Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Standard Bank to sponsor Chenin Blanc Assocation Top 10 Competition

This is richly deserved and long overdue - Chenin and Chenin blends our next big thing and international calling card.
Press release from Nicolette Waterford:

The Chenin Blanc Association of South Africa is proud to announce the signing of a three year sponsorship agreement with Standard Bank in support of a Top 10 Chenin Blanc Competition, to be known as the Standard Bank/Chenin Blanc Top Ten Challenge. The competition will be open to all Chenin Blanc Association members and entries open on 1 July 2014. An awards ceremony announcing the winners will take place on Wednesday 27 August at Delaire Graff Estate in Stellenbosch. 

The Chenin Blanc Association of South Africa represents around 100 premium South African Chenin Blanc producers.

The reward to the top 10 winners will be financial and specifically designed to reinforce the economic and social benefits to the workplace and workforce. Winners will receive R20 000 each and the money must be used to reinforce the economic and social benefits in the workplace and to the workforce. “We are proud of our association with Standard Bank because great partnerships make great business and we really look forward to making Chenin Blanc the iconic, quality, South African white wine grape” says Ken Forrester, Chenin Blanc Association Chairperson. 

“Standard Bank is always pleased to partner with key role players within South African business sectors that contribute significantly towards our economy. The South African Wine Industry Stats (SAWIS) shows that in 2012 we were the eighth largest wine producer in the world in terms of litres produced. The figures also show that around 320 million litres of wine were sold domestically, and 410 million litres were exported during 2012” says Nico Groenewald, Head of Agribusiness at Standard Bank.

“In line with this, it made sense for us to join forces with the Chenin Blanc Association in support of this initiative,” says Nico Groenewald. 

PS exports in 2013 were in excess of 500m litres

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Great Franschhoek Bonfire of the Pencils

Last year judges for the Wine Writer of the Year at the Franschhoek Literary Festival (FLF) decided no entries were good enough for the prize money.  John Maytham has again been appointed to judge at this year’s competition, despite some apparently unethical behaviour surrounding his judging during last year’s competition. 

We know, for example, (as do the FLF organisers) that:

-          During judging Mr. Maytham discussed the quality and quantity of entries with a long-standing wine writer from whom he solicited further entries;

-          Mr. Maytham later claimed he had a mandate from FLF organisers to conduct such discussions yet wrote in an email to this writer (after the above discussion but before it became publicly known) that “it would be inappropriate for one of the judges to comment on this matter in private”;

-          The wine writer in question wrote “Please, no mention to or discussion with FLF of my correspondence with John. If he wants to mention it that is his decision…about John discussing the entries with a senior long-standing wine writer could be interpreted as mentioning individual entries, rather than the overall number, which was the subject”. Mr Maytham believes the conversation was also about the quality of the writing. 

However Mr. Maytham may have been caught up in FLF’s incompetence or even – one for the conspiracy theorists - a sinister plot (the rest of the fest appears well run?):

-          FLF organisers rather resented the prize money of R25 000 (but given wine’s macro-economics can be regarded as modest);

-          FLF only invited a handful of writers to submit entries, excluding two of the previous winners, and our most highly regarded wine writer Michael Fridjhon, while two of the three have won international wine writing awards and the third has been short-listed (all of whom entered after a deadline extension, presumably at Mr Maytham’s request);  

-          Despite the presence of outside (paid for?) media and publicity professionals, the only wider solicitation of entries was a request to sponsor Sunday Times to forward the invitation to their two wine writers - specialist publications like Classic Wine were ignored;

-          None of the entrants were advised why one of the judges withdrew, nor of his replacement;

-          Until this year, FLF organisers have ignored suggestions to break down the prize money into different categories and expand on the meagre judging criteria;

-          A previous winner was given permission by FLF to submit a piece from the Classic Wine magazine published in late 2011 (dated December 2011-January 2012), despite the unmistakably clear stipulation that a submission had to be both written and published in 2012.  

-          The 2013 prize money apparently went to charitable causes in Franschhoek but no official announcement, to my knowledge, has been made in this regard.

I won’t be surprised if those writers who were particularly vitriolic (privately at least) in their criticism of last year’s events enter the competition again this year, anyway back to Bonfire of the Vanities.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

The AfrAsia Bank Cape Wine Auction Raises R7m for Education Charities

 Brainchild of Mike Ratcliffe, the auction beneficiaries include The Pebbles Project, The MAD Charity and The Click Foundation. Top bids came from Wendy Appelbaum and Charles Banks.

