Sunny Portugal didn’t live up to its name over the weekend of the 4th to 7th of May – when the annual Concours Mondial de Bruxelles wine competition was held in Guimaraes, a European capital of culture for 2012.
It was rainy and wet throughout but the 316 judges assembled from 48 countries were understanding as the northern part of Portugal (Guimaraes is about 40km northeast of Porto) has been in the grip of a drought and the rain was desperately needed.
Competition director Thomas Costenoble revealed that final entries stood at 8 397 wines and spirits from 52 countries. The results were announced on May 15 – with a total of 2 435 medals awarded. South Africa occupied sixth place on the overall medals table with 98 gongs behind France, Spain, Portugal, Italy and Chile.
South Africa was awarded six grand gold medals, 27 golds and 65 silvers overall. Grand golds are awarded to wines that score 95 points out of a possible 100 – and a panel of between five and seven judges have to be unanimous in awarding it that score.
The grand gold winners were Cirrus Syrah 2008, Cirrus Syrah 2009, Kleine Zalze Vineyard Selection Cabernet Sauvignon 2009, Savanha Naledi Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 from Spier and Cloof’s The Very Sexy Shiraz 2009. The sixth grand gold went to Distell’s Klipdrift Gold brandy.
There’s a distinctintly noticeable vintage success – with 2009 living up to its top billing as one of the greatest vintages in recent decades. Also interesting to note is how well Shiraz performed with three of the top five being made from the popular grape.