Last year’s Nederburg Wine Auction was a resounding success with lots of money, lots of buyers, lots of sales and an absence of OTT bling in favour of a restrained, recession-aware good time. Carina Gous, marketing director at Distell, and her team did a great job last year and are clearly hoping to repeat that success. Last year was my first media tasting and auction and, before I started attended this year’s media tasting, I re-read last year’s report – you can see it here. If my comments then have any correlation with how events panned out at the auction, then I think that the organisers can expect extremely similar results!
So had anything changed at all? Well yes, they had. Not that I’m claiming any responsibility mind, but there were definitely more blogging folk present than last year indicating that the Auction recognises the value of their work and their role in the industry. On the negative side, once again hardly anyone was standing up in ‘honour’ of the wines being older than themselves. Okay so we only went back as far as 1969 this time as opposed to the 1948 of last year, but still – are all wine writers and commentators over 40? As Christian Eedes (now officially an ‘old gun’) said, this is not good for the future of the wine industry in terms of judging, writing, tasting or buying.
My second comment is that ‘emptors’ still need to ‘caveat’ if they’re not going to get stuck with something unpalatable. There was one white which was clearly faulty and neither I, nor anyone else I spoke to, appreciated being told ‘it was the style.’ It was not. It was oxidised and it was fizzy and it should not have been on sale in my opinion – certainly it did the farm no favours at all. There were also a couple of reds of slightly dubious quality, and it was sad to see people having to defend wines when it was clear that if it had been left up to them, they would have withdrawn them and poured them down the sink.
But that’s all the bad stuff, here is the good news. South Africa makes some amazing wines and there were more than enough of them on display to justify the whole event. It was particularly exciting to taste the whites – everyone has been raving for ages about the 2009 Sauvignon Blancs and it was an absolute pleasure to be able to taste so many in all their glory. And Chardonnay is enjoying a hugely well-deserved renaissance with the 6 examples on show ranging from the sublime to the even-sublimer!
So my advice would be to get yourself along to one of the public tastings and taste as much as you can before you buy. There are some wines I would dearly love to own and once again, I find myself juggling the school fees and my child’s future against a case of Diemersdal 8 Row’s Sauvignon Blanc. I think the fees will win, but you never know!
My faves on the day
Simonsig Kaapse Vonkel 2005 – toasty nose, lively acidity, good depth of flavour, almond finish.
Nederburg Private Bin D215 Sauvignon Blanc 2009 – pungent green pepper nose, citrusy acidity, lots of compleixity, beautifully poised between fresh and aged.
Diemersdal 8 Rows Sauvignon Blanc 2009 – baked grapefruit with honey hints, satisfying, elegant, long finish.
De Grendel Koetshuis Sauvignon Blanc 2009 – racy nose with lively acidity, green fruit balanced by tropical notes, fresh and zesty.
Stellenrust 44 Barrel Fermented Chenin Blanc 2008 – spicy apples and apricots, good acidity and soft, satisfying mouthfeel.
Jordan Nine Yards Chardonnay 2006 – toasty nose, plenty of limes and lemon marmalade, well-integrated and balanced oak, endless length.
Mulderbosch Chardonnay 2006 – tangerines and fresh limes with plenty of still-tight acidity, bright eager fruit, very youthful.
Le Bonheur Prima 2001 - sweet/savoury nose with berries and olive tapenade, hints of mint and polish, moving into leathery concentration.
Hartenberg ‘The Mackenzie’ 2003 – elegance and charm, flavours of black berries and cherries, dark chocolate undertones, well-integrated tannins.
Le Riche Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 – classic aromas of blackberries and green leaves, concentrated but elegant fruit, nice mouthfeel, strong finish.
Monis Marsala 1983 – cloudy, delicious savoury/nutty/caramel nose, floral honey aromas, nice acidity, toffees and hazelnuts.
The Nederburg Auction will be held 16th & 17th September 2011. For more information go to www.nederburgauction.co.za