Lot 1 – The Saronsberg Lot – R55,000
Lot 2 – The Jordan Lot – R90,000
Lot 3 – The Groot Constantia Lot – R50,000
Lot 4 – The David Finlayson Lot – R125,000
Lot 5 – The Haskell Lot – R55,000
Lot 6 – The Iona Wines Lot – R110,000
Lot 7 – The Thelma Lot – R130,000
Lot 8 – The Waterford Lot – R160,000
Lot 9 – The Lanzerac Lot – R55,000
Lot 10 – The Ken Forrester FMC Lot – R75,000

John Adam's painting (at auction) raised R460K
Lot 11 – The Val De Vie Lot – R65,000
Lot 12 – The Moreson Lot – R80,000 (x2)
Lot 13 - The Idiom Indulgence Lots – R90,000
Lot 14 – The Paul Cluver Lot – R50,000
Lot 15 – The De Toren Lot – R160,000
Lot 16 – The La Motte Wine Estate & Francois Pienaar Lot – R300,000
Lot 17 – The Relais & Chateaux Ultimate Africa Experience Lot – R160,000
Lot 18 – The Boekenhoutskloof Lot – R130,000
Lot 19 – The Bartinney Wine & Beach Experience Lot – R120,000
Lot 20 – The Vrede En Lust Lot – R220,000
Lot 21 – The Glen Carlou Lot – R80,000
Lot 22 – The Meerlust Estate Lot – R150,000
Lot 23 – The Mullineux & Leeu Family Lot – R120,000
Lot 24 – The Kanonkop Lot – R80,000
Lot 25 – The Delaire Graff Lot – R120,000
Lot 26 – The Dalla Cia Winter Weekend Lot – R110,000
Lot 27 – The Creation Wines Escape to the Whale Coast Lot – R80,000
Lot 28 – The Cape Winemakers Guild Lot – R50,000
Lot 29 – The Villanfonte ‘First Decade of C’ & Large Format Experience – R180,000
Lot 30 – Eben Sadie’s Signature ‘Ammunition Crate’ Auction Lot – R340,000
Lot 31 – The Dylan Lewis Lot – R150,000
Lot 32 - The NY Magic Cape Classic Lot – R340,000
Lot 33 – The Le Quartier Francais Lot -R100 000
Lot 34 – The DeMorgenzon Wines & The Royal Portfolio Lot – R400,000
Lot 35 – The Ellerman House Lot – R260,000
Lot 36 – The Warwick Trilogy ‘Big Bottle’ Wine Spectator Top 100 Dinner Lot – R160,000
Lot 37 – The Klein Constantia & The Test Kitchen Lot – R220,000
Lot 38 – The Glenelly Estate Lot – R450,000
Lot 39 – The Mulderbosch Vineyards & Fable Mountain Vineyards American Dream Lot – R700,000
Lot 40 – Hamilton Russell Vineyards – R130,000

Total  R7 045 000

The Cape Wine Auction Trustees are Michael Jordaan, Ken Kinsey-Quick, Wendy Appelbaum, Siobhan Thompson and Michael Ratcliffe.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Glass by Lady May

Welcome to Glenelly

Glenelly's Lady May de Lencquesanig has commissioned a short film comparing glass with wine. Glass and wine share many attributes, both coming from poor soils, being created with heat, being liquid as their base nature and formed through the influence of man. Both can also be considered art forms in their own right.

Inspired by this and the Madame's affection for antique glass, the film was created as a fresh angle to introduce Glenelly to people, the estate sharing the same obsession for perfection as the glassmaker in the film. Like glass and wine, film is subjective and director Gavin Elder brought the piece together in a way that encourages each viewer to interpret their own version of the story, edited in black and white to give it a more timeless feel.David Cope penned the narrative. 
See links below, including a trailer and a link to the Glenelly YouTube channel which has individual videos for each of the wines. The film will be posted to the Glenelly website and the estate's importers/distributors worldwide will host their own screenings of the film. 
Glass - The Short Film

Glass - Trailer

Glenelly YouTube Channel: Wine Videos

Nederburg opens submissions for 40th Auction

Rare value will be recognised – and rewarded. That’s the promise from a panel of top local and international wine judges appointed to moderate entries to the 40th Nederburg Auction to be held on 12th & 13th September this year.

South African producers were invited this week to start submitting exclusive, rare wines of enduring quality in line with the demands of increasingly discerning buyers.

“The event was founded 40 years ago on what was to become one of the most iconic wines of our time – the Nederburg Edelkeur. Now, more than ever, we want to showcase wines of that ilk,” says Auction manager Dalene Steyn.

