point Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc 2007
73 B Neil Ellis Vineyard Selection Sauvignon Blanc 2010


78 B David Nieuwoudt Ghost Corner Semillon 2009
78 B Vergelegen Reserve Semillon 2008
75 B Fleur du Cap Unfiltered Semillon 2010
75 B Nederburg Private Bin D266 Semillon 2009
75 B Ondine Semillon 2010


78 B Elgin Vintners 4th Edition Viognier 2010
73 B Fleur du Cap Unfiltered Viognier 2010
73 B KWV The Mentors Viognier 2010


70 B Bloemendal Bloemenblanc 2010


78 B Cape Point Vineyards Isliedh 2009
78 B Cape Point Vineyards Isliedh 2010
78 B Delaire Reserve Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2009
77 B Springfontein White 2009
76 B Flagstone Treaty Tree Reserve 2010
73 B Groot Constantia Gouverneurs Reserve 2009
73 B Vergelegen 2007
72 B Buitenverwachting Maximus 2009
72 B Steenberg Magna Carta 2009
70 B Vrede en Lust Barrique 2010


73 B Ashbourne Sandstone 2007


79 B Klein Constantia Mme Marlbrook 2008
78 B Lomond Snowbush 2008
78 B Flagstone Treaty Tree Reserve 2009
78 B Bellingham The Bernard Series Whole Bunch Grenache Blanc with Viognier 2010
78 B Zevenwacht The Tin Mine 2010
75 B Alvi’s Drift CVC 2010
75 B Lomond Snowbush 2009
75 B Lomond Snowbush 2007
75 B Rustenberg Schoongezicht 2010
74 B Grande Provence Viognier Chenin Blanc 2010
72 B Alvi’s Drift CVC 2008
72 B Dornier Donatus White 2010
72 B Ormonde Proprietor's Blend 2009
72 B Quoin Rock Oculus 2007
72 B Welgegund Chiara 2009



78 B Nederburg Private Bin Noble Late Harvest Semillon 2007
78 B KWV Superior Noble Late Harvest 1987
76 B Meerendal Chenin Blanc Natural Sweet 2009
76 B Neethlingshof Weisser Riesling Noble Late Harvest 2003
75 B Perdeberg Reserve Natural Sweet Weisser Riesling 2010
72 B Delheim Edelspatz Noble Late Harvest 2010
72 B Nederburg Private Bin Chenin Blanc Noble Late Harvest Edelkeur 2007
72 B Rustenberg Straw Wine 2009
70 B Badsberg Badslese Natural Sweet 2009
70 B Paul Cluver Riesling Noble Late Harvest 2010


78 B KWV Hanepoot Jerepigo 1973
74 B KWV Hanepoot Jerepigo 1969
73 B Ashton Kelder White Muscadel Jerepigo 2006
70 B Rietvallei 1908 Muscadel 2008


78 B Quinta do Sul Private Reserve Vintage Port 2008
74 B Delaire Cape Vintage 2008
73 B De Krans Cape Tawny Port NV
72 B Landskroon Port 2007
78 B Boplaas Cape Tawny Reserve Port 1997

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Beverley Hills drinking

Beverley Hills drinking

Author: Suzy Bell

Published: 07 Jun 11

Pre-dinner drinks at the dignified old skool Beverley Hills Hotel is far less nouveau-riche than the feverishly popular Monte-Carlo-esque Oyster Box with their vagina-red bar. Stepping into The Oyster Box you feel like you’ve stepped onto the original set of Dynasty. You expect Sue Ellen to appear from behind a Doric column with crystal tumbler of whiskey as JR swaggers in with his Texan cowboy hat to order a bottle of Dom to celebrate his latest cracking oil deal. At The Bev I spotted a Salman Rushdie look-a-like on a caramel wing-back chair enjoying a bottle of The Gypsy, Ken Forrester’s Grenache Noir and Shiraz blend.
You can even sashay down their dramatiese Gone with the Wind staircase with a glass of Gamay Noir, Klein Zalze in hand. I valiantly attempted, announcing: “Frankly, some of this decor has to go! But the glam Hockney pool, now that, can stay!”

But what I most like about The Bev is that they always have a violinist playing, whether it is the melancholy Don’t Cry For Me Argentina which goes down rather well with a glass of Cab Sauv, Slowine 2009 from Overberg or gentle head bopping in a grey leather couch to Wasis Diop with a fine bottle of their Beaujolais, Louis Jadot Moulin A Vent Clos Chateau des Jacques

Their wine list is an opulent leather-bound affair that makes you think of weekends in Aspen and The Hamptons, which you’ve never had. It also makes you think of how cool would it be if The Bev would invite Tom Waites to play on a Saturday night. Or at least play his music for more than a tinkling of edge. Wine with the right music is key. Radio Head is good for a glass of Chamonix Reserve Pinot Noir, and Van Morrison makes a glass of Tassies far easier to swallow. I shared a bottle of Raka Quinary 2006 the night before and that went down really swell with a slow hip-shimmy kitchen boogie to Joe Jackson.

And it would be rather nice to have their wine list in electronic format, like a Kindle, but a personalised Kindle called a Windle for ordering wine at The Bev. This way you can research and Tweet direct wine links as you sip. If there was such a thing as a Kindle cross a Windle then you could read, aah, say, Hanif Kureishi as you drink:

“Against death and authoritarianism there is only one thing” he said once. “Love?” I suggested. “Culture, I was going to say,” he said. “Far more important. Any clown can fall in love or have sex. But to write a play, paint a Rothko or discover the unconscious – aren’t these extraordinary feats of imagination, the only negation of the human desire to murder?”

Upon reading that, I swooned, took a giant sip of my Gamay Noir and it rushed through my body like fresh new blood in my veins.

South Africa’s secret wine weapon

South Africa’s secret wine weapon

Author: Cathy Marston

Published: 31 May 11

Thierry Desseauve, former editor of La Revue du Vin de France, doesn’t often judge at shows he hasn’t organised but Michael Fridjhon was able to tempt him to South Africa with the promise of good, interesting wines. Did he find them? “Absolutely! The wines were much better than I had expected, especially the Shirazes and the white Bordeaux blends.” Style-wise, he found SA wines acting as a bridge between Old and New World styles “You have a great history here in the European tradition with wines such as those from Constantia” and he particularly commended those wines which achieved balance and freshness as opposed to being alcoholic blockbusters, something which he says isn’t always the case with wines from Australia, for example.

So what does he think is SA’s secret? His answer is immediate “Terroir. Your vineyards are similar to Europe in that the vines are planted in good places. Your Shirazes, for example, had real personality – very different from the Rhône or Australia – and I would like to return and find out more about that personality and where it comes from.” I told him of several French winemakers and winery owners who had done just that and he nodded “you must choose one place and go to the absolute extreme of quality in every part of it – that is how you can make top class wines.”

And top class wines are what it will take to crack the French market, in his view. Right now, there is no SA presence in France at all, but, after having tasted many over the week, he believes that Pinotage may be the break-through grape “You have a unique style of wine there – balanced, fruity, easy to drink - although I find it difficult to see what will go with it food-wise.” One style of wine which he was less than complimentary about was oxidative white wines – a style for which he can see no future – but he agrees that natural winemaking and organic and biodynamic farming are the way to go, as long as freshness can be retained.

