Thursday, March 12, 2015

The Taj Classic Wine Trophy Awards

This annual competition, where entered South African wines are judged by visiting and local French sommeliers and wine people, is always an interesting occasion which gives insight into what the French palate prefers. There were some very notable winners, some predictable, some not at all. Perhaps if more local farms entered, we might get a broader spectrum of wines in the competition? We believe that 200 wines were entered
The Award ceremony was held at the Taj Cape Town’s new five-star banqueting venue, The Reserve. Trophy winners, media, judges and distinguished guests attended and some tickets were sold to the public. The judges were Olivier Poels, editor and managing partner of La Revue du Vin de France and wine commentator for Europe 1 radio; Olivier Poussier, best sommelier in the world winner, wine consultant, writer and group sommelier of Lenôtre; Claude Gilois, well-known French wine writer, consultant and wine blogger; Thierry Germain, proprietor of Domaine des Roches Neuves, Saumur; Christophe Durand, Taj Classic Wine Trophy organizer and proprietor of Dorrance Wines; Tatiana Marcetteau, sommelier at Taj Cape Town; Stephane Duvernes, proprietor of wine distributor Les Chais St Laurent, Paris ; Germain Lehodey, sommelier of Mosaic restaurant; Xavier Didier, former sommelier at Tantris, Munich; Jerome Faure, corporate sommelier Constance Hotels and Resorts, Mauritius; and Todd Ramsey from Marram wine Importers, Canada
Bubbly and White Wine
·         Secret Cellar Blanc de Blanc MCC NV
·         Boutinot Mon Vieux Sauvignon Blanc 2014
·         Delaire Graff White Blend 2012
·         De Morgenzon Reserve Chenin Blanc 2014
·         Glen Carlou Chardonnay 2014
·         Hamilton Russell Vineyards Chardonnay 2014
Red Wine
·         Sumaridge Pinot Noir 2012
·         Groot Constantia Pinotage 2013
·         Chamonix Greywacke Pinotage 2012
·         Groot Constantia Cabernet Sauvignon 2012
·         Bellingham The Bernard Series Basket Press Syrah 2013
·         Boschkloof Epilogue Shiraz 2012
·         Groot Constantia Merlot 2013
·         Morgenster 2001
·         Webersburg Cabernet Sauvignon/ Merlot/ Petit Verdot          2011
·         Saronsberg Full Circle 2012

The prize for the Most Iconic Entry of 2015 was awarded to Groot Constantia and winemaker Boela Gerber walked away with a pair of new barriques sponsored by distinguished coopers Tonnellerie Claude Gillet and Tonnellerie Darnajou.
In addition, a local judging panel then decided which of the trophy winners presented the best overall value to patrons of the Taj Cape Town and readers of GQ South Africa.
·  Secret Cellar Blanc de Blanc MCC NV - R54.99 from Ultra
·  De Morgenzon Reserve Chenin Blanc 2014 - R225 on the farm Current release 2013
   Hamilton Russell Vineyards Chardonnay 2014 - R305 Current release 2013
·  Groot Constantia Merlot 2013 - R174 on the farm
·  Webersburg Cabernet Sauvignon/ Merlot/ Petit Verdot 2011 - R150 on the farm
   Saronsberg Full Circle 2012 - R341 at Caroline’s Fine Wines

The welcome outside the new venue The Reserve on St Georges Mall
Jeanri-Tine van Zyl in the impressive entrance. This used to be a city bank
Collecting name badges then a glass of something bubbly
Parma ham on melon canapés
It's a cool shade of lime green
Into the banqueting hall (It was the banking hall)
The selection of wines did give us clues as to what might have won awards. In fact, we could taste all of them with dinner
Michael Pownall, Taj Cape Town General Manager, chatting to Boela Gerber, winemaker at Groot Constantia
Christophe Durand, Taj Classic Wine Trophy organizer and proprietor of Dorrance Wines, opens proceedings
The menu
The yellowfin tuna tartare was beautifully creamy and buttery
Willem du Toit, Food and Beverage Director of the Taj Cape Town
Lots of guests tasting the wines and enjoying the food
A rather fatty lamb Wellington. Not sure which cut they used, but it wasn't the loin
Time to announce the awards
Germain Lehodey, sommelier of Mosaic restaurant talks about the judging
Dessert was an almond flour financier with granny smith apple and calvados sorbet. Very delicious
Georgie Prout collects the award for Glen Carlou Chardonnay 2014
Boela Gerber of Groot Constantia with his four impressive awards
Petit fours were passed around with coffee and we were still enjoying the wines
The Petit four tray
Gottfried Mocke received an award for his Chamonix Greywacke Pinotage 2012
Boela looking very happy at his stack of awards. Next to him is PRO Emile Joubert
Germain Lehodey and Michael Pownall
The Vault venue in the basement
© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2015

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