This (Thursday) morning, while heavy rain lashed down on Stellenbosch, a small group of (mostly) wine journalists had the privilege of tasting all 58 wines to be sold at this year’s Cape Winemakers Guild Auction (on 5 October, at Spier as usual). They were, of course, tasted blind, though by announced category.
I thought it was the best showing of Auction wines that I’ve participated in. The whites were up to the usual high standard, but the great joy is that the number of huge, overoaked, over-ripe reds was markedly down on the past few years. What a pleasure! Most of the huge, etc ones remaining were syrahs – but as that was the biggest class, it’s not surprising.
Of the other reds, the pinot noirs didn’t excite me (at best). Of the two pinotages (the number down), one was in what increasingly seems to me the “old-fashioned” style, while Neil Ellis’s was quite a bit in the direction towards freshness and elegance. And red Bordeaux-style blends was, in fact, one of my favourite categories at this tasting – the other being chardonnay.
So while I was expecting to once again praise the whites and decry the reds, it is really nice to say how good, on average, the whole auction showing is this year.
I shall put up all my notes and scores once I’ve had a chance to tidy them up, attach the wine names to them, etc. But let me meanwhile list those that I rated 17.5 or 18 out of 20 (I can’t see much reason to discriminate between the two scores: both sufficiently indicate excellence to me.)
My top wines (in order of tasting; excluding sweet, fortified and brandy – and also excluding Ernie Els CWG 2011 – my computer somehow lost my note for that wine…)
- Nitida Sauvignon Blanc Barrel Twenty Eight 2013
- John Loubser Thirteen 2011 [Bordeaux white blend]
- Tokara Tribute 2012 [Bordeaux white blend]
- Ataraxia Under The Gavel Chardonnay 2012
- Paul Cluver Wagon Trail Chardonnay 2012
- Jordan Chardonnay Auction Reserve 2012
- Teddy Hall Maria van Swaanswijk Chardonnay Auction Reserve 2012
- Haskell Vineyards Paradigm 2008 [Red Bordeaux blend]
- Jordan Sophia 2010. [Bordeaux blend]
- AA Badenhorst Family Wines Siebritskloof Shiraz L.D.R. 2011
- Boekenhoutskloof Syrah Auction Reserve 2011