Sadly for Desseauve, this was a flying visit and he had little time to visit the different vineyard areas and track down the ‘real personality’ of South Africa’s wines. But the thoughtful gleam in his eye as he talked about the terroir and the opportunities it affords a focussed, dedicated vigneron suggest this first visit may not be his last “South Africa has a special place in the world – it is a hope for everyone in terms of the changes it has managed to achieve. Everyone wants you to become a real success and wine must be part of that too.”

Chenin Blanc – quo vadis?

Chenin Blanc – quo vadis?

Author: Christian Eedes

Published: 08 Jun 11
Never mind that this year’s Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show failed to identify a single current-release Cabernet Sauvignon worthy of gold despite over 100 entries in this class, it’s Chenin Blanc that’s got everybody in a tizz. Also no gold, even if there were significantly fewer entries - around 50 compared to 111 in the case of the 2011 Wine magazine Chenin Blanc Challenge.

The reaction I’ve encountered from Chenin Blanc producers is that the panel involved (Cathy van Zyl MW as chair with Thierry Desseauve of La Revue du Vin de France and Miguel Chan, group sommelier of Southern Sun hotels) simply got it wrong. Is this the case?

When UK magazine Decanter pretty much trashed a line-up of 155 examples of local Chenin Blanc in its April issue accusing them of “monotony, neutrality and non-existent regionality”, I was quick to assume like many others that the tasters involved had goofed. Taken in conjunction with the Trophy Wine Show result, however, and perhaps the category is not as hot as we’d all like to think.

Once the hysteria has died down, there’s probably something of a truth buried in the outcomes of these tastings. When it began to emerge that Chenin Blanc was to go without gold at Trophy Wine Show, I was quick to interrogate the panel members concerned. Desseauve, generally the model of discretion, in this instance did not hesitate to say that he thought the category was poor: “Rich, lots of fruit, lots of sugar but no proper delineation – fruit salad flavours, very rustic. No elegance or finesse”. Chan, meanwhile, offered the insight that too many producers were trying to emulate the big but carefully conceived Forrester Meinert The FMC without success: “The more ambitious wines typically offer richness but not the same level of complexity as FMC”.

Stellenbosch producer Kleine Zalze has been at the forefront of efforts to rehabilitate the image of Chenin Blanc, the Vineyard Selection 2008 winning the Wine magazine Challenge in 2010 among many other awards that its various versions of the variety have collected over the years. This particular wine however had an analysis which left it very much in geek territory, with an abv of 15.18%, residual sugar of 7.3 g/l, TA of 6.9% and pH of 3.19.

The 2010 is less remarkable but arguably more drinkable with an abv of 14%, RS of 2.4g/l, TA 5.7g/l and pH of 3.56, this the result of a directive from owner Kobus Basson to winemaker Johan Joubert to tone things down. Kleine Zalze make between 4 000 and 6 000 cases of the Vineyard Selection and the wine sells for R62 a bottle. Basson realises that irrespective of the critical acclaim his wines may attract, they need to have popular appeal first and foremost otherwise the old bush vines that supply the grapes won’t stay in the ground. One feels that a move to greater refinement and freshness across the entire Chenin Blanc class won’t do it any harm at all.

For more by Christian Eedes, visit

Why South African wines don’t sell in the UK

Why South African wines don’t sell in the UK

Author: Cathy Marston

Published: 30 May 11

“When I tell people I’m covering South Africa for the Wine Advocate, they nearly always come back to me and say ‘what did you do wrong?’” Not a particularly promising opening statement from Neal Martin as he arrived to take part in the Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show judging. Thankfully a fabulous flight of Chardonnays rapidly changed his mind and a week’s further tasting his way around the Cape has clearly convinced him that there is a seriously exciting story waiting to be told about South African wine.
Which is a good thing, because if Martin is to be believed, then SA wine still has a long way to go in the UK market. “When you have a choice of what to spend your money on, people don’t often choose South African wine.” Why is that? He mused for a moment and then suggested that perhaps memories of negative events such as the green pepper/KWV scandal still linger – possibly even whiffs of apartheid and images of crime and disorder are all bound-up in the mental buying decision as well. Efforts to promote positive South African wine initiatives such as Fairtrade and BWI haven’t really registered in the UK in his opinion, although his interest was piqued when the protégé programme of the CWG was explained to him. “If there is no difference in price then perhaps people might choose a wine which was ‘good’ over another one. But the quality is going to have to be there too and that hasn’t always been the case in the past.”
At the end of the day, he believes it will be the traditional arguments of quality and price which will increase market share for South African wines in the UK. “You need to improve the quality of your wines at the lower end. Other countries such as Australia are offering much better value for entry level wines.” And on the subject of money, he also warns South African producers to keep an eye on international prices “if your wines cost as much as a Côtes-du-Rhône, then that is what people will choose over an SA wine, simply because it’s familiar. The only way to overcome this is on price.”

But it’s not all doom and gloom – in fact, far from it. “You need to be a bit more positive about your own wines and have a bit more confidence in them, because at the end of the day that is what people want to hear about. I’m only coming here to look for the good things, for wines which score 85+” he declares. The fact that he’s returning home full of zeal and enthusiasm for his forthcoming Wine Advocate report, suggests that he just might have found them.

Chenin Blanc can break into the Asian market

Chenin Blanc can break into the Asian market

Author: Cathy Marston

Published: 31 May 11

Debra Meiburg is a frequent visitor to SA and has enjoyed many bottles here over the years. But this visit saw her firmly wearing her ‘Asian markets hat’ (“Don’t call it the Far East – it’s a rather offensive and completely meaningless term!”) with her role on the judging panel being to bring an Asian perspective and help South African winemakers make headway in this hugely important sector.
The good news is that China has a very strong interest in Africa as a whole in terms of trade interests fostered by the Chinese government. The bad news is that however much the Chinese might like Africa, we don’t make Bordeaux wines! According to Meiburg, many Asians start drinking wine as a status symbol when they have achieved business success. So they cut their vinous teeth on Chateau Laffite and rarely stray any further. But times are changing and education – an obsession with the Chinese – is improving matters with over 1,000 people taking the UK’s WSET courses every year as opposed to only 5 people in the class 18 years ago.
Bordeaux blends are clearly the biggest market in Asia and Meiburg thinks there may be room for more Shiraz as well, although she warns that going up against the Australians in this category might be problematic. Sauvignon Blanc – what little there is in Asia – is sewn up by the Kiwis, but perhaps there might be room for Chenin to make some headway, particularly if it is marketed in combination with food “One of the most important things to realise about the Chinese is that they don’t sit and drink wine on their own at home. They take bottles to restaurants and share them with their friends or business associates.” If South Africa can create a niche for its Chenin Blancs, perhaps as partners for seafood which is very popular in Asian cuisine, she feels this may prove to be the way forward.
The food element is so important in Asia that Meiburg goes onto to explain the food and wine matching sector of the Hong Kong International Wine & Spirit Fair. There, wines are judged in the context of five key dishes carefully selected to represent typical occasions when Asian people might drink wine – Peking Duck, Braised Abalone, Kung Pow Chicken, Dim Sum and Sashimi. Success in this competition virtually guarantees sales, with all trophy winners from last year achieving listings on the back of it and Meiburg (whilst acknowledging she has interests in the running of the competition) strongly recommends this as a route into the market.

