2013 CWG Auction wines rated

By , 15 August 2013



Decent kit.

Decent kit.

The 29th annual Cape Winemakers Guild Auction takes place at Spier in Stellenbosch on Saturday, 5 October. There are 58 wines on auction, specifically 35 reds, 18 whites, two Méthode Cap Classique, one sweet wine, a Port and a potstill brandy making up the tally of 3 184 cases (6 x 750ml case equivalent). This compares to 52 wines and 667 cases less last year.

Earlier today a blind tasting of the line-up and my general observation would be that all credit must go to the Guild for adopting a less draconian selection policy a few years back because we are starting to see a much more varied and interesting line-up of wines. Here are the wines I rated 90 points or higher:

Ernie Els CWG 2011
60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Shiraz, 10% Merlot. Black berries, liquorice, crushed herbs. Excellent concentration, bright acidity, wonderful structure. Dense core of fruit, plenty of tannic grip. Modern but entirely accomplished.

Paul Cluver Wagon Trail Chardonnay 2012
Citrus and some leesy complexity on the nose. Good concentration, riveting acidity. Layers of flavour, ssavoury rather than sweet.
Tokara Tribute 2012
50% Sauvignon Blanc, 50% Semillon. Citrus blossom on the nose. Peach but also a briny quality on the palate. Rich and textured but not heavy before a long, dry finish. Really intriguing.

Boplaas Ox Wagon 1880 Auction Reserve Potstill Brandy               
Very fragrant with notes of citrus, peach, apricot and potpourri. Also subtle vanilla and spice. Clean, light and dry.

Rijk’s CWG Chenin Blanc 2012
Citrus and peach, subtle vanilla and some burnt matchstick. Great concentration and tangy acidity, good length. A seamless wine which shows careful winemaking.

AA Badenhorst Family Wines Grenache Gris Vuilgoed 3 2012
Shy on the nose while the palate shows vague peach character but this wine really isn’t about primary flavour. Broad without being weighty, savoury rather than sweet.  Subtle earthy quality. Very satisfying.

Cederberg Teen Die Hoog Shiraz 2011
Red and black fruit, some spice. Good concentration, fresh acidity, dry finish. Rich but has real poise.

John Loubser Thirteen 2011
50% Sauvingnon Blanc, 50% Semillon. Lime and green melon before some white pepper on the finish. Great concentration, driving acidity. Still got ages to go.

Neil Ellis Auction Reserve 2011
75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Shiraz. Optimally ripe dark fruit on the nose and palate. Good concentration, fresh acidity, firm but fine tannins. Seamless and still very primary.

Simonsig “The Russety One” Roussanne 2012
Peach and a touch of spice on the nose and palate. Moderate acidity and a little phenolic grip. Plenty of interest.

Vriesenhof Cabernet Sauvignon 2007
Dark fruit plus some more savoury, developed character. Classically styled with good concentration and bright acidity before a pleasantly austere finish. Excellent balance.

Waterford Estate 2009 Auction Reserve 2BB
53% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot, 14% Cabernet Franc. Red and black fruit, subtle crushed herbs and earthy notes. Sweet-fruited and fresh with nicely grippy tannins – really well balanced.

Rijk’s CWG Shiraz 2011
Dark fruit and some fynbos on the nose. Rich and full but balanced – lovely acidity. All about reined-in power.

Spier Auction Reserve Frans K Smit 2010
40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 37% Merlot, 23% Cabernet Franc. Brooding nose – dark fruit and attractive oak. Rich and full but balanced – intense fruit, bright acidity, firm but fine tannins. An imposing wine.

Teddy Hall Maria van Swaanswijk Chardonnay Auction Reserve 2012
Citrus and some intriguing yeasty, leesy notes. Medium bodied yet very flavourful. Nice bright acidity and a savoury finish.

Villiera Meteor Cap Classique 2008
Subtle brioche on the nose. Wonderfully subtle, almost ethereal palate – no overt fruit, nervy acidity and a very fine mousse.

Beyerskloof Traildust Pinotage 2011
Red and black cherries plus a savoury edge. Medium bodied with nicely sour acidity. Has a rustic charm about it.

De Grendel Wooded Sauvignon Blanc 2013
Lime on the nose and palate. Pure and focused with a great line of acidity. Long, dry finish.

