A blind tasting of 39 of the lots on offer at the Cape Winemakers Guild Auction on 2 October and a copy of John Buchan’s Greenmantle, the follow-up to The 39 Steps, waiting for me in the post when I got home. Talk about synchronicity! I felt a little like Daniel entering the Lion’s Den when I crossed the threshold of the Pinelands HQ of WINE magazine for the tasting, for this was the first time I’d penetrated the inner sanctum of Pinelands Punditry that has made (or messed-up) so many proud vinous reputations. Heck Magica Roma restaurant even keeps a copy of WINE by the till to alert waitrons to important winos as I found out at lunchtime.
The only non-Platter pundit among five palates invited to participate by Christian Eedes, I was happy that not even vintages were vouchsafed: style (e.g. white blend, MCC) alone was listed. In an ideal world, it would have been educational to include a few non-auction wines in the line-up (such as the wines of Razvan Macici or Pieter Badenhorst, unlikely ever to be offered membership of the CWG for political reasons) as there was an unavoidable expectation of greatness in the lineup. We decided to score out of 100. As this is purely arbitrary and requires calibration, I shall simply list my top ten wines and attempt to give some reasons why I liked them.
1 AA Badenhorst Family Wines Kalmoesfontein Noble Late Harvest Volume 2 2008
Lavish, lush, super oily mouth feel, floral, honey and fresh acidity. The tradition of super quality SA dessert wines continues…
2 Cape Point Vineyards Auction Reserve White 2008
Burnished gold, oats and cereals on nose, rich tropical flavours (melons, oranges, apricots). A real tattybogler.
2 Paul Cluver The Wagon Trail Chardonnay 2009
Bright gold, classic white peach blossom nose, fresh, almost tart palate with flavours of ripe orange. Oozes class.
3 Rijk’s Private Cellar Auction Reserve Chenin Blanc 2009
Exotic floral nose, Japanese perfume and incense, elegant, broad spectrum of dried fruit flavours with remarkable length
3 De Grendel Amandelboord Sauvignon Blanc 2010
Very pale, intense grass, soft mouthfeel, some mint and gooseberries, very civilized.
3 Spier Merlot 2008
Dense and inky, quiet nose, savoury plums and olives on the palate with good intensity and length, needs time.
3 Kanonkop CWG Paul Sauer 2007
Classic Bdx nose (stones and flint), taut balance of wood and lively fruit and lingering finish.
3 Kaapzicht Cape Blend Auction Reserve 2007
Inky and dense, expensive wood on nose, dense and very intense small berry flavours, long finish.
3 Boplaas Auction Reserve Port 2008
Lively, fresh tropical fruits and raisins with well integrated spirit.
3 Villiera Shooting Star 2007
Golden straw, floral, racy acids, fine mousse, citrus tang, fresh apples (Granny Smith).