Meiburg remains an enthusiastic supporter of SA wines “The changes I’ve seen in your wines on this visit are incredible! I’ve been very impressed with how clean they are and how well the Brett problem has been managed.” However, she also feels that South Africa has made mistakes in how it has approached Asia so far “You need to identify some icon wines and use those to gain entry into the market.” She recommends South Africa wineries should form partnerships and approach key players in the Asian market as groups, rather than individuals “South Africa hasn’t put its best foot forward into Asia yet.” The time to do so is now.

Feedback from the judges in South Africa's most anticipated wine competition

Feedback from the judges in South Africa's most anticipated wine competition

Published: 25 May 11

This is what the judges had to say at the official Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show feedback session at the Grand Roche in Paarl.

International: Debra Meiburg MW, Neal Martin, Thierry Desseauve
SA: Christian Eedes, Cathy van Zyl MW, Ginette de Fleuriot CWM, Miguel Chan, Gary Jordan, François Rautenbach
Chairman: Michael Fridjhon

Chairman of the Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show, Michael Fridjhon.

MF: Good morning and welcome to the tenth feedback session for the Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show. Guests are still gathering. It always amazes me that at events such as this the media almost outnumbers the producers, whereas you might have thought that it would be quite a useful opportunity for those who are in the business of making wine to listen to not only what the judges think, but the kind of criteria being applied.

The very high percentage of international judges does send a message about the expectations of international markets and because we go to a lot of trouble – not only in terms of selecting people who we think really will add value to the overall view of South African wine by giving their comments and by our judges absorbing those comments – but also because we are trying the get a reflection that is more global, so we don’t try and choose three judges from the same market.

There’s an opportunity here to listen to what a wide range of opinions brings and so it is interesting – and I do know that of course these comments land up on the website – it’s a useful opportunity to interrogate the judges, which is in a sense why we are here today.

So welcome to you, welcome to the judges who are looking remarkably fresh considering that we’ve been through over 1 000 wines. I have a few stats here which are really interesting: this year the total entries were 1 083 compared with 1 014. There were some disqualifications and withdrawals before the judging actually took place – withdrawals because between the time that people enter the wine and the time that the judging takes place, suddenly they get an export order and discover that they don’t have sufficient stock to meet the minimum stock criteria. Those sorts of things happen – there’s nothing ominous or sinister about them, but we finally land up with 20 wines less than these numbers.

What we saw were some really interesting stats – I’m going to start with those.

Total Gold count was actually down, which means as I’ve said to these people many times over the last few days that they are mean-spirited, but actually that’s what this show is about. We do want to apply fairly tough criteria thresholds, a gold at this show really is supposed to mean something and it’s very easy to open the tap. It’s very easy to say well it’s quite a nice wine let’s bump it to gold. If you do that across a number of classes, to go from 25 to 40 golds is the easiest thing in the world and it won’t even appear to dilute the standard, but cumulatively it does.

What we’ve seen as a result of this parsimony, for which I’m really grateful, is an increase in the number silvers and that’s a trend we’ve seen over the last couple of years where we’re now up to 116 silvers. That’s also very encouraging. The wine industry grows every year, 50-80 new producers come on board – people who have been making wine and have been surviving in very difficult times have to be making better wine - and what would have been a top bronze two years ago really does get through that threshold and land up with silver.

There was a discussion several years ago in which people said if South African wine is getting better, how come the medal counts aren’t getting higher and I remember James Halliday saying “that’s because you have to raise the bar. If you don’t raise the bar, you’re not actually improving the breed.” The whole point about wine shows – as with traditional old agricultural shows – is that they exist to improve the breed. So you have to raise the bar and as you raise the bar so there is a degree of fallout, but there is a gratifying improvement in overall quality. The place where this has been most visible is not in the gold medals, because that bar gets raised higher and higher all the time. It happens in the silvers - the wines that in the past might have got gold. Halliday’s comment as well is that the bronze of ten years ago is the silver or gold of today.

116 silvers against the 89 of last year. A big increase in bronzes from 329 to 427. Once again not surprising. It’s a very tough industry out there. People are making very good wine and people are really being much more rigorous about what they’re chucking out and we would expect a medal count increase there as well. So all round 25 compared with 32 golds from last year and from memory, five museum classes in those 25. So in fact there were only 20 gold medals outside of the museum classes.

Here is something for the handful of producers who come to this feedback session and that is museum classes are getting a higher percentage of gold medals and there’s a message in that for South African consumers, that our wines do and should be allowed to age. Older wines do show better and I think most of the people on this panel were part of the old wine-tasting that we do on Sunday afternoon. It started as a bit of an exercise three of four years ago and has now become something of a tradition. We reel in really old wines – white wines 15 years and older; red wines 25 years and older. It has nothing to do with the show, but it’s quite a nice way to start the week’s judging and what we see is some extraordinary old wine. We forget that South African old wines do age and it’s in the interests of everybody to get cash flow, so nobody mentions this secret, which is that they’re so much better if you let them age for a few years and that was quite clear from the performance of the museum classes.

We have a line-up of judges – some of whom have done this for the first time, some of them as internationals are also here for the first time. Some of the panelists haven’t been on this panel for several years, so there’s a wide range of opinions and I’d really like to get people, one at a time from the panel, to talk about this and then to field questions, which you can do if it’s specific to what that speaker has just said. Otherwise please bank up your questions and let’s try and unpack all the issues that are important to the wine industry – both to producers, to consumers and in fact to this body of people who love wine and want to know where it’s going.

I’m going to Gary Jordan on my right who has judged this show for I think about five years now and is one of the only producers on the panel. Let’s hear what you think Gary.

GJ Thanks Michael and welcome everyone. As you know it’s been a heavy week, but a week that we’ve all really enjoyed and come out with some fantastic wines that we’re going to be proud of. In particular, with panels that I’ve served on I think we’ve really done some good work and you’re going to see some great results coming out of it.

The panel judging system works well and for me as a producer I’d like to encourage people who don’t really know much about this – with three senior judges and an associate judge as well, that associate judge coming out of the Judging Academy where they’ve passed and graduated with distinction. That whole system works particularly well because newer, younger people are brought into that industry as well.

Something that was interesting is that we’re seeing less of that “Mocha-lypse now” style of wine. This is not the kind of show where you’re going to find tons of oak chips and over-oaked wines in that non-wine style, first-time wine-lover type wines. It’s not the place really to enter it, although there are producers who do put that in and it keep us on our toes as judges.

On the panels that I was chairing I did find that Viognier was disappointing this year. There were interesting individual wines, but on the whole a lot of alcohol, a lot of over-oaked styles and sometimes I actually just wanted to blend two glasses together to make a way better wine, because too much oak and too much alcohol really just didn’t work particularly well.

