Sunday, June 19, 2011

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.