Absa Perold Cape Blend Competition 2014 winners

By , 5 September 2014





This year, the Absa Perold Cape Blend Competition attracted 41 entries and the winners were announced earlier today. My notes and scores as follows:

Top Five
Blake’s Amethyst 2011
45% Shiraz, 35% Pinotage and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon.  Cherries, some floral fragrance and chocolate. Juciy, rich and full with soft tannins. 88/100

Clos Malverne Spirit of Malverne 2012
46% Pinotage, 27% Cabernet Sauvignon and 27% Shiraz. Dark fruit, prominent oak. A chunky wine with concentrated dark fruit, fresh acidity and firm tannins. 88/100

Kaapzicht Steytler Vision 2010
50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Pinotage and 15% Merlot. Red and black cherry plus a hint of reduction. Lovely fruit concentration, bright acidity and fine tannins – complex and balanced. 91/100

Rhebokskloof The Rhebok 2012
45% Shiraz, 40% Pinotage and 15% Mourvèdre. Pronounced reduction on the nose. Otherwise, straightforward: cherries and a touch of acidity, bright acidity and fine tannins. Finishes a bit short. 87/100

Painted Wolf Peloton Rouge 2009
40% Pinotage, 24% Shiraz, 23% Merlot, 7% Grenache and 6% Mourvèdre. Red cherry and an earthy note. Medium bodied with fresh acidity and rather coarse tannins. Rather rustic. 86/100

Runner-up as follows:
Idiom Cape Blend 2010
40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Pinotage, 25% Merlot and 5% Petit Verdot. Plums, red cherries, dried herbs and oak spice. Big and full but holds together well. 90/100

KWV Abraham Perold Tributum 2013
38% Pinotage, 35% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Shiraz, 5% Petit Verdot, 5% Petite Syrah. Super-ripe fruit, attractive oak. Dense and smooth textured, this is plush and polished. 89/100

Spier Creative Block 8 2012
30% Shiraz, 26% Shiraz, 19% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 5% Viognier, 2% Petit Verdot, 2% Mourvèdre and 1% Cabernet Franc. Exotic nose showing red and black fruit plus flowers, scrub and a not unpleasant tarry note. Good concentration, fresh acidity and nicely ripe tannins. 90/100

Wildekrans Cape Blend Barrel Select Reserve 2012
47% Pinotage, 47% Cabernet Sauvignon and 6% Shiraz. Red fruit and pronounced vaniila. Sweet, soft and simple. 85/100

Windmeul Cape Blend Reserve 2013
55% Pinotage, 27% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Merlot and 4% Petit Verdot. Ripe dark fruit, herbal top note and vanilla. Big and burly with sweet fruit on entry while the acidity seems quite tart. Heavily extracted resulting in a drying sensation on the finish. 87/100


4 comment(s)

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  • Christian8 September 2014

    Hi Bobby, There’s a school of thinking that Pinotage needs more time than most other local reds to reach optimal drinking but I find this tenuous – good wines are good from the get-go, whatever the variety. That said, Pinotage made with care does seem have an unusual capability to mature with benefit for an extra long time. I remember a blind tasting of old Kankop Cabs where the ringer – a Pinotage from the same property – was my wine of the night.

  • Doug7 September 2014

    This ‘Cape Blend’ is a very interesting category. For the foreign uninitiated, how would you compare this to French blends? Something akin to Northern Rhone? Does the predominance of Pinotage in the respective blends make this a purely South African thing or are there international comparisons for a foreigner to compare and gain some understanding before drinking? I enjoy your blog, Christian. Keep it up!

    American in Bangkok

    • Christian7 September 2014

      Hi Doug, There are no obvious reference points for the ‘Cape Blend’. What Pinotage brings to the party is fruit – add it to Cab and Merlot and you get a Bordeaux-style red with extra juiciness, add it to Shiraz and I suppose you could compare it to Southern Rhone. The movement to establish the Cape Blend as a formal category was at its height at the end of the 1990s, the thinking being that wines needed to contain at least 30% Pinotage to qualify as such, but official recognition was never forthcoming. I have to say I found the 10 finalists in this year’s Absa Perold Cape Blend competition generally underwhelming (many of the wines feeling contrived). That said, a Zonnebloem Cabernet Sauvignon 1974 which I subsequently learned had portions of Pinotage and Tinta Barocca included, was sensational suggesting that the idea might not be totally misguided…

      • Bobby8 September 2014

        In my limited experience of drinking wines from the noughties, I find that pinotage and cape blends become interesting and enjoyable fruit bombs from about 8 years after vintage. A bottle of Cloof 2005 (tree tomato the dominant flavour) recently converted a nay-saying friend. It would be interesting to hear about the development of other examples, especially wines of greater provenance…

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