For me the Shiraz, Bordeaux blends and Riesling all showed very well. Shiraz in particular I think we got a couple of stonkers (great wines) there – really some nice wines. The interesting thing – and I think we may have stats available later on which indicate how many bottles were closed with cork and how many were closed with screwcap – I think in our Bordeaux blend class we had something like 93% were cork closed and we ended up at just over 5% being corked. Some of them we joked amongst ourselves had “Cork of the Show”. It’s obviously still a problem, although not as bad. Over the last five years I’ve seen it improve.

A word on Merlot. Merlot for me, even as a Merlot producer – Merlot is coming in a place where Pinotage used to be. I say that with respect because while there are some individual standout wines, there’s a lot of crap out there. Over-oaking and Merlot and this greenness don’t really go together. So as an industry we’ve got to do something about that. It happened to be a class which for me as a judge stood out as having many more faults on it. Too much over-oaked wine – whether that’s a question of people not being able to sell wine and therefore it’s been in the barrel for much longer, or whether they’re just missing out on that style, but too long in oak, too much French oak, too much new wood – it’s just not working on Merlot.

MF Gary, thank you. I have to say that Gary is the only producer judging as a full judge and for those people who are conspiracy theorists please bear the following in mind; if a producer sits on a panel in which the wine in which he has a direct or indirect commercial interest comes up, his score, even at the primary panel, is discounted and if, in the really unlikely possibility, the wine should land up at a trophy judging, it’s absolutely discounted. SO it is quite an interesting thing and we do like to have on every panel at least somebody with technical expertise so that when there are questions around that – I’m hoping that your comments about Merlot, as a Merlot producer, is a message that gets back to the country’s Merlot producers. I do know that there is a Merlot interest group and that it has been working very hard at addressing concerns about how Merlot has now become the disappointment of the Cape wine industry. I have to say that I thought the top end of the Merlot class this year was better than it has ever been and clearly there’s just some rubbish way below, which is an inevitable clearing of the pipeline.

I’m now going to ask Debra Meiburg, who is a Master of Wine and who is here from Hong Kong, to add her comments.

DM I’m from Hong Kong. I know I don’t look Chinese but I have spent half my life there so although I have a California accent and grew up in wine country, I’m coming in with a very Asian perspective.

I thought the Sauvignon Blanc class was just wonderful. I was pleased to see not too much green fruit, because I think there’s a danger when regions chase that lively green methoxypyrazine flavours. I saw a nice array. The class was definitely split into two different styles. There’s the ripe guava, tropical, vibrant style and then the herbal green. So I guess my word to the producers is don’t go too far down that path. That was quite trendy about ten years ago, but much of the wine world that was producing those styles are moving away from that. Otherwise some lovely wines in there. I had the Cabernet Sauvignon class. Some lovely Cabernet, but we struggled to find a gold. There was lots of silver Cabernet Sauvignon and I would like to see a little more fruit purity. We saw quite a few that clearly had a Shiraz dollop blended into the wine, which tastes delicious, but if I were a consumer in Hong Kong and I bought a Cabernet which tasted like Shiraz, I’d be quite taken aback. So that would be my caveat to the winemakers. I’d probably make it clear on the label.

One thing I think is wonderful about the Cabernet Sauvignons for our market is that we’re very French and European oriented in our tastes in Hong Kong, even though we have Australia pounding on our door and so we like restrained fruit and in this case I saw a lot of nice fruit restraint.

In terms of the Merlot, which I judged with Mr Jordan, my question was simply What is Merlot trying to Be? It’s a difficult class because there are a range of styles. I felt there’s not yet a voice on Merlot, even thought we found some lovely Merlot. To be fair if you step back in the world there’s not much of a Merlot voice in the world other than maybe Bordeaux right bank. I saw some great fruit in there and some good winemaking so I think there’s an opportunity with the Merlot class.

Those would be some of my key classes. I missed the Pinotage class, but in judging some of the trophy class today I saw some lovely Pinotage and some wonderful Shiraz. I suppose my general comment would be that I’ve been coming to South Africa for a while and I’m seeing a real improvement on fruit purity, grape varietal expression, freshness, vibrancy, clean winemaking. That’s really super.

MF Deborah, thank you. Before I pass the microphone on just to answer a question raised by Gary about screwcap versus non-screwcap closure, the numbers are edging upwards and overall now represent about 25% of the show. Having said that, there are some classes where screwcap represents 40%-50% of all the submission – so you’d see it in Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin – they’re big classes. I may add that Rosé and Blanc de Noir which is not a class which leaves judges breathless was 80% closed with screwcap. In other words more and more producers are understanding that if you want true expression of fruit to be retained in the bottle, there’s no harm in accepting that screwcap is the appropriate closure. When you get to the red wine classes it does thin out rather dramatically. But even there Shiraz is over 10% now closed with screwcap, Cabernet is 11%, Pinot Noir is 21%, Pinotage 16% - that’s a real thought that for an industry that ten years ago was certainly going to win the dinosaur of the year award, we’ve seen much, much cleaner Pinotage, much more sensitivity about issues like brett and rustic winemaking and so in a sense it’s not a surprise to see that they’ve also embraced the idea that closure has a role to play.

Q On the question of closures, is there an analysis on the Diam cork?

MF We can pull that stat for you and if you’re that interested we’ll get it to you, but I certainly saw down the closure lists when there were Diam noted – it’s small. I would have thought certainly under 5% so it’s not statistically that relevant, but we’re noting it. What we still need to find out is the great question of whether there’s a Diam taste and until people start to say so, we’ll assume we haven’t got there yet. To answer your question about Diam, it is being recorded – it’s very small.

It’s a week which either has high drama or no drama. Monday was generally a day of high drama and that’s because the panels took a bit of time to gel, I think is one of those understatements of all time, so that at eight o’clock as Old Mutual’s guests were arriving for dinner and the dinner itself has been scheduled 7.30 for 8.00, two of the three panels were still beavering away at what had to be done. And that’s only because sometimes classes don’t sift themselves as easily as they might.

One of the classes that took a bit of sifting was the Sauvignon Blanc class and to say that there’s a dichotomy between a style of wine that Christian particularly likes and a style of wine that Debra particularly doesn’t like is to understate things a wee bit. So the microphone is there for Christian, not just to talk about the class. This is the fourth or fifth show you’ve judged on as a judge and you have done Sauvignon Blanc class in every one of those years (Christian – No, the last three and Shiraz for what seems like eight years). So there are two very important classes that you really have got some length and time of perspective. So without crossing swords with Debra yet again would you like to talk about them?

CE Debra and I got on very well. Our disagreements are very good-natured and very civil, but the disagreement with regards to Sauvignon Blanc was over the issue of greenness and methoxypyrazine and typically there were some styles that I expect come from maritime, cool climate areas – I’m speculating but probably Darling and Elim – and I had a lot of time for those wines, as I think many of us do and Debra didn’t care for them particularly. It was a very productive discussion over the course of the day. Debra’s point was that it’s out of fashion in the Asian market and also that under certain circumstances that they’re tiring or inappropriate to drink. Before we get hysterical about it and grub up hundreds of hectares of Sauvignon Blanc up the West Coast, I think it still has a place in the South African context and, as Debra and I discussed, if it’s 35ºC outside and you’re sitting on the beach eating oysters, those wines definitely have a place. They might not be key to cracking the Asian market, but we need to be aware of different wines for different contexts.

