2010 CWG auction wines: The Yanks vs. SA

By , 28 September 2010



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The Cape Winemakers Guild recently announced the results of blind tastings of some of this year’s auction wines by James Molesworth of Wine Spectator and Steve Tanzer of International Wine Cellar. Molesworth gave 27 of 32 wines tasted (out of a total of 39) 90 points or more on the 100-point scale, whilst Tanzer gave 22 of the 30 wines tasted 90 points or more in a similar blind tasting.

When the wines were tasted locally, I gave 13 wines of 38 wines tasted 90 points or more, while wine commentators Michael Fridjhon and Tim James who also participated in the exercise were even more stingy (see here and here). Our fellow tasters Neil Pendock and Christine Rudman chose not to make their scores public.

It is also interesting to note that Molesworth and Tanzer operated in a much narrower band, the former’s highest score awarded being 93 and his lowest 86, the latter’s highest 92 and lowest 87. My highest was 95 and lowest 69.

This does pose the question as to why the local critics are so out of kilter with their international counterparts. I suspect that the local judges probably approached the line-up in a more sceptical frame of mind being more acutely aware of the overall context in which the CWG sits, while the international judges were more inclined to take the purported excellence of the CWG wines at face value.

Molesworth’s top five wines were (US judge’s score vs. my score in brackets):
A.A. Badenhorst Family Noble Late Harvest Kalmoesfontein Vol. 2 2008 (93 vs. 95)
Cederberg Teen Die Hoog Shiraz 2008 (93 vs. 75)
Neil Ellis Auction Reserve 2007 (93 vs. 87)
Saronsberg Die Erf Shiraz 2007 (93 vs. 80)
Teddy Hall Mediterranean White 2008 (93 vs. 91)

His bottom three were:
Villiera Shooting Star Méthode Cap Classique 2007 (89 vs. 84)
Teddy Hall Tribute Méthode Cap Classique 2003 (88 vs. 84)
De Grendel Op Die Berg Pinot Noir 2009 (86 vs. 69)

Tanzer’s top nine wines were:
Paul Cluver The Wagon Trail Chardonnay 2009 (93 vs. 95)
Kanonkop CWG Paul Sauer 2007 (92 vs. 90)
Kanonkop CWG Pinotage 2008 (92 vs. 87)
Louis Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 (92 vs. 80)
Neil Ellis Auction Reserve 2007 (92 vs. 87)
Nitida Aureus 2009 (92 vs. 95)
Rijk’s Private Cellar Auction Reserve Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc2007 (92 vs. 89)
Saronsberg Die Erf Shiraz 2007  (92 vs. 80)
Tullie Family Wines The Yair 2009 (92 vs. 91)

His bottom five wines were:
Boschkloof CWG Reserve Shiraz 2007 (88 vs. 85)
De Grendel CWG Op Die Berg Pinot Noir 2009 (88 vs. 69)
Rijk’s Private Cellar CWG Reserve Chenin Blanc 2009 (88 vs. 85)
Villiera Shooting Star Méthode Cap Classique 2007 (88 vs. 84)
Boschkloof CWG Conclusion 2006 (87 vs. 86)

Clearly there is a lot more consensus about what constitutes good white as opposed to good red. Molesworth refers to Saronsberg Die Erf Shiraz 2007 in his tasting notes as “a restrained style, with a polished feel” while Tanzer calls it “very sexy”. I thought it was a “blockbuster”. Read my full notes here.

The auction takes place this Saturday, 2 October and it will be interesting to see what influence, if any, the various sets of ratings have on prices fetched.


2 comment(s)

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    Jane | 29 September 2010

    Looks like AA Badenhorst is going to reach astronomical prices on Saturday.

    dionysus | 28 September 2010

    Very interesting post. Would like to have seen what some of the other European/British commentators would have scored these wines. Maybe a “local” palatte does excist… Can you please also post the scores from Migual Chan he did tweet his scores so they are in the public domain. His way more in line with Mr Tanzer and Molesworth. If memory serves me correctly he scored the Boschkloof wines fairly high where as Fridjohn was pretty scathing of these wines… certainly makes for interesting reading.


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