Earlier today the Cape Winemakers Guild facilitated a blind tasting of the wines to be sold at this year’s auction by a group of local wine journalist, the venue being Nitida Cellars in Durbanville.
Those participating included Tim James of The Mail & Guardian and Grape.co.za, Angela Lloyd of Grape.co.za, Cathy Marston of Food24.com, Neil Pendock of the Sunday Times and me.
Each of us operated independently, which is to say there was no discussion. I used the 100-point scoring system and here is how I rated the wines along with tasting notes:
Méthode Cap Classique
Villiera Shooting Star Cap Classique Brut Chardonnay 2008
Fresh and elegant style. Clean, pure citrus fruit, invigorating acidity, fine mousse.
Graham Beck Non Plus Ultra 2005
82% Chardonnay, 18% Pinot Noir. Rich and full in style. Citrus, some yeasty notes, creamy mousse, tangy acidity.
Paul Cluver The Wagon Trail Chardonnay 2009
Impeccable. Citrus, citrus blossom and burnt matchstick on the nose; palate is pure and intensely flavoured, great line of acidity, oak perfectly judged.
Rijk’s CWG Chenin Blanc 2010
Great complexity. Citrus, spice and some leesy, wet wool notes. Tangy acidity lends balance before a long finish.
Flagstone Happy Hour 2009
57% Sauvignon Blanc, 29% Semillon, 14% Viognier. Grassy on nose and palate. Very rich and full. Intense flavour, good palate weight but remains focused, balanced.
Nitida Decorous Sauvignon Blanc 2010
Precise with range of flavour from lime to green melon. Juicy fruit, moderate acidity.
Nitida Aureus 2010
65% Sauvignon Blanc, 35% Semillon. Subtle and understated. Shy on the nose, tight on the palate but appears medium bodied, well balanced. Should reward bottle maturation.
Groot Constantia CWG White 2010
67% Semillon, 33% Sauvignon Blanc. Hint of oak on otherwise shy nose. Palate is full bodied with notes of tangerine, vanilla. Tangy acidity lends balance.
Jordan Chardonnay Auction Reserve 2010
Very expressive with citrus, peach, spice and some leesy aromas and flavours. Rich, full and sweet fruited with moderate acidity.
Steenberg The Magus 2010
100% Sauvignon Blanc. Dusty, herbaceous on the nose. Palate is lean with fresh acidity. Very dry on the finish.
Teddy Hall Wines Hendrik Biebouw Auction Reserve Chenin Blanc 2010
Shy nose. Range of flavour from citrus through peach. Sweet, rich and concentrated; well judged oak.
Ataraxia Chardonnay 2010
Super-ripe on nose and palate: notes of citrus, peach and apricot. Tangy acidity. Idiosyncratic and out of keeping with elegance of previous vintages.
Cape Point Vineyards Barrel Fermented Sauvignon Blanc 2010
90% Sauvignon Blanc, 10% Semillon. Ultra-ripe on the nose with notes of green melon, granadilla, pineapple and slight mercaptan character. Rich and full but balanced. Extravagant style.
Edgebaston Chardonnay Tete du Ciel 2009
Citrus, vanilla and lots of buttery character. Rich and smooth textured, good line of acidity. Well assembled but lacks true distinction.
Rijk’s CWG Pinotage 2009
Red berries, fynbos on the nose. Good fruit delineation, fresh acidity, fine tannins. Intensely flavoured, complex.
Waterford Estate 2005 Auction Reserve BB
80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Malbec, 10% Merlot. Red and black fruit, violets, attractive herbal note, oak spice. Medium to full bodied with fresh acidity, fine tannins. Elegant and classically styled.
De Trafford Sijnn Touriga Nacional 2009
Dark fruit as well as floral note on the nose. Huge intensity, concentration on the palate. Fresh acidity, firm but fine tannins. Long finish. Appears very youthful.
Ernie Els CWG 2009
60% Cabernet Sauvigon, 20% Merlot, 10% Shiraz. Dark fruit, pencil shavings on the nose. Great focus and fruit purity, fresh acidity, fine tannins. Medium to full bodied, elegant with a long finish.
Hartenberg Estate Auction Shiraz 2009
Red and black fruit, fynbos, attractive oak. Full but balanced; fresh acidity and firm but fine tannins; long, dry finish.
Overgaauw D.C. Classic 2009
78% Merlot, 22% Cabernet Sauvigon. Dark fruit, some fynbos. Rich and full but balanced by bright acidity. Pleasing savoury notes. Tannins somewhat angular, hard but classical styling generally appeals.
The Guildsman 2009
81% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Shiraz, 2% Malbec, 2% Mourvèdre, 1% Cabernet Franc, 1% Petit Verdot. Red cherry on nose and palate. Medium bodied with fresh acidity, fine tannins (oak well judged). Long, dry finish.
De Grendel Op die Berg Pinot Noir 2010
Red and black fruit, some varietal perfume, attractive oak. Medium bodied with fresh acidity, fine tannins. Elegant and balanced.
Groot Constantia CWG Shiraz 2009
Dark fruit, some reduction. Clean and pure with good intensity of flavour. Fresh acidity, firm but fine tannins. Long, dry finish.
Le Riche Cabernet Sauvignon Auction Reserve 2008
Attractive oak spice on otherwise shy nose. Succulent dark fruit, bright acidity, firm but fine tannins. Very appealing.