There were four current release Sauvignon golds that we did agree on and I think they’re wines that everybody will love. They are very difficult to fault. So we did eventually reach agreement after twelve hours of judging on Monday.

Regarding Shiraz, if five years ago the category was incredible work in the sense that the wines lacked any great distinction, the overall quality is really going in the right direction. I’m delighted to say it’s a much, much more interesting class. I think we’re still a little way off great wines – we got three golds there and I’d like to think that you’ll be excited by them. Whereas five years ago it was really hard work to find anything interesting, there’s a lot more fun to be had from the category. There’s a lot more precise winemaking, a lot more understanding of which flavour profiles are going to work. Where I think we can still make some progress is there is a lot of wine with a 14.5 alcohol, a residual sugar of 3 – 3.5, quite heavily oaked, very ripe fruit and I’m afraid that’s never going to get more than bronze. They’re well made but not terribly interesting. The way forward for me is definitely spice and pepper and fruit purity and less oak.

MF While the microphone is so close to Thierry Desseauve who I think it could fairly be said bring a largely “old world” palate to the tasting but, that said, is very active in the Asian market and is a co-producer of the definitive guide to the wines of France and has been involved in journalism around wine for longer than the absence of grey hair on his head. Thierry would you like to summarise your impressions of the classes that you really liked and in fact of South African wine? It’s your first visit?

TD Yes, my first visit. I used to taste wines for many years now and it was almost a professional fault to wait so long to come here. In Europe we have sometimes received ideas about New World wines, mainly in France. It was very interesting for me to taste all of these wines – I tasted maybe more than 300 wines in three days – because a lot of them have a real personality and a real balance. I think balance is the more important word when you talk about wine, because you are going to drink it with food and it’s very important to keep freshness in the mouth, to keep a real balance between alcohol, sugar, tannins and acidity. Most of them, not all but a good proportion, were very well-balanced wines and it was good and interesting for me to understand that.

If I go to the different categories I tasted, I was impressed, as Christian said, by the average quality of the Shiraz. Some were blockbuster wines with too much sugar, too much alcohol, but most of them were very strong but elegant wines, well-balanced and I think the three gold medals are very excellent Shiraz. I’m used to drinking Rhone Valley Syrah (we call that Syrah in French but it’s Shiraz) and they are very different wines. But your best Shiraz get a real personality between Old World and New World, between Barossa style and Rhone Valley style.

I was impressed too by the Pinot Noir. We tasted maybe thirty different Pinot Noir and some of them were very elegant, very fine. I think the gold medal is a perfect example of this very fine style. It was frankly a discovery for me. I didn’t think that you got such elegant Pinot Noir.

I was impressed too by some Muscat. I didn’t know anything about Muscat wines of South Africa, but most of them were excellent. The new ones as well as the museum types.

Just to finish a word about Pinotage. It’s of course a South African speciality. I think you have to be proud of that kind of wine. I found a lot of balanced Pinotage, good Pinotage. The only question for me – but it’s an important question – how can I match this kind of wine with food. It’s very difficult to find the answers. I think you have to think about that – matching PInotage and food. But you can be proud of these wines and it’s one part of the personality of South African wines.

MF Thanks very much indeed. As the microphone stops at Cathy and that’s not just opportunistic. You chaired a couple of panels and you certainly chaired the panel which deals with South Africa’s slightly unique Chenin Blanc. I’m not going to pre-empt what you have to say, but it was a class which contributed to the slightly late running of the Monday evening.

CvZ I had a really wonderful show this year. I got to taste most of the white categories. I think I only tasted Merlot with Debra and Gary and that came after an evening I spent telling people how, looking back over the number of years that I’ve judged – and I have judged for a number – the biggest impression I’ve taken away in recent years compared with early years, is that the quality of wine has definitely improved overall. In those early years I remember us throwing out perhaps one in five wines or one in seven wines because of faults and this year we struggled to find faults certainly on Monday and Tuesday of judging. As I said that was mainly whites and then unfortunately we hit the Merlot class and then struggled, but Debra and Gary have already spoken about that.

While we’re on the point of faults – and you can tell I’m steering away from the Chenin question – I’d like to bring the discussion to something Michael mentioned about James Halliday. The first year that I judged here, I judged as an associate and it was baptism of fire under James Halliday and his eyebrows. I do really believe that South Africans standards of wine have increased tremendously and I know there are winemakers out there who sometimes feel that there should be more trophies awarded, more gold awarded, more five stars awarded, more of everything awarded. I really concur with what James said to you and that is you’ve got to keep raising the bar. You can’t just expect everything to fall into your laps. If you don’t keep raising the bar, you’re just standing still. So thank you for reminding me about James’ point there.

Chenin Blanc,one of my favourite categories. I love South African Chenin. I also love Loire Chenin. One thing I always have to point out about South African Chenin is that you’re never going to find Loire Chenin in South Africa. As difficult as it is to get Pinot Noir or Burgundy to travel, you don’t find Burgundy in New Zealand – you find a New Zealand style of Pinot Noir. You don’t find Burgundy in California. A Burgundy-Pinot Noir is unique and similarly I believe that Chenin and the Loire is unique. You’re not going to find Savennieres in South Africa and you’re not going to find any of the other styles here. That said, I think South Africa is forging its own path in terms of Chenin. We have a wide variety of styles and the world should learn to appreciate them or we have to educate the world on what they’re offering.

Thierry and I often disagreed with Miguel on the styles of Chenin and I think we reached common ground. I know he wasn’t really fond of the tropical styles of Chenin. I too am looking for a lot more acidity. Talking about standards the time has also now come for South African Chenin to push the envelope, to stop relying on oak and to stop relying on sugar and try and up the fruit purity.

Is that enough on Chenin?

MF It’s interesting. The word “prevarication was mentioned by Fiona when you don’t “kom nou na die punt toe”. So since Miguel was on your panel, since Miguel said to me can he really tell it like it is, it’s time to pass the microphone to Miguel, not just about Chenin although I think there is a concern. There wasn’t a Chenin gold. We don’t get Chenin golds very often on the show. I’m not sure that all the serious Chenin producers necessarily enter the show as much as they might enter say the Chenin challenge, because the entry is certainly smaller. But there was a sense at the end of the day that they’d been looking for something that wasn’t there in the lineup they were dealing with.

Miguel would you like to talk about the Chenins as you saw them and your general comments about these and other wines.

MC Thank you Michael and good morning everyone. It was indeed a very interesting show where, compared to previous years, I have found it was much less arduous to go through the different wines, where there was a better integrity of fruit, there was better purity and certainly, as my colleagues have said here, quality is rising and there is indeed a very good foundation to see some really great wines coming from this country.

Talking about Chenin Blanc itself, it was a very strong class indeed and yet we did struggle to find a gold. There was not the purity of fruit, there were wines of complexity. However that was the positive side. The bottle-aged version was also very exciting where one always tends to believe that Chenin Blanc, especially from this part of the world, doesn’t age well. At five, six, seven years old they were absolutely beautiful.

