Judging for the 2010 Amorim Cork Cap Classique Challenge to be reported on in the October issue of WINE magazine was completed yesterday. This year’s competition attracted 78 submissions compared to 70 in 2009.
For the first time in the competition’s nine-year history, the panel featured two international judges, namely Hervé Dantan, Chef de Cave of Champagne Mailly Grand Cru and Nicolas Follet of Oenosense Consulting based in Reims, France. This was Dantan’s first visit to South Africa, while Follet has done work here over the last five years, clients including Colmant, L’Ormarins and Rupert & Rothschild.
Other members of the panel were Sarah Newton, who became a Cape Wine Master this year, her qualifying assignment being on sparkling wine, James Pietersen, group beverage manager for Balducci’s and Belthazar restaurants in Cape Town and me.
As a calibration exercise, three randomly selected previous winners of the Cap Classique Challenge were tasted blind and rated according to the 20-point system. These were as follows (average arithmetic score in brackets):
1. Weltevrede Philip Jonker Brut 1999 – 2003 winner (15.5)
2. J.C. Le Roux Pinot Noir Rosé 2006 – 2008 winner (15.1)
3. Simonsig Kaapse Vonkel 2005 – 2009 winner (15)
Dantan was particularly severe on the wines rating the Weltevrede 13/20 and describing it as no more than “pleasant”, the J.C. Le Roux 14/20 and the Simonsig 12/20,finding it very ripe and not showing enough freshness. Acidity or the lack thereof was to be a recurring topic of debate trhoughout the tasting. October of issue of WINE on sale from 20 September.