Spier Merlot 2009
Ultra-ripe dark fruit, vanilla, hint of mint on the nose. Intense dark fruit, densely packed tannins, fresh acidity. Rich and powerful, a real blockbuster.
Spier Pinotage 2009
Shy nose while palate is medium bodied with good fruit delineation, fresh acidity, fine tannins. Red cherry and spice flavours.
Waterford Estate 2009 Auction Reserve BB
75% Cabernet Sauvigon, 25% Merlot. Another blockbuster. Tarry, toasty notes on otherwise shy nose. Dark fruit, moderate acidity, firm tannins. Huge intensity, concentration.
Kleine Zalze Granite Selection Cabernet Sauvignon 2009
Red and black fruit, hint of mint, pencil shavings on the nose and palate. Well balanced with layers of flavour, fine tannins and fresh acidity. Green note will trouble some.
Vriesenhof Pinot Noir Clone 777 2009
Red cherry on nose and palate. Clean and pure with bright to the point of tart acidity and well judged oak.
Cederberg Teen Die Hoog Shiraz 2009
Ultra-ripe dark fruit on nose and palate. Appears sweet on entry. Rich and full bodied, smooth textured with moderate acidity.
Grangehurst Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2006
Red and black fruit, fynbos and some pleasing development. Medium bodied, fresh before a savoury finish. Ready to drink.
Hartenberg Loam Hill Merlot 2009
86% Merlot, 9% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Malbec. Dark fruit, pencil shavings, some mocha. Rich and full with fresh acidity and firm tannins – quite drying on the finish. Demanding.
Jordan Sophia 2008
44% Cabernet Sauvignon, 44% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Franc. Cassis, some herbal character on nose and palate. Fresh acidity, fine tannins – somewhat lean and green.
Louis Rebel Rebel 2009
80% Cabetnet Sauvignon, 20% Shiraz. Nose shows toasty oak, some reduction. Sweet, rich and full on the palate. Smooth textured, rather drying on the finish.
De Trafford Perspective 2008
50% Cabernet Franc, 25 Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot. Very fragrant on the nose. Red fruit, vanilla, intense spice on the palate. Medium bodied with good freshness but appears somewhat confected overall.
Simonsig Pick of the Bunch Pinotage 2009
Prominent oak as well as red fruit on the nose and palate. Sweet, rich and full. Broad in structure, smooth in texture.
Saronsberg Die Erf Grenache 2010
87% Grenache, 13% Shiraz. Ripe dark fruit, fynbos on nose and palate. Rich and full with moderate acidity. Appears sweet and smooth textured.
Haskell The Expatriate 2009
51% Cabernet Sauvignon, 49% Shiraz. Ripe red and black fruit on nose and palate. Broad structured with somewhat coarse tannins before savoury finish. Rather rustic in style.
Kanonkop CWG Paul Sauer 2008
69% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Cabernet Franc, 9% Merlot. Red and black fruit and some reductive character on nose and palate. Fresh acidity, fine tannins but relatively lacking in concentration.
Louis Turtles All the Way Down 2009
100% Cabernet Sauvignon. Ripe dark fruit on nose and palate. Sweet on entry, moderate acidity, soft tannins. Relatively lacking in distinction, complexity.
Luddite “The Reserve” Shiraz 2008
Shy nose. Sweet red and black fruit, vanilla, milk chocolate. Rich and full with moderate acidity, soft tannins.
Paul Cluver CWG Pinot Noir 2010
Troublesome reductive note as well as red cherry, spice aromas and flavours. Medium bodied, elegant with fresh acidity and fine tannins.
Rust en Vrede Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2009
Ripe dark fruit, vanilla on the nose. Sweet on entry before tart acidity. Good concentration but drying on finish. All a bit ungainly.
Boschkloof CWG Conclusion 2007
55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 21% Cabernet Franc, 20% Merlot, 4% Petit Verdot. Ultra-ripe dark fruit, some herbal character on nose and palate. Rich and smooth textured, drying on finish. Lacks definition, focus.
Bouchard Finlayson Pinot Noir 2009
Ultra-ripe dark fruit, toasty oak. Hugely concentrated with firm tannins. Lacks charm.
Kaapzicht CWG Pinotage Reserve 2007
Reductive/vegetal as well as some developed notes on nose and palate. Big and bold, moderate acidity, oak sits apart. Green note persists throughout.
Kanonkop CWG Pinotage 2009
Ripe plums, medium bodied, smooth textured.
Luddite The Chosen One 2008
92% Shiraz, 8% Cabernet Sauvignon. Coffee on nose and palate. Sweet red and black fruit, moderate acidity but oak dominates.
Kaapzicht Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot Auction Reserve 2007
80% Cabernet Sauvigon, 20% Merlot. Oxidised on nose. Sweet dark fruit, evolved tannins, short finish. Past best.
Graham Beck Three Thousand and One Nights 2001
Floral on nose. Very ripe, rich and concentrated. Moderate acidity.
Boplaas Cape Vintage CWG Auction Reserve 2006
Dark fruit on nose and palate. Focused and pure with spirit addition well handled. Very primary but shows promise.
The Boplaas CWG Auction Potstill Brandy 10 year old was also shown today but coming after 50 table wines, I’d prefer not to give it a rating. Wines to be sold at auction but not submitted for tasting: Boekenhoutskloof Syrah Auction Reserve 2009, De Grendel Amandelboord Sauvignon Blanc 2010, Neil Ellis Rodanos 2007.
Date of auction: Saturday, 1 October 2011.