On the negative side, talking about purity of fruit in Chenin Blanc and talking about sugar level and freshness, there were many Chenin Blanc where the acidity was not up to where we would expect it to be. There were quite a lot of them that were seriously dull and flabby. The other thing was where the purity was not there, there was the addition of aromatic varieties into it. Why? Is it a growing trend? I don’t know. But it is noticeable that either Viognier or Muscat are being added. If you’re selling a product like a Chenin Blanc, I believe a little more honesty is required on that side.

The second thing was the level of sugar. There you could see the level of sugar was seriously disjointed – you have low acidity, high sugar and it was not the natural sugar from the grape. You could see the sugar was added, So, it was disappointing to see some really great fruit, some good handling, but marred by this aspect. Also Muscat was very, very evident in the Chenin class.

Talking of the other categories where I was involved, Cabernet Franc was very exciting. Looking at what’s out there the purity, the whole extraction, very good handling of the oak. Secondly there is a future, yet I would perhaps like to see more of this grape Cabernet Franc that many of you are keeping perhaps for your top notch Bordeaux blend. So instead of using your Cabernet Franc to blend, I reckon it’s a varietal on its own that should be promoted in such a way that it adds another layer of innovation to the whole landscape of choices. So Cabernet Franc yes – keep doing what you’re doing. Reduce the oak, work on less extraction.

Then talking of Cabernet Franc, most of the Cabernet Sauvignon feedback was agreed by the panel. Having done the Cabernet Sauvignon last year what was interesting to see was there were one or two which were seriously interesting – there was lovely blackcurrant, there was an element of savouriness – but generally speaking it was a disappointing class. Last year I remember saying there was huge extraction. You’re trying to extract from those young vines or those delicate grapes features they don’t have. So the delicate fruit was either marred by over-oaking, or just the tannin was seriously coarse. It’s not really ideal and I doubt it will soften with time. Cabernet itself I reckon could be a much more interesting category and many of the young wines did show early or pre-natural browning on the rim, which is also a questionable thing when looking at the 2009 or even the 2010 vintage.

Last but not least I got Cabernet Sauvignon. There were quite a few wines that were overwhelmed with Shiraz. Why? It could be made from any grapes. I get a feeling there was no varietal in it which was not very exciting or inspiring.

On the other panel I was involved in the white blends was also very exciting, the classic white blends, Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc. Certainly there is a future. You could see the effort and all the hard work behind it. Certainly the work is starting to pay off. The colour in the white wines was certainly much brighter. It was really good. Again in the Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc blend, there were quite a few wines that showed aromatic character and then Muscat was prevalent. Why does that need to be added when you make so much effort to produce a classic Semillon/Sauvignon blend and you have a Muscat character in it? It does actually stand out when you have two classic glasses and one in the middle that actually has an aromatic lift to it.

I think I’ve said what I had to say. Thank you.

MF Thank you Miguel. Cathy you wanted to cross swords?

CvZ No, I didn’t want to cross swords but as per usual I’ve seen that I’ve missed something. I just wanted to say congratulations to Michael and Wine Magazine for a very worthwhile competition, now in its tenth year. I think you’ve done the industry proud and I did want to speak about Chardonnay, but I’m going to leave that to Neal.

MF Before we go to Neal I thought, after Miguel, the other panelist who is really in the on-consumption side of the industry is first-year judge, previously an associate, Francois Rautenbach. Francois would you pick up here. Firstly you come to this freshest of the local judges. Francois really added huge value to the panel so thank you very much indeed. But you see things from a slightly different perspective than say a writer. You’re in the business of actually seeing wine in the presence of its consumption and your clientele is probably more international than local.

FR Thank you Michael. It’s been a pleasure. It’s in particular interesting because I had to see both sides as a judge and it’s still overwhelmingly South African wines that we taste so the calibration opportunity is of huge advantage to everybody. I do however have the advantage of, pretty much six nights out of seven, hosting a wholly international group of people and showing and showcasing the best of South Africa. That as a learning opportunity is pretty unique and very special and something I treasure greatly, because it’s an interplay and a combination of what we’re proud of and noting and utilizing the information coming back.

This was an opportunity of seeing the very best of what the country has to offer and is particularly useful, because you can get that immediate overview. Some of the classes – for example Monday with Sauvignon Blanc – some of the time needed to get through the wines was because of that standard being much higher. One thing that came through to me in comparison with some of the other classes is that Sauvignon can be unforgiving if you don’t really pay attention in the vineyard and of course you need to spend the time in the cellar. But that’s just the nurturing component.

There is, however, still a significant need to put that into place in some of the other wines, where there is perhaps a thought process that there’s a little more forgiveness on which day you pick, what balling level you pick and how much or how little oak you use. Sauvignon Blanc’s not going to allow that and if we keep moving the same goal into those wines, it can only be an opportunity to keep raising the game.

Thanks very much.

MF Thank you. Everyone has I’m sure got questions. I have two panelists I haven’t asked. Ginette, will you take this and that does leave Neal having to think of all the things he was going to say that have been said by people before.

GdF There is a risk of repeating so I’ll try and keep it brief. The first time I was asked to judge I felt really privileged to be asked. It’s a competition that is arduous – like running a Triathlon or a decathlon in my opinion. It demands intense concentration and professionalism so I’m very pleased to have been serving on this competition for a number of years and I think one of the benefits of our industry for local judges is that we get to work with some of the top judges in the country which is always a learning experience and also with international judges. Sometimes it’s a wake-up call working with Sam Harrop and his tough call on faults was very informative for me. Each year one gains a different perspective, which can only feed into the work we do locally and help the feedback we can give producers and members of the trade that can benefit all of us going forward.

I chaired the Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon panel. A lot has been said. One of the things not mentioned was the concern - there are very few chancers in this competition. The industry takes it seriously and the best wines are put forward, but to have a 10.5gm/litre Cabernet Sauvignon entered was a surprise. I think it’s out of place. If that’s what going to get that wine some attention I feel rather sad. Cabernet Franc I judged two years ago. What was encouraging was to see the increase in the number of entries and their increase in standard. The same goes for Pinot Noir which is my personal love. What I would like to say there, particularly because there’s an increase in interest amongst consumers in its production – an increased number of entries here – is that we need to keep that bar raised all the time. It is visible in the last two years, particularly for me as a pinotphile is the intriguing ethereal quality rather than obvious fruit. I think that is something I would like to see us pursuing, rather than just relying again on very ripe fruit which might woo initially, but takes away the real class of Pinot.

What was disappointing for me was Port. I was very sad for Thierry as an international judge to have a small number of Ports with a standard which, on the whole, was not up to scratch for what I believe our country can produce. I’m surprised there weren’t more entries. When you’ve got two in a particular class of Port which are faulty it’s soul-destroying because this is the opportunity for an international judge to see how well we can do. I felt sad for that class. I would encourage people to work hard in the quality and also submitting where possible top quality in the Port category where we’ve always praised ourselves, but it was a disappointment.

I’ve always loved Muscat and we were very proud to see a great response from international and local judges. I don’t think there’s much more to say. I personally don’t like my Cabernet to taste like Shiraz either, or to detect Viognier in any red variety where I don’t think it belongs. Mintiness in Pinotage crept in which is possible but not something I applaud. Although the quality of Pinotage has also improved and I found not too much coffee/mocha style, although that’s a recognised style which has established itself, it wasn’t increased over the last few years. Thanks Michael.

