Record entries for Amorim MCC competition

Published: 26 Jul 11

The record number of entries received for this year’s Amorim MCC Competition reaffirmed the world’s largest supplier of natural cork products to continue its role as headline sponsor of this competition. Despite the decision by Ramsay Media to cease publication of Wine Magazine, which has been joint sponsor of the MCC Competition since 2002, Amorim will continue to sponsor this competition aimed at promoting the quality and variety of South Africa’s MCC category.

“Our relationship with Wine Magazine has undoubtedly contributed to the growing success of and interest in a competition committed to espousing the tremendous vision and skill of the country’s Méthode Cap Classique producers,” says Joaquim Sa, MD of Amorim SA. “The success of this collaboration was underscored by the 77 entries this year’s competition received, the largest field in its 10-year-old history.”

The results of the 10th Amorim MCC Competition will be announced on 18 August and published in the September and final issue of Wine.

“We will then, in conjunction with the MCC Association with whom this competition has a close association, begin planning next year’s judging, event and a possible partnership,” says Sa.

Allan Mullins, Cape Wine Master, chaired this year’s MCC Competition judging panel and said that the event had contributed to the growth in interest in MCC among producers as well as the public.

“Having judged on nine of the 10 competitions, the improvement in quality and winemaking skill has become evident year after year,” says Mullins. “Each year judges are contending with new styles, greater variety and seeing the results of some interesting and visionary winemaking. I am just very glad to see that this commitment in the vineyards and the cellars is complemented by consumer support for our great MCC wines. To see the category growing in sales is an added bonus for us who love this wine and are committed to seeing it take its rightful place among the great wines produced in the Cape.”

Graham Beck 2007 Brut Rose

Top 10 Rose Wines

Graham Beck 2007 Brut Rose Robertson & Stellenbosch, South Africa

This well-priced bubbly is a pretty shade of pale salmon with a fine mousse and light, floral aromas. Citrus and strawberry are dominant flavors with a rich sweetness that sits pleasantly on the mid-palate. The wine lingers relatively long with a slight caramel, nutty note. Serve with classic brunch fare, a picnic of cold, herb-rubbed pork and fruit salad or on its own to toast the sunset at the end of a long day.

IWSC 2011 comes to Paarl

03 March 11 by

Frances Horder, competitions director of the International Wine & Spirits Competition, is currently braving 40°C-plus temperatures in Paarl, South Africa, organising logistics. That’s because – for the first time ever – the IWSC will be judging South African wines in South Africa. “Three years ago we were looking to expand the competition and decided to judge American wines in America – a sort of a Mohammed going to the mountain kind of thing – and it worked really well. It was expensive, logistically, but the costs were more than covered since we doubled our entry,” Horder said.

The IWSC is very cognisant of the strength of the rand and the pressure that local wine producers are under with regard to containing expenses – and international wine competition entries is one of those Horder said. “The entry fee doesn’t change but it does mean that the only transport costs involved are those of getting the samples to the Grande Roche in Paarl rather than shipping them overseas.” It is hoped that this cost saving is enough of an incentive for more local producers to enter. “We’re very happy with the South African numbers as there’s a strong entry every year. We get around 700 entries and South Africa traditionally does well. We’re not expecting the entries to increase this year.” Horder said that the American experiment turned up some interesting results. “We used local judges and were expecting results to improve – and quite the opposite happened. We found that the American judges were very hard on their own wines.”

The judging takes place in Paarl mid-July and local judges will be pressed into service. “We’ll be using a number of South African judges who would otherwise have travelled to the UK as well as some who haven’t judged at IWSC before.”A full day will be spent with all judges ahead of the final tasting in an induction process. “We want to ensure that all IWSC procedures and methods are followed throughout.” One difference between the judging at IWSC headquarters in the rural Surrey countryside and the charms of Paarl in mid-winter will be the lack of squealing tyres. The IWSC operates out of premises at an old World War II airfield, Dunsfold, which is also the venue for the popular motoring series, Top Gear! Dunsfold’s runway forms the “track” on which presenters Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May (and The Stig!) do high-speed vehicle tests.

Old Mutual Trophy Winners for 2011

18 Category Trophies at the 10th Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show.

White Wine Trophies:

Trophy for Best Sauvignon Blanc: Delaire Coastal Cuvée Sauvignon Blanc 2010

Trophy for Best Sauvignon Blanc – Museum Class: Lomond Sugarbush 2007

Trophy for Best Semillon: Cape Point Semillon 2006

Trophy for Best Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon Blend: Spier Creative 2

Grande Roche Trophy for Best White Blend: Fleur du Cap Unfiltered Special White Blend 2010

Trophy for Best Chardonnay: Paul Cluver Chardonnay 2009

Trophy for Best Riesling: Jordan Riesling 2009

Trophy for Best Riesling – Museum Class: Hartenberg Weisser Riesling 1999


Red Wine Trophies:

