Posted on 13 June 2012 by davidbiggs
There’s nothing like a glass of rich port wine to warm the cockles on a chilly winter’s evening. And whether we’re allowed to call them “port” or not, the fact is that our South African port-style wines are as good as – and in some cases, better than – anything the Portuguese can offer.
This was the opinion of international wine judge, Dave Hughes, who headed the panel of judges (all masters of wine) that selected the Cape’s Top 10 ports.
For the first time this year the annual Cappa Port and Wine Challenge included a category for table wines made from Portuguese grape varieties like Touriga Nacional, Tinta Barocca and Souzao. To qualify for this category the wines had to contain at least 30% of a Portuguese variety. This class attracted a total of 21 entries.
As can be expected, the wines of Calitzdorp featured large on the list of winners.
Overall winner in the port section, with the title of “Best in Show,” was KWV’s Cape Tawny, while De Krans took the honours in the Cape Vintage Reserve category.
The Cape Vintage category attracted the most entries, and here gold medals went to De Krans Cape Vintage Reserve 2008, Calitzdorp Cape Vintage 2009, Boplaas Cape Vintage Reserve 2010, Boplaas Cape Vintage Reserve 2007, Bergsig 2001 and the Axe Hill Cape Vintage 2009.
In the Cape Ruby class top honours went to Boplaas Ruby non-vintage.
The Museum Class is always an interesting one, especially in a category like port, where ageing is accepted as an almost essntial part of the charm. This category is open to wines that are older than 10 years. Honours here were shared between the De Krans Cape Vintage 2002 and the Boplaas Cape Vintage Reserve 2001.
Top scorers in the table wine section were Boplaas Tinta Chocolat 2011 (made from Tinta Barocca), Overgaauw Touriga Nacional/ Cabernet blend 2010, Boplaas Tinta Barocca 2009, De Krans Tinta Mocha 2011, Vergenoegd Runner Duck Red 2009, Allesverloren Touriga Nacional 2009, Axe Hill Mochado 2011, Calitzdorp Touriga Nacional 2010 and Woolworths Boplaas Portuguese Connection 2011.
In line with the new naming regulations, the organization, formerly the South African Port Producers’ Association, SAPPA, is now calling itself the Cape Port Producers’ Association, CAPPA , which sounds to me rather like a Mafia connection, (Cappa Nostra?) but I am sure their intentions are benign.
I suspect I shall be drinking a significant number of their products in the chilly months ahead.
It’s a great way to cut down on electricity costs.
Posted on 12 October 2011 by davidbiggs
Top achievers group Front, from left to right: Margaux Nel (Boplaas), Duimpie Bayly (Veritas Chairman), Marlene Bester (Van Ryn), Kobus Gelderblom (KWV). Back, from left to right: Gerhard Swart (Flagstone), Abrie Beeslaar (Kanonkop), Jacques Bruwer (Bon Courage), Christo Pienaar (Nuy), Morne Vrey (Delaire Graff Estate), Frans Smit (Spier), Tariro Masayiti (Nederburg), Richard Rowe (KWV)
We tend to forget there was a time, not so long ago, when the KWV was regarded as the “Mafia” of the South African wine industry. Nobody was allowed to produce wine in South Africa without a KWV quota, and these were issued only to established wineries.
KWV wines were available only to quota holders and anybody who offered you a glass of KWV Roodeberg obviously had inside connections.
All that has changed, of course, and the KWV now competes in an open market with all our wine cellars. And obviously competes very successfully.
At this year’s Veritas Awards dinner, held in the CTICC in Cape Town recently, the KWV emerged unchallenged king of the evening.
The century-old Paarl cellar walked off with no fewer than five double-gold awards and nine golds – the biggest haul of gold medals ever achieved by a single cellar in the 21-year history of Veritas.
Nobody else came close to this achievement.
Other top-achieving cellars that harvested significant crops of gold included Boplaas Family Vineyards (3 double gold, 1 gold), Nederburg Wines (2 double gold, 9 gold), Nuy Wine Cellar (2 double gold, 7 gold), Distell Brandy (2 double gold, 6 gold), Bon Courage and Spier won 2 double gold and 5 gold medals each, Flagstone (2 double gold, 2 gold) and Kanonkop Wine Estate (2 double gold, 1 gold). Delaire Graff Estate also took home two double gold medals.
These are excellent achievements, bearing in mind that, of the 1739 entries received for the competition, only 42 won double golds and 158 scored double gold or gold medals – that’s little more than 10% of entries.
These very special wines will be on show around the country soon, and wine lovers all over will have the opportunity of tasting them closer to home.
Cape Town wine lovers will have the chance to taste them at the VOC Room in the Southern Sun Hotel in Strand Street on October 18 from 5pm to 8pm. Tickets cost R130 each.
In Johannesburg the wines will be available on October 26 in the Bill Gallagher Room of the Sandton Convention Centre – tickets cost R140. Wine lovers in Durban will get their chance on November 3 at the Function Room, Deloitte Head Office in Umhlanga – tickets are R100 each.
Details of the events in Port Elizabeth and Knysna can be obtained from the Details of the events in Port Elizabeth and Knysna can be obtained from the Veritas website, as can details of booking arrangements.
Photographs courtesy of Veritas
Posted on 17 May 2011 by davidbiggs
For some years now the Muscadel Producers’ Association have been trying to improve the image of the delicious fortified wines that are so typically South African.
Producers are urged to create packaging that shows off muscadel as an elegant, sun-kissed drink, rather than simply a high-alcohol bottle of booze.
I’d be delighted to hear from readers what sort of bottle shape you feel reflects the image we’d like to see for this charming drink. I’ll pass on your suggestions to the association.
Some producers, like Boplaas and Bon Courage, have opted for the short, tubby bottle often associated with port.
That’s a problem, some critics say. You look at it and think “port” instead of muscadel.
De Krans Muscadel comes in an elegant slope-shouldered bottle. Is this typical of the category?
Rietvallei and Rooiberg bottle their muscadels in beautifully slender, tall bottles, but how will the wine shop manager display these? They are too slender to stand upright safely, and will be lost if it they’re laid down. The danger is the store boss might simply stack them right on top of the shelves, where it will never be seen.
Unusually shaped bottles may be eye-catching, but will they fit into the normal wine rack? Will they require special machinery for filling and labeling?
What about labels? Should they be ornate or elegantly simple? Shiny or matt?
Then there’s the question of the ideal sized bottle for a muscadel.
These sweet dessert wines are usually sipped in small glasses at the end of a meal. Some enthusiasts (like myself) also enjoy them as tall summer drinks, served over crushed ice.
Should they be packaged in 500ml or 375ml bottles rather than the normal 750ml bottles?
I like a lot. A half bottle depresses me. Some people sip muscadel. I drink it.
If you have definite thoughts about muscadel and its packaging, please let me know and I’ll pass them on to the Muscadel Association.
It would be easiest to contact me by e-mail on email@example.com.
Or you can reply through the website.