Friday, September 21, 2018

Cape Wine 2018 - Seminars and special tastings

One of our preferred things to do at a large wine Expo like Cape Wine or Vinexpo is to attend seminars. Just walking around talking to people on stands is useful and sometimes informative, but can be exhausting. And you always learn something at these seminars. There was a good programme of them at this year's Cape Wine and we managed to attend a couple
Sessions in this area were 30 minutes long and could be attended on a first come, first served basis
12:00-12:30 ‘Test your knowledge’ blind tasting pitting SA against others
14:00-14:30 W.O. Cape Town
15:30-16:00 Focusing on Bio-dynamic and Organic wine farming in South Africa
11:00-11:30 Cape Site Specific Wines
12:30-13:00 Taking a look at Cinsault
14:00-14:30 "Qui si parla anche l’Italiano" - Here we also speak some Italian.
15:30-16:00 New/unusual varietals
11:00-11:30 The colour of wine – How our industry is changing
14:00-14:30 ‘Finding the sweet spot’ – Celebrating the history of SA sweet/fortifieds
15:30-16:00 Amorim MCC showcase

This was the first one we attended/ The Cape Town Wines appellation demarcation had come into effect on the 26th of May in 2017 but many of us had not really understood the motivation for this. We now see that it is a very good marketing tool when selling wines overseas. This is the new modern and innovative logo, pulling the two closest but quite disparate wine areas together as wines being "In the shadow of Table Mountain". This iconic and classic symbol of Cape Town is internationally recognised and now reflects our dynamic and beautiful city in a modern and contemporary way
The seminar topic was presented by Bennie Howard, CWM, Marketing manager of Meerendal, who was one of the original motivators, along with Albert Gerber of Durbanville Hills and Bernhard Veller of Nitída. They pulled in the Constantia, Durbanville and Cape Town wineries and got their demarcation accredited after a lot of hard work, persuasion and paperwork
We tasted the wines while we listened and watched the slide show
This makes one already recognised iconic brand, Cape Town, known globally and seen as a top international tourist destination, into a Wine of Origin district, rather than working with the difficulty of marketing separate and relatively unknown areas. Geographic Origin is the common characteristic of the areas
The Amorim Speakers Corner Seminar area
To quote Joaquim Sá of Amorim Cork, it is good to give back something to the wine industry
Some of the motivation was based on consumer studies from RSA, China, USA and the UK
as to who the target market of visitors, locals and wine purchasers would be
Many people attending the seminars were overseas buyers and trade
The area is within easy reach of locals and visitors, especially those with a short time here. And using the new encompassing local identity will aid marketing when at wine shows overseas. The areas will still have their own unique identities, but by grouping them they have been given marketing strength
These were the wines we tasted and they gave a good impression
of the variety and quality that the area can produce
The second seminar we attended was on Day Two of Cape Wine. Titled: Taking a look at Cinsault. Francois Bezuidenhout CWM started it off. We have been impressed with how this grape is being used now, often as a single varietal rather than a blending grape, as it was in the past. Often, the vines are very old and mature and they are producing wines that are soft with light, sweet fruit, gentle tannins and with lighter colour. Some can even be mistaken for gentle Pinot Noirs. People are asking if this was the grape that has managed to keep some of our older red wines so lively? It was a significant component of red blends in earlier times
Another busy seminar
The wines we tasted. It was quite an interesting selection; some of these were quite tough and closed, with acidity and strong tannins present, more in the Bordeaux style than the Rhône, where this grape does so well. They obviously need lots more time and some do not have quite the character of the gentle Cinsaults that we are beginning to love. Others in the group are heading in that direction
There are some really good labels
This is Nieuwe Haarlem from the Cape Wine Company, who buy in their grapes
from the Piekenierskloof. It reminded us of an Italian Nebbiolo
Kaapzicht's Skuinsberg Bush Vine Cinsaut from Bottelary has sweet fruit
on the nose and quite dark, sour, sweet fruit on the palate
Twyfeling 2016 Bush Vine from Bosman in Wellington. This is from their experimental range.
Darker cherry berry fruit with some nougat, nuts and vanilla; very appealing
Sweet fruit with sour sweet cherries and long flavours. Needs time
Eenzaamheid (Unity) 2017 is from Paarl. They use very old barrels
for 3 months maturation and add some tartaric acid. Good fruit on the nose,
red berries and cassis with sweet and sour fruit; chalky, chewy tannins
The wine made by the Elsenberg Wine College students was very good on the nose, with those rose petals that make it resemble good Pinot Noir but, on the palate, rather grippy tannins and some sour cherry berries
The Old Vines Cinsault made by Ian Naudé. Perfumed with roses, it is a bit lactic, tight on the palate with grippy tannins, and lots of fruit acidity. Needs time
Zakkie Bester, a well-known wine personality who, as proud Swartlander, can trace his roots back to his ancestor Andreas Bester who settled in Malmesbury in the 1700s.​ Zakkie and his wife Sandra live in Riebeek Kasteel
Carel Nel CWM from Boplaas in Calitzdorp
Jano Briers Louw
Ian Naude
This was a queue for another seminar which unfortunately clashed with what we were doing that afternoon
This was the programme
10:30-11:30 Theme: Old Vines
14:00-15:00 Theme: The Ageability of SA White Wines
10:30-11:30 Theme: Climate Change
14:00-15:00 Theme: Young Guns – Reloaded