“That’s why we adjusted our judging criteria over the past three years. Our clients want iconic wines, whether beautifully matured vintages or rare and exclusive due to scarcity, and we’ve created the platform to help build those wine reputations, help our producers create those new heroes. And we’re getting there – through the smaller Auction volumes and more competitive bidding seen over the past three years,” she says.

Steyn says the 2013 Auction was significantly more successful thanks to the same sales turnover achieved with less than half the volumes of the previous year.

“This was remarkable, and we believe an absolute testament to the enduring quality of the wines submitted. Buyers respond positively to the perception of the rarity we offer. This is the direct result of an internationally representative judging palate.

“This year, our judges again have clear instructions to spot the jewels out there. That’s why we invite producers to submit those celebrity creations in their cellars – wines that will have the judges sit up and take notice.”

The 2014 panel consists of:

      • Tim Atkin MW, UK wine journalist and Master of Wine (MW), one of the most widely-read wine writers in the world;

      • David Clarke, former Sommeliers Australia executive director and Platter’s South African Wine Guide judge;

      • Ginette de Fleuriot Cape Wine Master (CWM), Bollinger Exceptional Wine Services Award head, Veritas and Platter’s judge and wine writer;

      • Richard Kershaw MW, former chef, winemaker and International Master of Wine;

      • Justin Knock MW, scientist, European-trained wine maker and boutique wine brand owner;

      • Fiona McDonald, former editor of Wine magazine, freelance wine writer and international wine judge;

      • Roland Peens, sommelier and wine retailer with Wine Cellar;

      • Jörg Pfutzner, internationally-trained sommelier, Wine Business Management graduate and wine lecturer;

      • Greg Sherwood MW, former wine marketing manager and now fine wine buyer for London-based Handford Wines;

      • Callie van Niekerk, Distell group manager for wines and experienced taster on various panels, and

      • Cathy van Zyl MW, international wine judge, chair of the Institute of Masters of Wine's education committee and associate editor of Platter's South African Wine Guide.

Auction judge Cathy van Zyl says there are undoubtedly South African wines developing icon status and, even though their numbers are few and prices high, they should still be marketed as the pinnacle of production. She says the Auction is one of a handful of fitting platforms to do so.

“To achieve iconic status among the worldwide group of serious collectors and connoisseurs, wines – no matter their origin – need to show consistency. Apart from positive wine reviews and guidance by global journalists and industry commentators, competition success over time goes a long way to demonstrate consistency, and plays a major role when it comes to establishing credentials.”

Steyn says the Auction turning 40 this year is an ideal opportunity for the industry to create a memorable milestone, both as an event and a platform to celebrate outstanding South African wines. “We have seen increasingly how discerning buyers are looking for really niche items. As Edelkeur led the way 40 years ago, these are the wines that will set future trends for standout status and prices,” she says.

Nederburg Auction 2014 - key dates:

      • 1 February: Submissions open at Nederburg Auction.
      • 25 February: Submissions close
      • 13 & 14 March: Panel selection tasting
      • 31 March: Results announced
      • 12 & 13 September: 40th annual Nederburg Auction

For further information visit Nederburg Auction website or send an email to info@nederburgauction.co.za.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Platter's 2014

Dove egg blue. Maybe.
Twas the Chenin show again with Chenin and White Blends (many with Chenin) out gunning Chard and Sauvvie. Shiraz also a strong category which chimes with Neal Martin's view of the Cape which is Chenin should be (is?) our signature grape and Cape Shiraz can compete with the best. 

Mullineux Family Wines capped off an incredible week by taking Winery of the Year and 4 x 5 star wines. 

Loved the Newton Johnson Windandsea Pinot 2012, pale colour with great balance, length, intensity and complexity.


