Chaired once more by Michael Fridjhon, this year’s Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show panel consisted of foreign judges Gerard Basset (OBE, master of wine and master sommelier from the UK); Véronique Drouhin-Boss (wine maker in France and in US); and Fongyee Walker (China’s best-known wine educator).
The South African judges were Christian Eedes (wine writer and blogger); Trizanne Barnard (wine maker, Trizanne Signature Wines); James Pietersen (head sommelier of Belthazar and Balducci restaurants); JD Pretorius (wine maker at Steenberg); Francois Rautenbach (head, Premier Wine Programme, Singita Lodges); and Cathy van Zyl MW (associate editor of Platter’s South African Wine Guide).
At the feedback session in Paarl, Walker said judging the chenin blanc class was “a real mind-blowing experience for me — to see the diversity of style and to see that so many different styles have been produced so well. It wasn’t all going down one road, but taking lots of different paths, but each of those paths produces medal-worthy wines at the end of it.”
Drouhin-Boss, who was last in South Africa six years ago, found the improvement in SA wines “amazing”.
“The use of oak is a lot smarter than it used to be,” she said. “We came across much less old-school heavily oaked chardonnay. There were very few of those, which was very nice. I thought the wines showed a lot of purity, which is not that easy to get.”
Pretorius concurred, noting: “The chardonnay is incredible. There are some really fine wines — very focused, very poised.”
Eedes summed up his experience of this year’s event as follows: “This is my eighth year of judging and there is a very definite sense of a growing maturity within the industry and a growth in sophistication. It is fantastic to observe and perhaps it’s to be expected. Judging coincided with 20 years of democracy and it’s well documented that post-apartheid, we’re better travelled and more open to what the rest of the world is doing and it is starting to show in our wines, which is great to see.”
• Fairbairn Capital Trophy for the Most Successful Producer Overall: KWV.
• Miele Trophy for Best Chardonnay, Old Mutual International Judges’ Trophy and Old Mutual Trophy for Best White Wine Overall: Mulderbosch Chardonnay 2013.
• Best Shiraz and Old Mutual Trophy for Best Red Wine Overall: Super Single Vineyards Mount Sutherland Syrah 2012.
• Old Mutual Trophy for Discovery of the Show (best value gold medallist): Baleia Bay Chardonnay 2013.
• Best Natural Sweet Dessert Wine: Nederburg Private Bin Eminence Noble Late Harvest Muscadel 2011.
• Harold Eedes Trophy for Best Chenin Blanc: KWV The Mentors Chenin Blanc 2013.
• Just Riesling Trophy for Best Riesling: Altydgedacht Weisser Riesling 2013.
• Nestlé Pure Life Trophy for Best Sauvignon Blanc: Delaire Graff Coastal Cuvée Sauvignon Blanc 2013.
• Tony Mossop Trophy for Best Cape Port: De Krans Cape Vintage Reserve 2011.
• American Express Trophy for Best Cabernet Sauvignon: Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon 2011.
• Grande Roche Trophy for Best White Blend: Steenberg Magna Carta Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2011.
• Riedel Trophy for Best Bordeaux-style Red Blend: Nederburg The Brew Master 2010.
• Old Mutual Trophy for Best Sparkling Wine: Table Bay MCC Blanc de Blancs NV (Ultra Liquors).
• Best Museum Class Fortified Wine and Best Museum Class Wine Overall: KWV White Muscadel Jerepigo 1968.
• Best Museum Class Chardonnay: Chamonix Chardonnay Reserve 2008.
• Best Museum Class Red Blend: KWV Roodeberg 1995.
• Best Pinotage: Spier 21 Gables Pinotage 2011.
• Best Semillon: KWV The Mentors Semillon 2013.
• Best Noble Late Harvest Dessert Wine: Delheim Edelspatz Noble Late Harvest 2013.
• Best Fortified Red Muscat: Orange River Cellars Red Muscadel 2012.
• Best Museum Class Unwooded Sauvignon Blanc: Highlands Road Sauvignon Blanc 2009.
• Best Museum Class Wooded Sauvignon Blanc: Bouchard Finlayson Sauvignon Blanc Reserve 2010.
• Best Museum Class Cabernet Sauvignon: Jakob’s Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 2006.
• Best Museum Class White Blend: Vergelegen ‘White’ 2009.
Other gold medallists:
• Anthonij Rupert Cape Of Good Hope Altima Sauvignon Blanc 2013
• Baleia Bay Chardonnay 2013
• Buitenverwachting Christine 2009
• Diemersfontein Woolworths Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2011
• Goedverwacht Maxim Cabernet Sauvignon 2011
• Iona Chardonnay 2013
• Kanu Kia-Ora Noble Late Harvest 2010
• Kleine Zalze Family Reserve Chenin Blanc 2013
• KWV Late Bottled Vintage Muscadel 1930
• Miles Mossop Wines Kika 2013
• Nederburg Private Bin D234 Sauvignon Blanc 2011
• Rijk’s Reserve Chenin Blanc 2009
• Saronsberg Provenance Shiraz 2012
• Spier Woolworths The Hutton Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2012
• Woolworths Reserve Syrah Radford Dale 2012
Source: BDLive – Penny Haw