And then there was a chance to test our palates along with other members of the wine industry, such as wine makers, buyers, sommeliers, media and even Wine Masters and try to win a week in Burgundy by booking a place on the Piwosa Flight Club. Piwosa stands for Premium Independent Wineries of South Africa
Lynne "Checking In" at the first flight. It was a mad, very fast tasting. Five flights of wine to taste in five minutes per varietal, One minute per wine - the object being to recognise the French wine in the group on each table, as distinct from the other four wines which were South African. We had to start at the Shiraz table, as the tables were staggered and we found that tasting red wines - some of which were quite harsh and tannic, really stripped our palates, so the whites which followed were a bit difficult
The flight categories were Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir Shiraz, and Bordeaux Blends. Then, if you still had the stamina, you could join the Mile High Club and have the chance to win another week in Bordeaux. All you had to do was taste 6 wines and name the varietals or blends. They made it very difficult, of course. These wines were later revealed as
Wine 1 - Sauvignon Blanc
Wine 2 - Roussanne
Wine 3 - Cabernet Franc
Wine 4 - Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Malbec, Petit Verdot
Wine 5 - Barbera
Wine 6 - Syrah, Carignan, Cinsault, Grenache, Mourvedre, Viognier
Sadly, in Cape Town, there were no prizes won, although some excellent tasters did come very close. Apparently so far, internationally, only one person has succeeded and that was a sommelier from Malaysia. We can understand why!
The wines were served by these helpful stewardesses. We are proud to say that we did recognise some, but not enough to come close
The Friday Seminars
An area we really liked was this tasting area on the side of the main exhibition. The wines had been chosen specifically and you could taste them at will. The wine categories were changed at mid-day.. So if you wanted to know which stand to visit you could taste say, the Pinots and or Chardonnays and then head off to find the farms that made them
This free-pour wine tasting area would allow you to explore a wide range of themes, varieties and regions highlighting top quality wines, across 18 specified areas. A total of 240 wines will be poured in this tasting area housed within the exhibition hall. Taste and compare in one visit, without interruption. Expert sommeliers from the Black Cellar Club (BLACC) will be on hand to assist you and answer your questions. There were two set time slots – one each in the morning and afternoon, as indicated
10:00 - 13:00 DAILY -VARIETALS
Chenin Blanc
Sauvignon Blanc
Cabernet Sauvignon
Pinot Noir
Cabernet Franc
14:00 - 17:00 DAILY THEMES
Cape Blends
Unusual varietals / New varietals
Sweeties / Fortifieds
Award-winning reds
Award-winning whites
There was also a help yourself table for the bubblies and it was very popular. We applaud WOSA for coming up with this clever idea of introducing wines to people who perhaps were not familiar with South African wines and the variety and quality

No comments: