All jokes aside and rip-offs expected, how good are the wines offered on the annual Cape Winemakers’ Guild Auction? The thought banged around between my ears like a pinball yesterday afternoon as I waded through 10 of the 13 Shirazes and Syrahs to be offered at this year’s Richie Rich bun fight at Spier in October aka the CWG Auction.
And then wine # 33 – a 2011 vintage Syrah called Sijnn, was served. Made by Mr. Nice Guy David Trafford (below), the whole point of the CWG was made in one glass. The ability to present small volume experimental wines to wine lovers. And I’m not talking about the hordes of the Wine Entitled, looking forward to the crayfish samoosas that have been a staple of the fried food canapes served to survivors of the tasting for the past three years. As my friend Shyam Longani, keeper of the keys to the Taj spice rack, notes “samoosas are so common.” This year they weren’t served but the snacks still managed to plumb the depths of despair. Cheese and mielie samoosas.
The other revolutionary wine that blew back my hair was the De Grendel wooded Sauvignon Blanc 2013 from the Ceres Plateau. I confidently predict that Witzenberg will rewrite the terroir map of SA and this is one of the first teases. Made from second crop fruit, if I owned a farm in Durbanville, I’d be phoning Pam Golding.
The “single” Chenin (if you ignore Teddy Hall’s super sticky, as all the winemakers who commented that there was only one Chenin on the Auction, did) from Rijk’s shows just how superior the varietal is to too green Sauvignon while Johan Malan’s Roussanne 2012 showed the mileage possible from “freaky” varietals.
John Loubser’s Bordeaux blend called 13 is more a tribute to the late, great JJ Cale than any of the dubious numerology explanations he quoted.
“Thirteen days on gig down south
We got enough dope to keep us all high
We got two girls dancing to pick up the crowd
Sound man to mix us, make us sound loud
Sometimes we make money
Sometimes we don’t know
Thirteen days with life to go.”
As for the rest, I would not kick Pieter Ferreira’s Non Plus Ultra bubbly out of my cellar and would give both barrels of the Lanner Hill Double Barrel White 2012 to the opportunistic soutpiele and trolls at www.winenews.co.za as a peace offering. The Grangehurst 2007 is as groovy as Jeremy Walker while the Kanonkop Paul Sauer 2010 and Etienne le Riche 2010 Cab are both tit, but unlikely to come cheap. Unlike Jan Boland Coetzee’s 2007 Vriesenhof Cab, which could be a steal if his fan club are at the rugby.
The Hartenberg 2010 Shiraz has more perfume than a French model and less hair while Carel Nel’s 1880 Potstill Brandy is a triumph and worth outspanning your wallet for. A most interesting experience and for many, the highlight of the annual tasting calender. On the other hand, if you want some decent wine to drink rather than an ego experience, the Dry Land range from Perdeberg is warmly recommended. At under R80 for all the wines, this Dry Land is cheaper than the meanest crumb to fall from a CWG samoosa.