Trophy for Best Merlot: Hillcrest Quarry 2008

Trophy for Best Pinotage: Rijk’s Pinotage 2007

Trophy for Best Pinot Noir: Meerlust Pinot Noir 2009

Trophy for Best Shiraz-based Red Blend: Ormonde Theodore Eksteen 2008

Trophy for the Best Shiraz: Thelema Shiraz 2007

Trophy for Best Cabernet Sauvignon – Museum Class: Cathedral Cellar Cabernet Sauvignon 1995 (KWV)

Trophy for Best Bordeaux-style Blend: KWV The Mentors Orchestra 2009

Dessert Wine Trophies:

Trophy for Best Dessert Wine: Nederburg Private Bin Eminence Noble Late Harvest Muscadel 2008

Trophy for the Best Fortified Dessert Wine: Nuy White Muskadel 2005

Trophy for the Best Fortified Dessert Wine – Museum Class: KWV White Jerepigo 1933

Other Trophies:

Old Mutual International Judges’ Trophy: Paul Cluver Chardonnay 2009

Old Mutual Trophy for Discovery of the Show : Nuy White Muskadel 2005

Old Mutual Trophy for Best Red Wine: Thelema Shiraz 2007

Fairbairn Capital Trophy for the Most Successful Producer: Spier Private Cellar


Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show 2011: Trophy and Gold medal awards

Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show 2011: Trophy and Gold medal awards.

Stephen Tanzer rates Graham Beck Wines in the US

2008 Sauvignon Blanc The Game Reserve Coastal Region Bright, light yellow. Lemongrass, grapefruit, green fig and a hint of spice on the nose. Dusty, quite dry and energetic, with some CO2 yet to be absorbed. This began a bit tart but grew more supple and harmonious with aeration, showing more breadth on the back end. 87

2009 Sauvignon Blanc The Game Reserve Coastal Region Bright light yellow. Lively aromas of grapefruit, lemon drop, lime zest and grass, plus suggestions of tropical fruits. Richer and more glycerol than the basic 2008 Coastal Region sauvignon but also nicely juicy, with broad, dry flavors of citrus and tropical fruits, fig and anise. Finishes with a slightly tart character. 88

2009 Viognier Robertson Pale, green-tinged yellow. Peach, lime, mint and a whiff of licorice on the slightly warm nose. Plump and round, with peach and pear flavors perked up by a floral nuance. A plush, easygoing style of viognier to drink now. 87

2009 Chenin Blanc The Game Reserve Coastal Region Light yellow. Complex nose and palate meld peach, pineapple, snap pea, dusty brown spices and white tobacco, all lifted by a citrus element. Dense, ripe, seamless and concentrated, with its light sweetness and touch of oak nicely buffered by harmonious acidity. A saline, tactile, soil-driven chenin blanc with a honeyed quality on the dry, gripping finish. 91

2010 Chardonnay/Viognier Western Cape (an 84/16 blend): Bright light yellow. Nicely perfumed aromas of fresh peach, yellow plum, flowers and lichee. Then surprisingly dry and lively in the mouth, more shapely but less forthcoming than the nose suggests. Offers good energy but could use a bit more pliancy and length on the back end. 87

2008 Cabernet Sauvignon The Game Reserve Robertson Bright dark red. Spicy, expressive aromas and flavors of plum, mocha and cola. Not particularly complex but shows good shape and energy, with a lightly medicinal aspect to the middle palate. Finishes with broad, dusty tannins and a hint of maple syrup.

2007 The William Red (69% cabernet sauvignon, 18% pinotage, 11% cabernet franc and 2% shiraz): Dark red with ruby highlights. Very dark, slightly medicinal aromas of blackberry, cassis, licorice and mint. Dense, chewy and deep, with very primary dark berry, licorice and spice flavors. Surprisingly strong but harmonious acidity gives this very young wine a rather high pitch. Finishes perfumed and long,
with a fine dusting of tannins. Hold this. 91(+?)

2007 Shiraz The Game Reserve Stellenbosch Dark, bright red. Aromatic nose combines blackberry, white pepper and mocha, along with a chocolatey richness. Silky and sweet on the palate, but with good energy to the slightly medicinal mulberry and chocolate flavors. Not a gamey style of shiraz. Suave tannins and harmonious acids give this a solid structure. 89

2006 Syrah The Ridge Robertson Bright medium-deep red. Carnal aromas of pepper and smoked meat. Silky on entry, then supple and soil-driven in the mid-palate, showing more smoke, pepper and spicy herbs than primary fruit. Spreads out nicely on the back end, finishing with fine-grained tannins. A suave and savory style–very much syrah, rather than shiraz. 89

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South African Wine | wine news | How the Nedbank award was won; the greening of Graham Beck Wines

South African Wine | wine news | How the Nedbank award was won; the greening of Graham Beck Wines.

South African Wine | wine news | Steenberg Vineyards ends 2010 on a high note

South African Wine | wine news | Steenberg Vineyards ends 2010 on a high note.

Nedbank Green Wine Award Winners Announced

Posted on
on 19 November 2010 by Nedbank Green Wine Awards

Reyneke, South Africa’s first biodynamic vineyard and winery, and Graham Beck Wines were the big winners at the Nedbank Green Wine Awards held in Cape Town today.
The awards – held in association with Wine magazine – promote environmentally friendly wines and are given in two categories – for the Best Organic Wine as well as the Best Environmental Practice Award. Following international trends, more South African consumers are trying organic wines for both health reasons and because it makes sense to support wineries that farm sustainably for the benefit of future generations and vineyard productivity.

The Reyneke Woolworths Chenin Blanc 2009 was voted the Best Organic Wine. It also won in the best white wine category, while the Reyneke Reserve Red 2007 was tops in the best red wine category. The best natural sweet award went to the Stellar Heaven on Earth Natural Sweet. The Best Environmental Practice Award went to Graham Beck Wines, while the runner up was Paul Cluver.

The Reyneke label was created in 1998 when Johan Reyneke took over the farming activities from his mother and produced the first wines on the family farm, Uitzicht near Stellenbosch. Reyneke has gone one step beyond organic, and farms and produces his wines in accordance with biodynamic principles: “The intention is to interfere as little as possible, to allow nature to be the real maker of the wine and to truly produce terroir specific wines of the highest quality,” he says.

Stellar Winery, South Africa’s largest producer of fine organic wines, processes just over 4 500 tons of organic grapes for the South African and export markets. It was the first organic winemaking operation in the world to gain the coveted Fairtrade certification and the first cellar in Africa to produce commercially viable no-sulphur-added wines. Stellar has subsequently become the largest producer of these wines in the world and is the number one organic wine brand in the UK.

Graham Beck Wines has been acknowledged for restoring and preserving large areas of all three major vegetation types found in the Cape Floral Kingdom – fynbos, renosterveld and succulent karoo on its Robertson estate. Their conservation management plan has earned them Champion status with the Biodiversity and Wine Initiative. Today 4.4 ha of land is allocated to conservation for every 1ha farmed. Although their Franschhoek property faces different challenges, a complete environmental plan is already underway to produce wine with a minimum impact on the environment.

Paul Cluver Wines is a founder of the world?s first Wine and Biodiversity Route, situated around the Groenland Mountain. This 2 000+ hectare estate forms part of the UNESCO world heritage site, the Kogelberg Biosphere. Half of the estate has been set aside for conservation in perpetuity. It is also the initiator and mentor of Thandi Wines – SA’s first black economic empowerment wine brand and the world’s first Fairtrade wine brand.

Organic viticulture can be defined as grape growing that shuns man-made pesticides, herbicides, fungicides or fertilisers. Winners for the Best Organic Wine were made from 2010 or earlier vintages, or blends of various vintages. Wines were accompanied by a valid certification, such as that issued by the Société Générale de Surveillance (SGS), an internationally recognised organic accreditation body.

Judges for the best organic wines were Christian Eedes (chair), Miguel Chan (Southern Sun sommelier), Allan Mullins (Cape Wine Master), Ginette De Fleuriot (Cape Wine Master) and Rianie Strydom (Haskell Vineyards winemaker).The Nedbank Green Wine Awards Best Environmental Practice Award was open to all farms with the minimum requirement for entry being a 70 percent rating from the Integrated Production of Wine (IPW), the voluntary environmental sustainability scheme established in 1998.

Organic certification is also accepted for entry into this category, but must be accompanied by several government authorisation documents such as water use authorisations and plough permits. The judges for the Best Environmental Practice Award were Inge Kotze (project coordinator of the Biodiversity and Wine Initiative), Lourens van Schoor (head of Enviroscientific, auditing body for the IPW), Tom McLaughlin (good business journey Specialist at Woolworths) and Johan Reyneke (Reyneke bio-dynamic wines in Stellenbosch).

Nedbank’s sponsorship of the Green Wine Awards further supports its aim to be the leading “green” bank. Nedbank has a long history of involvement in the wine industry including its 14 year sponsorship of the Cape Winemakers Guild (CWG) and its involvement in the CWG Development Trust helping families of farm workers. The Nedbank Green Trust has been pivotal since 2004 in establishing the Biodiversity Wine Initiative, which is aimed at encouraging responsible land usage and farming within the wine industry. “By sponsoring these pioneering awards we aim to increase awareness of organic, environmentally responsible options for consumers so that they can make more informed wine choices. These awards also recognise winemakers who are making a difference and encourage environmentally sustainable farming,” says Greg Garden, Group Brand Executive for Nedbank.

“The green initiative is about attaining balance in the natural world. With good quality wines the quest is also one of finding balance, and with ?green? wines in particular we strive to achieve more by doing less, or at least disrupting less,” explained Wine’s publishing editor, Cathryn Henderson.More information about the Nedbank Green Wine Awards and interviews with the winning winemakers can be found in December?s issue of Wine magazine on sale now.

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