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2011 Classic Wine Trophy results announced

By , 13 March 2011



Groot Constantia was overall winner at the fourteenth annual Classic Wine Trophy competition, winemaker Boela Gerber collecting the Bacchus trophy as well as a return flight to France courtesy of the competition. There were some 350 entries in total.

What makes the Classic Wine Trophy remarkable as a competition is that it features an all-French panel. Whereas it has been financial services institution Santam has been headline sponsor until recently, this year it went ahead without major corporate backing, judges funding their own expenses out of a conviction that the competition was worth keeping alive.

Results as follows:

Classic Wine Trophy 2011 Overall Winner
Groot Constantia

Best Sparkling Wine Trophy
Teddy Hall Wines Blanc de Blanc 2005

Best White Wine Trophy
Groot Constantia Gouverneurs Chardonnay 2009

Best Red Wine Trophy
Groot Constantia Shiraz 2008

Best Sweet Wine Trophy
The Goose Wines Port 2008

Gold Winners White Wine Category
Glen Carlou Quartz Stone Chardonnay 2009
Groot Constantia Sauvignon Blanc 2010
Hamilton Russell Vineyards Chardonnay 2009
Vergelegen Reserve Chardonnay 2009

Gold Winners Red Wine Category
Cape Chamonix Pinot Noir 2009
Druk My Niet Find Art School Collection Cabernet Sauvignon 2009
Groot Constantia Pinotage 2009
La Motte Pierneef Shiraz Viognier 2008
Paul Cluver Seven Flags Pinot Noir 2008
Raka Biography Shiraz 2008
Southern Right Pinotage 2009
Thelema Sutherland Cabernet Sauvignon Petit Verdot 2008
Warwick Wine Trilogy 2007

Convenor of the competition was Christophe Durand, of Vins D’Orrance in South Africa. Other judges were Francois Villard, a leading Northern Rhône producer, Ricardo Utarroz, wine writer, Olivier Poels,  editor of La Revue du Vin de France, Claude Gilois,  French wine importer and writer, Pieter De Villiers, co-owner of the Domaine Mas Angel in the Languedoc Roussillon, Jean Yves Muller, co-owner of Caveau and Headquarters restaurants in South Africa, Jean-Vincent Ridon, of Signal Hill Winery in South Africa, Khaled Rouabah, of Domaine du Coeur in Pommard and Philippe Dietrich, winemaker and director of Michael Partzold Wine Services.


11 comment(s)

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    Mike Ratcliffe | 28 March 2011

    Well done to Boela & Groot Constantia. Warwick Trilogy was the winner in 2010 and we have yet to be able to use our ticket to France. We eventually decided to forfeit the whole prize because Santam made it so difficult – everything had to be booked through their call centre which is …………. slow. We even tried to exchange our prize for a ticket to Vic Falls instead – no go – too complicated. Perhaps our tolerance threshold is too low?

    Carel Nel | 17 March 2011

    It is with interest that I read the comments on the “Port” winner if the Classic Trophy Show
    Boplaas did not enter. The problem is that there are so many competitions that the producer have to be selective in which competitions they enter. There for they enter in important competitions like Veritas for instance.
    Just to clarify a few things:
    Paul Symington does not make Port (the winemaker for the Symington group is Charles and his father Peter with whom we stayed during our recent visit to the Douro during the harvest).
    The fist winemaker to fortify before fermentation with Port was Dirk Niepoort. He abandoned this practice because of oxidation problems, the extraction of harsh tannins and a stuck fermentation character.
    Unfortunately 90% of the vines died in the Groenfontein patch “Quinta de Sol” because of problems with irrigation.
    We welcome new enthusiastic producers as it can bring new energy into the Port industry.
    With more than 30 years of experience it is safe to say that Boplaas and De Krans are making world class Ports.
    Best regards
    Carel Nel

    Kwispedoor | 15 March 2011

    Thanks for the info, Giuam (I was born in Bethlehem, so I understand Afrikaans better than I do English). I still much prefer the Boplaas and De Krans Vintage Reserve Ports, but will need to have them all on a blind tasting to confirm this. I always thought the fermentation process adds complexity due to all the esters, etc. (and less added spirits required). One often sees this with the better muscadels, where winemakers would do a short fermentation before fortification. Will have to do that blind tasting though, to confirm my preference.

