Saturday, October 25, 2014

FNB Sauvignon Blanc Top 10 Awards Luncheon at Cassia on Nitida, Durbanville

It was quite a controversial list this year, both in the trade and in the media. No Sauvignons from Constantia, Durbanville or Elgin, three of our top Sauvignon areas and quite a few from Stellenbosch, much better known for its red wines, the heat not usually producing the quality expected. But then many farms these days are sourcing grapes from other cooler areas and the competition did produce some excellent Sauvignons. Three winning sauvignons that we like very much are the Cape Point made by Duncan Savage, The Infidel made by Hermit on the Hill Pieter de Waal and The Mentors by KWV.
This was held in Nitida’s very good conference hall, which has large windows that open right back to let the outside in, if the weather permits. And it did for the awards.
Before proceedings began, you could taste the top 20 wines in the anteroom
10 on one side, 10 on the other
Diemersdal had their Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc as a welcome drink
All the staff had very impressive Award aprons. They were very well trained and efficient
The new assistant wine maker at Cape Point Vineyards, Riandri Visser
Surita van der Westhuizen showed Longavi - a wine made in Chile by David Nieuwoudt of Cederberg, using grapes he bought and vinified there. The question on everyone’s lips was “how was a technically foreign wine eligible for the competition?”  “Because the competition rules did not prevent it", we were told . Apparently this loophole may well now be closed by the committee. It is a wine that we have tasted before and really liked; we did not identify it as origin South Africa, as it is very different. and it has won a double gold medal at Veritas
We were entertained by these two good musicians throughout the day
The girls chilling. Lynne is with Izele van Blerk of KWV and Shante Hutton, News editor of
Two tall winemakers having fun together. Duncan Savage of Cape Point Vineyards and Pieter de Waal of Hermit on the Hill. Both were subsequent winners in the top 10
The MC for the day was radio personality Johan Rademan of Radio Sonder Grense
Speech time
A Spoonbill on the edge of the lake that is next to the restaurant and conference facility
Our Amuse was a Gazpacho vodka shooter
The starter of seared tuna with a lemon and paprika aioli and a good pineapple salsa
Stephan Claassen, FNB Business Provincial Head: Western Cape . “Our acknowledgement of the Top 20 finalists aims to recognise the depth of wine-making talent we have in South Africa. The South African wine industry is an important contributor to economic growth and local producers continue to gain the respect of international markets as demonstrated through the sustainable rise in exports. We congratulate the Top 20 finalists on their achievement thus far”. FNB recently renewed their sponsorship of the competition, which is organised in conjunction with the Sauvignon Blanc Interest Group of South Africa (SBIG), for another three years
The trophies
Sauvignon Blanc Interest Group chairman Thys Louw says, “The results bears testimony to diversity. The winning wines, made with grapes originating from a broad range of producing areas including Darling, Cape Point and Stellenbosch, represent a plethora of Sauvignon Blanc styles and flavour profiles”
Christian Eedes, whose father Harold started this competition at Wine Magazine, with judge Winnie Bowman. Journalist Greg Landman of Country Life talks to Duncan Savage
The main course was tasty but rather tough duck with an orange sauce, which clashed a bit with the crisp flavours of sauvignon blanc. It was on a good rosti and came with beans wrapped in a piece of salt beef
Two mates in the Sauvignon world”. RG Botha from Kleine Zalze and Lukas Wentzel from Groote Post
Judge Charles Hopkins, cellarmaster at De Grendel, announces the top 10 winners
 They were, in alphabetical order:
  • Anura Sauvignon Blanc Reserve Unfiltered 2013
  • Boschendal Sauvignon Blanc Grand Vin Blanc 2014
  • Brampton Sauvignon Blanc 2014
  • Cape Point Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc Reserve 2013 (wooded)
  • Du Plevaux Private Collection Sauvignon Blanc 2014
  • Hermit on the Hill The Infidel Sauvignon Blanc 2012 (wooded)
  • KWV The Mentors Sauvignon Blanc (Darling) 2013
  • Nederburg Arnold Graue The Young Airhawk Sauvignon Blanc 2013 (wooded)
  • Spier 21 Gables Sauvignon Blanc 2013
  • Zevenwacht 360° Sauvignon Blanc 2013
Here are the winemakers with their awards
Dessert was a light Passion fruit baked cheesecake with an almond biscotti
© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2014

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