Paedophiles look away now. Perhaps the most pleasurable fixture of the annual Tops at Spar Orange River Winemaker of the Year Awards is the judges’ blind tasting before the Sharks beat whoever they are playing that year. Six judges each bring two wines and this year the highlight was older SA reds, beating even the finest of French like the Chateau d’Issan 2006 and Haut-Goujon 2005 brought by panel chair Tinus van Niekerk (below). Tinus achieved the impossible at Veritas earlier this month when his Le Geminus 2010 Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc blend won double gold. The first supermarket wine to do so and making a nonsense of the claim by Platanna editor Phillip van Zyl that a supermarket wine should not score more than three stars. Easy to do when you taste sighted as his guide does. But how then does he explain the string of five star Woolies Cape Point wines which get acclaimed while the “same wine” from the producer fails to become a platanna paladin?
A cynic might wonder if Le Geminus was in Christian Eedes’s recent casual Sauvignon blend “blind” tasting? For you may expect it to be, as Xtian is a Spar Fundi. But while it would be more than a match for the Hermit Horrors of SBIG secretary (did he really resign?) Pieter pippijoller de Waal, as a 2010, it would have been too youthful as 2009 were up.
But what is interesting is calibration of SA web scores. Christian, a far better taster than the Wine Lizard for the under sixties, rated the Hermit Horror 95/100 while Lizzie was boasting in Bidet on Friday 90/100 is the highest Chardonnay score in his database. Since few would seriously argue that Sauvignon Blanc can reach the heights of the great white grape of Burgundy, this would seem to imply sub-90 Lizard ratings for Sauvignon. Oops! Guess who producers will tend to favour when it comes to getting their wines rated on the interwebs!
The winning oldsters are shown above. Nederburg Cabernet 1996 in poll position with an average score of 18.21/20 followed by the Delheim Grand Reserve 1995 at 17.92 and then the Klein Constantia Cabernet 1997 at 17.71. Fiona McDonald brought #1 and #3 while #2 was from my Killarney Kollection. Proud Portuguese Joaquim Sa brought along a 40 year old Grahams Tawny Port and a White Port from Dirk Niepoort. Both bliss.