    Giuam | 15 March 2011

    @BobO – not getting ahead of myself – just stating the obvious that the Quinta Port has walked away with most of the awards that matter the last year or 2. The Platter panel was also suitably impressed with it. Just ask the Nel’s from Calitzdorp about the influence Alwyn has had on their Ports, and also the hand he plays in other ‘smaller’ Port houses like Peter Bayley and Axe Hill, never once claiming or demanding recognition. @Kwispedoor – the Port’s from De Krans and Boplaas are great indeed – but there is a new kid on the block and he is making waves. The hand that moulded a number of Boplaas Port’s in the past, is now creating his own magic from a small patch of land near Groenfontein. The Quinta is made in a totally different style to the Boplaas as well. It is unwooded, lower RS (78 g/L compared to 90 +), blend of 7 varietals compared to 3-4 etc etc. In the word’s of one of the most respected winemakers in this country, “Ek drink eitlik baie min port deesdae, maar hierdie staan uit as een van die bestes ooit uit SA.” Hope you understand this. Getting the thumbs up from your peers is all the recognition and the only vote of confidence that really matters. Cheers

    Christian | 15 March 2011

    Hi Kwispedoor, no list of other Ports entered to hand but a fairly limited array must be assumed given total entries amounted to around 350 (compared to almost 1 700 in the case of Veritas 2010, for instance).

    Kwispedoor | 14 March 2011

    I’ve tasted that Quinta do Sul 2008 before and IMHO it has some way to go before reaching the heights offered by the best stuff from Boplaas, De Krans, etc.

    Christian, do you have a list of the other ports entered into the Sweet Wine category? It will provide some more insight into the weight of the award or perhaps, alternatively, the competence of the French judges to judge port.

    BobO | 14 March 2011

    Me thinks Giuam, you might be getting a tad ahead of yourself with the self promotion of the great mystical Port Guru of the Goose. As we all know, that one swallow doesn’t make a summer and fortifying before fermentation actually produces a Jerepigo more than anything else. But, just my humble opinion.

    Giuam | 13 March 2011

    Alwyn Liebenberg doesn’t “dabble” in Port – he is probably the most talented and knowledgeable port producer in the country.  He is the man responsible for many Boplaas Vintage Ports (5 Star Stunners) and trained under the guidance of some of Portugal’s true Port-masters (think Paul Symington of Dow’s and Graham’s),whilst also consulting to some of the country’s top port-cellars. His Port, the Quinta do Sul Vintage Port 2008, won the Double-Gold at Michelangelo in 2009 and scooped the  Winemakers Choice Diamond Award in the same year. He is the winemaker for The Goose Wines and his Quinta du Sol Port is fully submerged in The Goose portfolio, who is responsible for all marketing and selling (both on-and off-trade) of the brand. Christian – you are right – it does contain 7 varietals. Touriga Nacional, Tinta Barocca, Tinta Roriz, Tinta Amarella, Shiraz, Souzao and Tannat. The most interesting fact about the Port is that it is totally unwooded and made by fortifying the grape juice before fermentation and not after. A method unique in the production of port and something that has made some of the top Port producers in Portugal sit up and take notice.

    Christian | 13 March 2011

    Appears the winning Port was Quinta do Sul as made by The Goose winemaker Liebenberg, but Quinta dp Sul being an independent brand.

    Christian | 13 March 2011

    Hi Emile, regarding The Goose Wines Port 2008, never got to see the bottle (i.e. pre-poured before reaching the table) but made by Alwyn Liebenberg who has been known to dabble in the category and apparently containing seven varieties.

    Emile | 13 March 2011

    Organisers also Gallic in their communication: Goose Wines makes no Port. Judge Pieter de Villiers is from the bohemian hub of Malmesbury, not France.

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