SA shines @ Commanderie on Bath

Neil Pendock June 22, 2014 Comments Off on SA shines @ Commanderie on Bath

With the SA University of Wine still an unrealized Stellenbosch dream of vinous entrepreneurs and cash-hungry University Business Schools, organizations such as the Commanderie de Bordeaux have an important role to play in educating SA wine lovers on the jewels of Bordeaux. Some were on show at 54 on Bath last week at the first Johannesburg meeting of the Commanderie. Here is patron Hanneli Rupert-Koegelenberg with the newly bottled Commandeurs.

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After the intronization, a tasting was held of Bordeaux and Bordeaux-style wines in a lecture room-style facility.

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By popular acclaim, the top three wines were an exciting Ch. Figeac St. Emilion 2001 that Cape Town’s queen of wine retail Caroline Rillema (above) estimated as being worth R5000 a bottle closely followed by an elegant Kanonkop Paul Sauer 2009 and the powerful Ernie Els Signature 2008. The SA duo were definitely in the same league as the Figeac which opens up a wonderful retail opportunity for these wines in France with recent vintages of Bordeaux most dire and expensive to boot. A lethal combination.

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At dinner, I was seated next to Cape Wine Academy principal Kristina Beuthner CWM who will offer strong competition to Cathy Marston and her UK WSET machine in the wine education arena. If the Cape Wine Academy courses don’t persuade, the geographic location in Johannesburg, capital of fine wine in SA, should. Something for the wannabe founders of a SA University of Wine to consider as they look for new premises after the Quoin Rock fiasco.

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Food served was exciting, as the olive oil yolk (above) confirms and the only off note was a local 2010 vintage Bordeaux blend. Of four bottles opened, one was oxidized, two were corked and one was brilliant. As I said to Ruan, the super efficient restaurant manager, I’d send the whole lot back to the supplier (he’d bought the stock only two weeks before) and ask for my money back. A 25% success rate is surely not a passing grade, even at a University of Wine. Miguel Chan, group sommelier, will surely be onto this.

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