MF Ginette, thank you. And now the challenge, Neal, to which I’m hoping you’re able to rise.

NM This is my first time to South Africa. Whenever I said to someone I was coming to South Africa the usual response was “I’m sorry to hear that” or “What did you do wrong?” I’m please to say that now I can say you have to start re-thinking about South African wine because I think there’s a lot of undiscovered gems here which really need to get around the world, go to the important critics, get into the top restaurants and go to people that think about the wine and don’t just go for the cheapest brand in the supermarket. I think there’s a lot I’ve discovered here that I’d really like to see spread around the world. Hopefully I’ll play my role in doing that.

Regarding some of the categories I covered, the Chardonnay – that was probably the most pleasing category for me. The two golds we found I felt were absolutely world class and they stood out a mile. I just had to smell it to know that’s going to be a fantastic Chardonnay. It raised the bar and raised my expectations of what South African Chardonnay can achieve. The one thing I would say is don’t forget Chardonnay tastes delicious. There’s a tendency to go towards aromatic varietals and those have their place, but don’t forget it tastes delicious and is easy to sell. Everybody loves it. That can be a real strong point for South Africa.

The Shiraz blend was a really interesting class for me with a wide variety of styles and made me think that maybe Grenache Is a grape that could find a real home in South Africa and could be exploited more with the climate. That could be a really promising opportunity in the future.

With regard to the Bordeaux blends I come from a Bordeaux background so I wasn’t comparing it to the first growths I was tasting a month ago in Bordeaux. Fortunately the South African wines don’t cost as much as a Bordeaux First Growths. The one thing I would say is I was looking for a little more freshness on the finish, a little more precision. Always a big thing for me is wanting to take another sip – that’s a crucial thing for me. Sometimes in a show environment, where you just have a small measure, you can be seduced and I always when I taste it ask myself if I could share a bottle of that wine with my wife and enjoy it from the first sip down to the end. I think that’s a very important. So some of those Bordeaux blends gave me the fruit but I just wanted a little less residual sugar, a little more dryness just on the finish just to make me want to keep drinking.

Corks – at the moment I get a lot of samples sent to my home from South Africa and I spend half my day trying to open corks on cheap South African white wine. Look at New Zealand – they’ve gone towards screwcaps. It’s great. Don’t be frightened of screwcaps. Consumers say at the beginning they want their wine with cork, but as soon as they start using screwcaps and the wines aren’t corked and are reliable, I think it’s a very good thing. Definitely for the white wines go screwcap.

Pinotage – I made this analogy last night. South Africans love Pinotage like English love fish and chips and we know that fish and chips is never going to be the top sashimi in Japan but we still love it and we’re still proud of it and we’ll always keep eating it. Just like Pinotage maybe it’s never going to be a Chateau Latour, but certainly there is a definite improvement which is good to see and it’s just a case of tackling the stigma that surrounds Pinotage and that is a case of going to the producer who aren’t making good Pinotage, giving them a slap on the wrist and telling them to sort it out.

That’s all I have to say. Thank you very much.

MF Neal, thanks very much. You see there’s always something to be said when everyone thought they’d deprived Neal of comments for the panel line-up. We have a room full of people. I hope that at one level we’ve been thought-provoking rather than definitive in answers, so this is a really good time to field some questions and we’ll taken questions, comments and interrogation from the floor.

Q There has been a school of thought in South Africa for some time that in a way we’re kind of relieved that not enough attention has been focused on South African wine because it’s given us time to sort ourselves out, but having listened to the comments my question is your perspective – I know you have tasted quite extensively Neal before you actually came out to South Africa – what is the role going forward for South African wine?

NM I think it’s probably a really good time to do a really good report on South Africa – and it has to be done now I think, because everything’s changing, its very dynamic and there’s nothing that gives me more pleasure than finding great wines in places where I think South Africa doesn’t get the credit it deserves internationally. The great thing about this competition is the strictness. It has to be a great wine. There’s enough good wines here for me to have a really strict criteria and say e.g. if Bordeaux become too expensive for you, consider a lot of really great South African Bordeaux blends. Having said that one thing I will say is just be careful price – it’s an international market, it’s extremely competitive, so just because you have a great flagship wine, look at what’s happening around the world. They are your competitors and somebody going in can choose a great Bordeaux blend from Hawkes Bay or go Chilean, so just bear that in mind. I think it’s a great time for a report.

MF More questions?

Q What was the panel’s feeling as regards to the coffee Pinotage.

CE Ginette mentioned that she thought there wasn’t too much of it in evidence. I certainly encountered a few examples that I thought had exaggerated coffee/ chocolate flavours and quite frankly we chucked them right out. It’s spooky wine and has no place in a competition like this.

MF Maybe it’s worth a quick review of how the scoring works: 60-69 is good commercial wine. So when Christian says they were chucked out, it means they landed up in that category.

CE They’re not faulty so they’re not going to be reflected as faulty, but they’re certainly not going to win a medal. What I would say, having done Shiraz as well, this coffee/mocha thing is not confined to Pinotage. If you think that’s the way to gain market share at the top end you’re deluding yourselves. I concede you have every right to make that style at a commercial end of the market but it ain’t going to cut it at the top end. It’s exaggerated, it’s contrived. It really doesn’t have a place at the top end of the market.

NM I just wanted to say I agree with Christian. If I want to go out and say South Africa is making world-class wines and there’s the coffee thing going on at the same time, it tarnishes the image of what’s happening here. I agree people have to make money and if people want to drink that style that’s great, but you need to think from the marketing perspective of differentiating that style with the pure South African wines.

COMMENT FROM FLOOR: I think it’s a question of where the focus is because in some of the big retailers there’s definitely a place in the South African market for the coffee/chocolate style. We have a huge emerging market which is not been that exposed to wine and this has been a very good vehicle for bringing that part of the market into an introduction to wine.

NM Just remember what happened in Germany with Liebfraumilch.

Q I ask a question for Debra on how valuable social media will be in Asia to help promote South African wine and if anyone would like to answer as far as the UK and France goes as well, but with Asia having a very different culture from ours is this an important part of it.

DEBRA I think it’s a wonderful question as I happen to love social media. It’s a great way of connecting people around the world and I think it can have unexpected consequences. It’s surprising the reach already with linked in Twitter, Facebook etc. I think the challenge in Asian with digital and social media is that China has a fairly restrictive policy so we are not allowed to use Twitter in China – we can in Hong Kong, we’re not allowed to use Facebook and we’re not allowed to use YouTube with some limitations. You can get them in the hotels in some of the international spaces, but the average person does not have access. But they have their own systems and I think the advantage of that if you on one of the top social media spaces you will be quite unique. I don’t think the rest of the world has tackled it yet. Your challenge is it’s all in Chinese. One of my concerns about that is that it’s somewhat limiting for China because it’s difficult to engage in international discussion. In Hong Kong Facebook has taken off, in fact we’re less active on Twitter than we are on Facebook. I also think there’s an opportunity there to get the labels out into our market place. But if you don’t mind may I speak a little bit about Asia in general.