Groot Constantia Auction Reserve Shiraz 2010
Red and black fruit, intense spice. A well-judged wine which appears medium bodied and nicely balanced.

Hermanuspietersfontein Vloekskoot Sauvignon Blanc 2012
Green melon and grapefruit. Good concentration and smooth textured but balanced by bright acidity.

Neil Ellis Auction Reserve Pinotage 2011
Red and black cherry, attractive oak.  Pure fruited but also subtle notes of chocolate and spice making for some complexity. Full but balanced.

Rust en Vrede CWG Estate 2010
60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Shiraz, 5% Merlot, 5% Shiraz. Red and black berries plus plenty of spice. Rich and broad – succulent fruit, moderate acidity, nicely grippy tannins.

Vriesenhof Pinot Noir Bin 115 2008
Not entirely primary any more – forest floor and cured meat to go with red fruit and spice. Layers of flavour, some weight and texture offset by bright acidity.

Ataraxia Under The Gavel Chardonnay 2012
Citrus blossom, lime and lemon. Pleasantly lean on the palate with bright acidity and a pithy finish. A very elegant offering.

Bruce Jack Happy Hour 2009
57% Sauvignon Blanc, 29% Semillon, 14% Viognier.  Slight note of reduction. Green through yellow fruit before a savoury finish. Peculiar in a good way.

De Grendel Op Die Berg Pinot Noir 2011
Subtle earthy, tarry notes on the nose while the palate shows dense dark fruit and spice, bright acidity and fine tannins. Rich but balanced.

Etienne le Riche Auction Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2010
Cassis plus attractive oak.  Pure fruited, good freshness, nicely dry finish. All that’s good about SA Cab.

Graham Beck Wines The Catalyst 2010
90% Shiraz, 10% Viognier. Red fruit, some floral fragrance and a hint of vanilla. Approachable – good fruit intensity, moderate acidity and relatively soft tannins.

Grangehurst Auction Reserve 2007
76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Petit Verdot, 8% Merlot. More red fruit than black plus the first signs of some developed character (forest floor, earth). Classically styled – medium bodied with fresh acidity and fine tannins.

Kanonkop CWG Paul Sauer 2010
68% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Cabernet Franc, 16% Merlot. Sweet-fruited – red and black berries, fresh acidity and relatively soft tannins.

Luddite “Just Alice” Shiraz Mourvèdre 2010
Red and black fruit, some spice.  Good concentration, fresh acidity, nicely grippy on the finish.

Nitida Sauvignon Blanc Barrel Twenty Eight 2013
Very primary with notes of peach and pear. Pleasantly lean and light-bodied, bright acidity and a pithy finish.

For the full list of wines on auction, see here: 2013 CWG Auction Wines.


7 comment(s)

  • Hennie @ Batonage16 August 2013

    Hi Christian

    Last year there were some comments regarding the overuse of new oak on a lot of the reds. Would you say the same about this year?

    • Christian16 August 2013

      Hi Hennie, While there were still a couple of really big, bold oaky numbers, I’m happy to report that on the whole wines seemed much better balanced. I think this is in part because the changed selection process facilitates a broader aesthetic but it does appear that top-end SA reds are increasingly equal to their white counterparts for elegance and sophistication across the board.

  • Elias19 August 2013

    Hi Christian. 26 CWG auction wines scoring below 90 points? Does this mean Cloof the very sexy shiraz that scored 90 is a better wine (in your opinion) than almost half of this years wine up for auction?

    • Christian20 August 2013

      Hi Elias, The short answer is “Yes” – I do think Cloof The Very Sexy Shiraz 2010 is a better wine than almost half of this year’s wine up for auction. As you yourself noted the 2011 vintage was among the 20 finalists for the inaugural Shiraz SA Wine Challenge and later placed among the top 12 wines so evidently it’s not just me that thinks Cloof’s getting something right with this wine. I’d further point out that over on Grape.co.za, my colleague Tim James has 30 wines under scoring below 17/20 – 17/20 and 90/100 generally regarded as roughly the same level of quality.

      • elias20 August 2013

        Thank you for your response. Just another indication that a 90 point wine is better than most people think. I am just trying to place which local wine critic suits my taste as there is a vast difference between this year’s opinions about the CWG line-up! What is this Shiraz Challenge you mention, never heard of it before?

      • Elias20 August 2013

        Ah sorry for that, got a bit confused there.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *