The week or two delay in the onset of harvest locally worked to many a winemaker’s benefit this month. That extra 10 day or two week lag meant that they were able to attend the International Wine & Spirit Competition’s feedback tasting held at the Grande Roche hotel in Paarl.
Arrayed in ranks on long tables in the conference centre were all the South African wines which were adjudged trophy winners, best in class, gold or silver medallists. Additional appeal was added by the top table of international trophy winners brought in by competition director Frances Horder.
Early comers made a beeline for the top table to taste the best wines of the competition: NV Champagne (Cuvée Trianon, France), Single Vineyard White (Two Sisters Vineyard Riesling 2007, New Zealand), Sauvignon Blanc (Cono Sur 20 Barrels Ltd Edition 2010, Chile), Semillon (McGuigan Bin 9000 2006, Australia), Sherry (Harveys VORS Palo Cortado 30YO, Spain), Pinot Noir (Peregrine Pinot Noir 2009, New Zealand), Shiraz (Saltram No. 1 2002, Australia), Single Vineyard Red (Caape naturaliste Vineyard Torpedo Rocks Cabernet Merlot 2009, Australia), Cabernet Sauvignon (Trapiche Finca Las Palmas 2007, Argentina), Dessert wine (Jackson Triggs Okanagan Estate Proprietor’s Reserve Riesling Icewine 2007).
Hot ticket items were the two white wine trophy winners from SA – the Chardonnay trophy which went to Spier Private Collection 2009 and the Chenin Blanc trophy which was Kanu’s KCB 2007. Everyone had their own ideas about the merits of individual wines but it was great to see the interest from local winemakers. After all, so much of good winemaking is tasting – both your own wines as they progress through the various evolutionary stages and the competition’s, be it domestic or foreign!
Strong classes were the Sauvignon Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc blends, Bordeaux Style and Cabernet Sauvignon blends as well as the sweet wines with natural sweets such as Vin de Constance and Meerendal’s Chenin Blanc 2009, and noble late harvests such as Fleur du Cap’s 2010, Nederburg’s Edelkeur and Eminence not only faring well but being exceptionally popular among attendees.