I have of course been thinking about where is South Africa’s place in Asia and in fact there isn’t much of South Africa in Asia yet. I actually think that’s a good thing because I think the quality of the wine has improved such that there’s a real place for you in Asia. It’s definitely not Nirvana, it’s not an easy market. I presume you’ve heard we’re the largest wine auction market in the world, but we’re not an easy market yet. Some of my advice would be to carve out a name. I was thinking about the contradiction of Asia being a Red Wine World, so this is probably conflicting for us, but no-one has really carried out the Chenin space in the world and you’re the closest thing – other than the Loire – to making that happen. Although we don’t actually drink much white wine, it actually goes with our food so we should be.

So I would suggest that the region put out some hooks, some real ways to identify and I think make an impression. What’s always interesting to me is that the UK has always viewed on the whole South Africa as a supplier of inexpensive wine. We don’t have that impression in Asia – we don’t really know. I think there’s a real opportunity to go in and make a high impression of South African wine. You have some team mates out there – me, Simon Tam, Greg De’eb who’s a former Consul General of South Africa who moved into the largest storage business in Asia, so he’s a real fan as well. What I’d love to see is a real road show of top class producers.

I think one of the issues I’m seeing judging around the world is a lot of the winemakers entering the wine shows are entering your low-end wines. I just judged in London for two weeks and I said “Come on South Africa - where are your wines?”, because what I was tasting is not what I’ve tasted this week. So I would say be careful not to let your low-end producers create an impression for you around the world. Push your high-end people to get out – they’re your rock stars – give them a lot of support and encouragement. I know sometimes there’s some tension in wine industries. For the health of the industry get those ten people together and get them on a roadshow.

Lastly I just want to say if you are considering the Asian markets – I notice you’re all calling it the Far East – we call it Asia. It’s a very interesting, exciting market but for people intending to go in, go in with your eyes wide open. Look for people who will really support your brand, support the quality of South Africa. Please do not make the mistake California did which was to go in with some low-end global brands and they lost it, because they have such a nice domestic market they never thought to export their top goods. So please get your top goods into our markets now.

MF I’m just going to add one thing. I’ve spent quite a lot of time in Asia and my own experience is that South African wines are often priced above what we think are the international icons. You’ll see South African Sauvignon Blanc is more expensive than Cloudy Bay in Hong Kong, which means that the market hasn’t yet been driven to the trap that we now find ourselves in in the UK. I think that’s very important advice for producers. Inaccessibility can be dealt with. We talk about having to communicate in Chinese. I think I am a wine writer in Chinese, because I correspond regularly for one of the Chinese publications. It comes under my byline but I have no idea what it actually says. The point is it can be done. In other words instead of saying this is very difficult and what are people really saying about me, go out there, contract with the people who can do it, because it’s a market that really does offer opportunity, without the stratification that has already been imposed in many of the markets that appeared to us to be more accessible.

Fiona you have another question.

FMD Michael, this question’s for you. You started off by saying how well the museum class has done. Is there not a risk - looking back at the last ten to fifteen years – and seeing the change that South African wine has undergone that we are now looking back at South African wines and saying look how nice these are, look at how well they age and we have gone through that. Have we not changed the message?

MF You can ask Neal to answer that for the reason. He was part of that tasting on Sunday and put up a suggestion that I think is one that the industry has decided to take on. We had some museum class wines we were judging, but you saw the really older wines on Sunday.

NM When I got here I arrived, watched the football and went to this tasting of very old South African wines that were unique because they’re so rare. I have to say when we had the ’61 Pinotage it completely blew me away. It was as exciting as any extremely expensive wine I’ve had because it completely changed my perception and opened my mind. The month before I’d tasted half a dozen ’61 Bordeaux and it was just as enjoyable, if not more so than those. We had a half bottle of ’59 Zonnebloem. One of the things that was interesting was that a couple of people said where did we lose our way. If we can make that in ’61 why are we getting such bad press now, which I thought was really interesting. The winemakers were asking themselves how does that Pinotage age for 50 years and still taste so fresh. It was delicious. I think it’s important for South Africa to be considered to be a real world-class producing country, to have wines that do age is important. In the minds of the connoisseurs they’re not looking for wine that tastes nice for two years and then just falls apart.

TD I think tasting old wines it’s very important to understand the ability of a wine region to produce great wines. I was impressed too by the tasting of Sunday and this ’59 was absolutely wonderful. So I think you have to present a lot of old wines in these kinds of events or in a roadshow and it’s important.

MF Thank you Thierry. I’ve got an eye on the clock.

Q The question is if that is the history what do we do now about that perspective.

GJ What is interesting is that wines that are entered now in the museum class clearly have been given much more rigorous attention before being submitted and it’s nothing to say we didn’t make very good wine, but it was a very small percentage. What we’ve done is raised the overall game and from a property where we specialize in maturing wines, the key is you must trust your taste and keep that rigor. So just because it’s old it doesn’t make it good.

MF I have to say without trying to give the game away on results which I’ve only just had a chance to see because as the Chairman I have a casting vote at the trophy judging, so I’m kept in the dark until after the trophy judging. At least one of the museum class wines of today’s museum class won a trophy and was a gold medal winner three, four or five years ago on this show, which shows that that wine was well judged at the time and came back with what it takes to get a museum class score.

With the clock running, I firstly wanted to say thank you to everybody. Thank you to the producers who not only are here today, but the producers who see fit to participate in the show because it does bring together what we are doing in South Africa and puts it under a spotlight that is both local and international.

Thank you to Old Mutual without whose support this show could never take place. To the event partners and these are extensive but include American Express, Wine Magazine, Grand Roche, British Airways – all these people really do contribute not simply their brand to one of the many logos that appear somewhere in the document, but to how the show comes together.

To Celia Gillaway, Kate and the team who manage to make sure that the logistics run smoothly, to Janice and Alex from OutSorceress and Michael Crossley – all of whom in a sense manage not just the communication with you, but more importantly, manage me.

To the judges and to the Associate Judges who come along and put themselves through an exhausting and demanding process in the interests, not of gratifying their egos, but of producing a result that we’re all willing to stand behind. Thank you very much.

One important thought about results – there is more than just gold medals to a show. In other words it’s worth mining into the silvers and even into the bronzes to see who’s doing what in the industry and what they’re doing well at. Secondly, a thought that is equally important is that in a sense a show is a talent-scouting expedition. You would expect to find a couple of new names there because it’s a dynamic industry. There are 50-80 new producers coming into the industry every year and over time that changes the top ranking of an industry and a show should reflect the newcomers who are getting it right and who produce a result. By the same token, because it’s not a fashion industry in the end what produces good wine is place, rigor and method and the people who have been able to produce those wines should be there with the museum class winners and should be there pretty much year in and year out – and if there are sufficient of them they contribute credibility to the overall result. But if there are only the familiar names then we are not dynamic enough, we are not ringing the changes that are taking place. Having seen those results it was a really nice balance between the dynamism of the newcomers and the certainties that have come with the established names.

So that’s something to look forward to when the results are announced on 1 June. They’ll be up on the website mid-afternoon of that day.

Thank you all very much for joining us and we look forward to seeing the tweets including the snakes and the spiders that inevitably emerge in the course of a judging in deepest darkest Africa.