Cabernet Franc
• Raats Family 2011
• Warwick 2010
Cabernet Sauvignon
• Boekenhoutskloof 2011
• Cederberg Five Generations 2011
• Ernie Els Proprietor’s 2011
• Neil Ellis Vineyard Selection 2010
• Stark-Condé Three Pines 2011
• Chateau Naudé Le Vin de François 2011
• Rijk’s Reserve 2009
• Spioenkop ‘1900’ 2012
Pinot Noir
• Newton Johnson Windansea 2012 (Red Wine of the Year)
• Newton Johnson Family Vineyards 2012
• Cederberg CWG Auction Reserve Teen die Hoog
• Eagles’ Nest 2010
• Fable Syrah 2011
• Hilton The Dalmatian 2010
• Mont Destin Destiny 2009
• Mullineux Family Schist Syrah 2011
• Mullineux Family Granite Syrah 2011
• Rust en Vrede Single Vineyard Syrah 2011
• Stark-Condé Three Pines Syrah 2011
• Saronsberg 2011
• Sijnn 2011
Red Blends
• Bouchard Finlayson Hannibal 2011
• Chamonix Troika 2011
• Delaire Graff Botmaskop 2011
• Eikendal Classique 2011
• Ken Forrester Three Halves 2009
• Thelema Rabelais 2009
• Windmeul Reserve Cape Blend 2012
• Chamonix Reserve 2012
• Hamilton Russell 2012
• Newton Johnson Family Vineyards 2012
• Richard Kershaw Elgin Clonal Selection 2012
Chenin Blanc
• Alheit Radio Lazarus 2012
• Beaumont Hope Marguerite 2012
• Botanica Old Vine 2012
• DeMorgenzon Reserve 2012
• Jean Daneel Signature 2012
• Kleine Zalze Family Reserve 2012
• Mullineux Family Schist 2012
• Opstal Carl Everson 2012
• Reyneke 2012
• Sadie Family Skurfberg 2012
• Stellenrust 48 Barrel Fermented 2012
Grenache Blanc
• The Foundry 2012
• AA Badenhorst Family CWG Auction Reserve White Grenache Vuilgoed 3 2012
• Simonsig CWG Auction Reserve The Russety
One 2012
Sauvignon Blanc
• Cederberg David Nieuwoudt Ghost Corner Wild
Ferment 2012
• Klein Constantia Perdeblokke 2012
• Kleine Zalze Family Reserve 2012
• Mulderbosch 1000 Miles 2012
• Tokara Walker Bay 2013
• Constantia Uitsig 2012
White Blends
• Cape Point Isliedh 2012
• Cederberg David Nieuwoudt Ghost Corner Bowline 2012
• David Aristargos 2012
• DeMorgenzon Maestro White 2012 (White Wine of the Year)
• Fable Jackal Bird 2012
• Fairview Nurok 2012
• Flagstone Treaty Tree Reserve 2011
• Nederburg Ingenuity 2012
• Nitida Coronata Integration 2012
• Rall 2012
• Reyneke Reserve White 2011
• Sadie Family Palladius 2011
• Tokara Director’s Reserve 2012
Méthode Cap Classique
• Klein Constantia Brut 2010
• Silverthorn The Green Man Blanc de Blancs 2010
Dessert Wine, Fortified
• Alvi’s Drift Muscat de Frontignan White 2010
Dessert Wine Unfortified
• Delheim Edelspatz Noble Late Harvest 2012
• Fleur du Cap Noble Late Harvest 2012
• KWV The Mentors Noble Late Harvest 2012
• Mullineux Family Straw Wine 2012
• Nederburg Eminence 2012
• Nederburg Edelkeur 2012
• Nederburg Winemaster’s Reserve Noble Late
Harvest 2012
• Axe Hill Cape Vintage 2011
• De Krans Cape Vintage Reserve 2011
• KWV Cape Tawny NV
• Boplaas Potstill 20 Years Brandy
• KWV 15 Year Old Alambic
• KWV 20 Year Old
• Oude Meester Souverein
• Van Ryn 12 Year Distillers Reserve
• Van Ryn 20 Year Collectors Reserve
• Van Ryn Au.Ra

extract from press release:

Of the five star awarded wines, the red and white which receive the most votes from the judging panel are named Platter’s Wines of the Year. This time the Red Wine Of The Year is Newton Johnson Windansea Pinot Noir 2012 (Wine of Origin Upper Hemel-en-Aarde Valley), described in the guide as “rich, fragrant, warmly sensuous”, while the White Wine Of The Year is DeMorgenzon Maestro White 2012 (Wine of Origin Stellenbosch), a blend of chenin blanc, roussanne, viognier and chardonnay noted as “perfectly balanced for delicious current drinking or keeping”.

In an ongoing focus on value for money, Platter's identifies a number of entry-level wines which are exceptionally drinkable and well priced. The best of these, like the five star candidates, go into a second round of blind tasting to select the Superquaffer of the Year. For the fourth time since Superquaffer inception in 2006, the ultra-easy sipper of the year is a chenin blanc: Boland Kelder Five Climates Chenin Blanc 2013 (Wine of Origin Paarl), praised in the guide as a “cracking crowd pleaser” and an “over-deliverer of note”.