Aftertaste without prejudice – CWG Auction Wines 2011



01 September 2011

Page 68

By Eben van Wyk

“Compromise is for relationships” –  EBEN VAN WYK

According to Cape Winemakers Guild chairman, Louis Strydom from Ernie Els wines, compromise s for relationships, not for wine. The truth of this statement is confirmed by the remarkable wines on offer at this year’s auction of the Winemakers Guild. The selection criteria of wines for the annual Nedbank Cape Winemakers Guild Auction were revised earlier this year to boost creativity and achieve greater diversity of wines crafted exclusively for the auction.

In terms of the new criteria adopted by the Guild, the final selection of the auction line-up will no longer be at the behest of tasting panels alone, but all 43 members be able to have a wine on auction, provided it is free of technical defects and meets the highest standards of wine health measurement. The new selection criteria was introduced to encourage members to be bold and to experiment in terms of terroir, cultivar and wine styles — to push the envelope and pursue more creative and unusual styles. Though the true effect of the new selection criteria will probably only be evident in a year or two, judging by the great variety of wines on offer and the remarkable spread of varietals and different styles this year, the Guild’s new selection criteria has certainly paid off.

The 27th Nedbank CWG Auction is open to the public and will be held at the Spier Conference Centre in the Stellenbosch Winelands on Saturday, October 1 2011. The impressive lineup this year consists of 56 wines, 17 more than the previous Auction.

These are some of my favorites without prejudice September 201 1.

Graham Beck Non Plus Ultra Cap Classique 2005 Winemaker Pieter “Bubbles” Ferreira is certainly one of South Africa’s Cap Classique masters, producing consistent great quality wines. This wine with its creamy complexity, spending six years on the lees, is amazing. I wish I could have a bottle of this stuff every day.

Cape Point Vineyards Barrel Fermented Sauvignon Blanc 2010 Duncan Savage (listed in the swansong edition of Wine Magazine as one of South Africa’s future wine legends) remains South Africa’s king of Sauvignon Blanc. The nose of this wine is fresh; its aroma intense with a long lingering aftertaste. This is a great wine.

Flagstone Happy Hour 2009 An amazing wine produced by Bruce Jack, one of South Africa’s most prominent wine personalities. This blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon & Viognier is filled with hints of orange, vanilla and spice and is a true 5 star wine. It will get even better with age.


Michael Fridjhon Review on CWG Auction Wines for 2011


BUSINESS DAY 09 Sep 2011 Page 8

Arts&Leisure Wine 

THE annual auction of the Cape Winemakers Guild will be held at Spier on October 1 1. The coterie of avante garde wine makers who established the (initially not very formal) organisation in the early 1980s has evolved into a significant force in SA’s fine-wine industry.

Several founding members are still active, some producing its most sought-after wines. In the early days, the guild auctions were conducted by Sotheby’s in Johannesburg. Since I was the wine consultant there at the time, I was directly involved and I have retained a catalogue from the inaugural sale. It was a hard-cover cloth-bound publication and included 1 pictures of the guildsmen. Time has been Icind to most of them: those who presented their wines at this year’s presale tasting at Nedbank were recognisably the same people whose mug shots appeared in that first catalogue — presumably then, as now, to provide visual appeal to what would otherwise have been a pretty dull publication.

This year, Jan “Boland” Coetzee has two Pinot Noir’s (the Clone 777 is the one to seek out) under his Vriesenhof label. At the first sale, he offered a barrel selection of what must have been Cabernet Sauvignon. Overgaauw’s Braam van Velden is selling his latest DC Classic — easily the best wine he has had on the auction in the past decade. Neither wine maker needs to prove anything these days, and both wines have the restraint that comes from that sense of confidence.

Other faces from that first auction include Etienne le Riche, whose Cabernet-based wines have long been among the most sought-after purchases at the auction; and Kevin Arnold, whose Waterford reds need no introduction to SA’s fine-wine drinkers. Peter Finlayson of Bouchard Finlayson is there too, offering (pretty much as he has done for the past 25 years) a reserve Pinot Noir that will seem huge enough to achieve the kind of price normally associated with the Grand Cru reds from the Cote de Nuits. Neil Ellis brings his Rodanos Shiraz-Grenache blend — a far cry from the Cabernets on which he first made his reputation.

Jeff Grier (Villiera — Shoot Star MCC 2008) and Johan Malan (Simonsig — Pick of the Bunch Pinotage 2009) are also founder members but happily there are also newcomers (Rianie Strydom from Haskell Vineyards has finally cracked the nod). More important, there is a new auction selection process that simply confirms the wines are technically sound, leaving it up to the market to be the real gatekeeper.

With more than 50 different wines, punters will be spoilt for choice. I preferred the white line-up, as I did last year, though this year’s reds were generally better than last year’s. Oak was less marked and there was a sense of greater finesse in how they had been handled. Those I disliked were simply “overdone”; with alcohols averaging between 14,5% and 15,5%, it is clear the pursuit of punch took precedence over nuance. The reds that appealed included the Paul Cluver Pinot Noir 2010; the Kaapzicht Auction Reserve 2007; the Grangehurst Cabernet Sauvignon 2006; the Boekenhoutskloof Syrah 2009 (the first vintage from Marc Kent’s Porselainberg site in the Swartland); the De Trafford Sijnn Touriga Nacional 2009; the Kanonkop Pinotage 2009; the Kanonkop Paul Sauer 2008; and the Jordan Sophia 2009.

The white wine line-up had some impressive offerings: Steenberg The Magus 2010; Cape Point Barrelfermented Sauvignon Blanc 2010; Flagstone Happy Hour 2009; Teddy Hall Hendrik Biebouw Chenin Blanc 2010; Ataraxia Chardonnay 2010; Jordan Chardonnay 2010; and the 2009 Paul Cluver Wagon Trail (its fruit now emerging from rather too much oak).

There’s a very fine fizz (the Non Plus Ultra 2005) from Graham Beck (wine maker Pieter Ferreira also had wine on that first auction), and a delicious Muscat, the Three Thousand and One Nights.

Further information go to

“A letter from America….”

Greetings all –

Very pleased to share the following impressive results from Robert Parker’s the Wine Advocate most recent August 2011 South African tasting & review …

 The Graham Beck Wines:

Cuvee Clive 2005 – 91 points

The Ridge 2008 – 90 points

Blanc de Blanc 2007 – 90 points

The Joshua 2008 – 89 points

Chardonnay 2009 – 89 points

Brut Rose’ NV – 89 points

Note the following excellent excerpt about Graham Beck Wines from the August article :

“Graham Beck passed away in July 2010 leaving one almighty legacy behind him: a state-of-the-art winery that welcomes thousands of visitors each year, their sparkling Brut chosen by Michele Obama for her husband’s inauguration ceremony as well as Nelson Mandela’s in 1994. But what matters most is that the Graham Beck Winery has a portfolio of wines that offers outstanding value, particular with respect to their sparkling wines and whites. Their cellar master Pieter Ferreira, is responsible for their sparkling wines and he took me through their entire range…”

This is wonderfully high praise from what is arguably the world’s most discerning & challenging wine review publication.

Fantastic job. Thank you to our friends Pieter, Erika, & the whole GBW team !!


Warm Regards,

Chris Nickolopoulos

Founder / President
Maritime Wine Trading Collective ( m.w.t.c.)

Franschhoek pops the corks at ‘Franschhoek Uncorked’!

Franschhoek pops the corks at ‘Franschhoek Uncorked’!.

Full Programme of the weekend. Lot and lots of beautiful things to do. See you there!