The tenth Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show Results are released today with a total of 17 trophies and a mere 25 Gold Medals – down on last year’s total of 25 trophies and 32 Golds. This is out of a total of 1062 wines entered – a particularly niggardly haul, you might say! But the Old Mutual does have a reputation of being the most stringent SA competition and, in the words of show chairman Michael Fridjohn, “The whole point about wine shows – as with traditional old agricultural shows – is that they exist to improve the breed. So you have to raise the bar and as you raise the bar, so there is a degree of fallout, but there is a gratifying improvement in overall quality. The place where this has been most visible is not in the gold medals, because that bar gets raised higher and higher all the time. It happens in the silvers - the wines that in the past might have got gold.”
Fridjohn’s words are encouragingly backed up by a considerable upsurge in Silver and Bronze medals, with numbers of winning wines increasing by around 30% in each category. Although most of the wines entered were over the R100 mark, there were plenty below and I expect that budget producers such as Ultra Liquors, Angel’s Tears, Arabella, Du Preez, Koelenhof, Distell’s Obikwa, Welmoed and Arniston Bay will be particularly delighted to have won medals for their sub R40 wines.
The other winner this year appears to be older wines with almost a fifth of the Trophies going to Museum Class wines. Producers are beginning to realise that South African wines really can age well (if you want further proof, see my blog about the Old Wines tasting), and their success was disproportionate to the number of entries. Screwcapped wines are also on the increase – primarily amongst white wines, but 16% of Pinotages were also closed with a screwcap and an incredible 21% of Pinot Noirs. International judge, Neal Martin (Wine Advocate) came out strongly in favour of screwcaps for all whites and for inexpensive, everyday quaffing reds as well.
Other facts worthy of notice:
• There were no trophies or golds for either Port or Chenin – both categories that South Africa has traditionally done well in. Comments from the judges re. the Chenins cited lack of freshness and also too many additions (Viognier, botrytised fruit etc) which changed the flavour profile.
• There were no trophies or golds for Viognier nor for any ‘lesser varieties’ such as Verdelho and Malbec which both did well last year.
• Two commercially popular styles of wine which did not generally find favour with the judges included the ‘choc/coff’s’ and the oxidised Swartland white style.
• A particularly successful category was Semillon/Sauvignon Unwooded Blends with 18 out of 22 entries getting medals. Wooded Sauvignon also did well (10 medals from 16 entries) and Riesling scooped the pool with 75% achieving medals and 50% of them being golds! However, since there were only 4 entries, this does perhaps need a little context before any radical re-planting programmes are initiated.
For the full results CLICK HERE but if you want to taste your way through the golds and silvers, there will be two public tastings held. The first will be on 9th June at the CTICC in Cape Town and then 10th June at the Sandton Sun in Johannesburg. Tickets cost R100 if purchased from Computicket before 5th June.
Trophy Winners and Gold Medallists at the Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show 2011.
Cape Point Vineyards Semillon 2006 TROPHY
Spier Creative Block 2 2010 (Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc) TROPHY
Fleur du Cap Unfiltered Special White Blend 2010 TROPHY
Lomond Sugarbush Sauvignon Blanc 2007 TROPHY
Delaire Coastal Cuveé Sauvignon Blanc 2010 TROPHY
Paul Cluver Chardonnay 2009 TROPHY
Jordan Riesling 2009 TROPHY
Hartenberg Weisser Riesling 1999 TROPHY
Nederburg Private Bin Eminence Noble Late Harvest Muscadel 2008 TROPHY
Nuy White Muskadel 2005 TROPHY
KWV White Jerepigo 1933 TROPHY
Thelema Sutherland Viognier Roussanne 2009
Buitenverwachting Husseys Vlei Sauvignon Blanc 2010
Tokara Zondernaam Sauvignon Blanc 2010
Chamonix Reserve Chardonnay 2009
KWV The Mentors Orchestra (Bordeaux Blend) 2009 TROPHY
Thelema Mountain Vineyards Shiraz 2007 TROPHY
KWV Cathedral Cellar Cabernet Sauvignon 1995 TROPHY
Meerlust Pinot Noir 2009 TROPHY
Rijk's Pinotage 2007 TROPHY
Hillcrest Quarry Merlot 2008 TROPHY
Ormonde Theodore Eksteen (Shiraz Blend) 2008 TROPHY
Spier Private Collection Shiraz 2008
Lomond Syrah 2008
Hillcrest Quarry Merlot 2009