Yesterday the Big Five Tasting organised by Jörg Pfützner of Fine Wine Events at the One&Only hotel in Cape Town. Five South African wines compared to some top French counterparts.
Wines involved included Cape Point Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc vs. Didier Dagueneau Fumé Blanc de Pouilly; Vergelegen White vs. Laville Haut Brion Blanc; Raats Family Cabernet Franc vs. Château Cheval Blanc; Kanonkop Paul Sauer vs. Château Mouton Rothschild and Sadie Family Wines Columella vs. Chapoutier Ermitage Le Meal (four to five vintages shown in each case).
Wines were tasted in pairs according to vintage but without indication of which was local and which was French when it came to each set of two. In most instances, it was fairly easy to tell the South African wines from the French, which is not to say that there were vast differences in quality just style.
However, when it came to the 2004, 2003, 2002 and 2001 vintages of Paul Sauer vs. Mouton Rothschild, things got a little more tricky: two great maritime sites making Cabernet Sauvignon-driven red blends intended to be extremely age-worthy.
A revelation was when the Paul Sauer 1995 totally outperformed the Mouton Rothschild 1995, the former tight but not lean and so much more youthful and more intricate than the latter.
Read more on this tasting at here and in the February 2011 issue of Wine magazine.