The Hospice du Rhône (HdR) “is globally regarded as the single most essential and enjoyable gathering of international Rhône wine producers and enthusiasts.” It takes place from April 29 – 1 May next year in Paso Robles, California, and SA will field a strong line-up. It sounds like Charles Back of Goats do Roam fame planned the event: winemakers compete for the “coat do Rhône” at a blind tasting “shoot out” and there is a Rhônely Hearts Club.
Next year’s meet features a seminar presented by six SA shiraz producers: “Boekenhoutskloof based in Franschoek [sic], SA, De Trafford based in Stellenbosh, SA, Mullineux Family Wines based in the Swartland, SA, Sadie Family based in the Swartland, SA, Stellenzicht based in Stellenbosch, SA and Tulbagh Mountain Vineyards based in the Tulbagh Valley, SA.” Although that number might be down to five after Stellenzicht’s Guy Webber admitted he will have to withdraw now that sponsorship by WOSA (Wines of SA, the exporters’ association) has been withdrawn. WOSA media liason André Morgenthal explained “we were originally going to sponsor a few individuals to serve on the panel, but the board decided it is not a wise approach. However, we are still covering costs for the wines to get there (tasting stock) and the wines to be served at lunch.”
While no-one doubts the quality of wines produced by this Rhône five/six, the line-up does raise a few eyebrows. For there is not a single producer in the Top Ten of WINE magazine’s Shiraz Challenge and all four Platter 2010 sighted five star Shiraz stunners are conspicuous by their absence. As is the top scoring wine at the Michelangelo International Wine Awards, the Rijks Private Cellar Shiraz 2004 which achieved the incredible score of 99.6 tasted blind by a panel of international judges. Surely the highest blind panel score in history. Likewise, the world’s best Shiraz pace the International Wine & Spirits Competition, the Eagle’s Nest 2007, is also AWOL.
HdR director Vicki Carroll explained “the producers for our seminar were included in a seminar proposal by Chris Mullineux from Mullineux Family Wines. We welcome all Rhone producers to participate in Hospice du Rhone. Interested Rhone producers can be in touch with our office via email for help with registering for participation in the tastings or other events or they may register on-line via our website – www.hospicedurhone.org.”
Hats off to Chris for proposing the panel and highlighting an important factor in the recent success of the Swartland appellation. Namely, the energy and charisma of producers like Chris and his dynamic wife Andrea (who will be showing the Tulbagh Mountain Vineyards wines) and Eben Sadie whose attractive personalities and passion are at least as persuasive as their wines.
Heavyweight Franschhoek producer La Motte was unaware of the HdR, but after passing on Vicki’s invitation, CEO Hein Koegelenberg immediately responded “La Motte will be interested to attend. We will apply immediately.” Adi Badenhorst (along with Warwick, the only SA red producers to feature in Jancis Robinson’s Christmas laundry list) has also been advised as will Thys Louw (Diemersdal) when he returns from honeymoon in the Seychelles. My plan is to let Piet Dreyer (Raka) out in Stanford know as well as Neville Dorrington (Rijks) at Saldanha. For if anyone wishes to assemble a posse of SA Rhône Rangers, Piet and Neville cannot be overlooked.
Thank you Neil!
I fully agree that we need to have the heavy weights if there is a presentation that will highlight the quality of SA.
Thank you for the opportunity to hopefully participate in the event.
We are not sure yet if they can accommodate us.
Enjoy your Xmas.
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I agree Neil! South African wine producers should be more proactive about taking the iniatiative to seek out events like this to promote their wines and South Africa, especially ahead of the World Cup. Bravo to the group who has.
WOSA should pay for Guy to take his wine to the USA. The alternative is to waste money on the likes of Tim Atkins and his holiday trips to visit his in-laws.
I agree! It is soooo typical of most of the South African wine producers to ‘decide to wake up late’ once their competition has done all the work!!
This is the 18th annual HdR gathering and it is shocking that the so called heavyweights have never taken the initiative of Chris & Andrea Mullineux to organize an actual workshop on behalf of South Africa. Oh, and has WOSA ever tried to do such a workshop at HdR?
Hoorah for some new blood in the SA wine industry!