Saturday, October 2, 2010

Merging tale of two Auctions

While Nederburg reversed a 5-year downward trend by 41% last month the Cape Independent Winemakers Guild (CWG) auction today came off last year’s all time high – inevitably in tough economic conditions – by 25%.

With 139 buyers spending a total of R3, 867m on 39 wines spread over 19 different types and styles, this year’s auction offered great variety including a record number of 13 white wines which could be a growing trend if one considers that some of the reds displayed big alcohols with jammy notes while some felt that the most expensive wine – Bouchard Finlayson Pinot Noir 2007 (unfiltered) - was not without its faults.

Tighter selection of wines was one of the aspects Nederburg's Carina Gous singled out as attributing to their turnaround and one wonders if some lessons will be learned at this year's CWG auction.

Other top selling red wines were Dewaldt Heyns’ Saronsberg Die Erf Shiraz 2007 at R4 500 per case followed by Etienne Le Riche’s Le Riche Cabernet Sauvignon Auction Reserve 2006 at R3 800. Striking wines include Cederberg Teen die Hoog Shiraz 2008 for its New Zealand-type purity of fruit (from the highest vineyards in the land) and Villiera Mother Earth 2008 (Cabernet Franc) for balance, elegance and restraint so lacking in too many of the reds on auction.

The highest price for a case of white wine went to Gary Jordan’s Jordan Chardonnay Auction Reserve 2009 at R1 900, followed by David Nieuwoudt’s Cederberg Private Cellar Semillon 2010 at R1 800. Sadly this writer's first choice white - Nicky Versveld's The Yair 2009, a 52% Sauvignon and 48% Semillion blend of fruit from Tullie Vineyards - sold at lowest average price on auction! This wine displayed a delicious savouriness rarely found in a white and buyer's must be thrilled with the quality:price ratio. 

The only dessert wine, Adi Badenhorst’s Badenhorst Family Wines Kalmoesfontein Semillon Noble Late Harvest Volume 2 2008 (375ml bottles) fetched R2 600 (rated 90+ from USA’s Wine Spectator). The highest price for a Méthode Cap Classique was R1 200 for current CWG chairman Johan Malan’s Simonsig Cuvée Chêne Cap Classique 2004.

Over 80% of the wines were bought by 110 local buyers but the auction managed to attract 29 overseas buyers this year. At R644 600, Alan Pick of The Butcher Shop and Grill became top bidder for the 9th consecutive year. The biggest overseas buyers came from the United Kingdom followed by the Netherlands, Hong Kong, Belgium, Denmark, Namibia and Canada.

Every year a special charity item is auctioned off to raise funds for the Nedbank Cape Winemakers Guild Development Trust. This year’s item, a unique 12-litre bottle of wine comprising a blend of top 2007 vintage wines from all 41 members of the Cape Winemakers Guild, was purchased by Zdenek Lang of the Czech Republic for R16 000 which - with the proceeds of a silent auction – raised a total of R107 900 in aid of the Guild’s Development Trust.

 Zdenek Lang (R) with his 12lt purchase

Top selling red wines per 6-bottle case (or the equivalent thereof) *
Bouchard Finlayson Unfiltered Pinot Noir 2007 (1,5 litre bottles)       R5 100
Saronsberg Die Erf Shiraz 2007                                                        R4 500
Le Riche Cabernet Sauvignon Auction Reserve 2006                       R3 800
Kanonkop Paul Sauer 2007                                                                R3 700
Kanonkop Pinotage 2008                                                                    R3 400
Ernie Els CWG 2008                                                                          R3 400

Top selling white wines per 6-bottle case (or the equivalent thereof) *
Badenhorst Family Wines Kalmoesfontein Semillon
Noble Late harvest Volume 2 2008(375ml bottles)                            R2 600
Jordan Chardonnay Auction Reserve 2009                                        R1 900
Cederberg Private Cellar Semillon 2010                                            R1 800
Paul Cluver The Wagon Trail Chardonnay 2009                                R1 700
Steenberg Vineyards “The Magus” 2009                                            R1 600

Jonathan Snashall

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