With that beautiful “Badenhorst Family Wines Kalmoesfontein Semillon Noble Late Harvest 2008” (what a mouthful) still lingering on my lips, I drove home from the Nedbank Cape Winemakers Guild tutored tasting yesterday, wondering what I could possibly write about the event, that would be of relevance to my readers.
(Guild members, if you’re reading this, please don’t complain to the organiser for my cheek and gate crashing, I just said I was the “Weather Girl” and they let me in…)
Don’t get me wrong, I love the event and the exquisite opportunity to learn. Also it’s not stuffy at all with lots of wisdom and wit shared by these great men of wine, and I really was in awe while trying to keep up. But as far as the average garden variety wine diva goes, these wines are a little bit out of my league, and I am not scared to admit it. For the most part the wines are big and beautiful, for a serious wine buyer who has some sort of an impressive basement type cellar below his Camps Bay mansion, and lots of virtuous patience to wait for the investment to mature. Some of the top selling wines go for R5000 for 6 x 750ml bottles on auction – that’s my wine budget for about 70 bottles.
The after party snacks were delicious, but I did have a close call with a mushroom, not knowing it was a mushroom dressed in crumbs, and I am apparently allergic. I didn’t stay very long afterwards to chat and rub shoulders fearing that someone might ask me what I thought. The souvenir black teeth I got to take home from a long-legged lineup of valiant reds may be another reason for my making a quick exit. I looked like I had taken one of those purple fluoride plaque tablets.
Am I not supposed to be this honest about my wine ambitions? With wine I know what I like and certainly taste when I don’t like what’s in my glass, much to my friends’ growing disdain and refusal to let me order wine by the glass anymore, but I also can’t pretend to have a trained enough palate to judge wines that may only be ideal for drinking in 10 years time. I certainly can’t claim either that I am going to bid for any of the wines on auction. I will most likely be grabbing a Saronsberg Provenance Rooi or a Hidden Valley’s Pinotage in the isle at the supermarket, when the big spenders, like Alan Pick of The Butcher Shop & Grill, bid on rare wines at the Nedbank CWG auction on 3 October and part with 3 times enough to pay off my townhouse, park a blue MINI cooper in the garage and have enough change for me to take that extended holiday to Italy I have been dreaming about, but must instead settle for Italian Cooking Workshop with De Grendel Wines.
And as far as linking it to my target audience goes, CWG is a brotherhood of winemakers that judge each other’s wines and chuckle over who is greying and balding more than the next one. Try find a “Women’s month” angle in that! Bruce Jack from Flagstone Wines even confessed that he has been begging for a secret handshake so long that he finally named his red auction wine “Secret Handshake”. Mmm but I did like the name and the taste of his intensely drinkable white wine on auction called “Weather Girl”, but whether or not I’ll ever get my hands on a glass and a half of it again someday is the big question.
Ok ok, I confess my earlier embellishment; I am able to find a very worthy “Women’s month” angle. There is a strong fundraising element to the CWG Auction in the form of a silent auction. Funds raised through the Silent Auction are donated to the Nedbank CWG Development Trust, which assists with education and empowerment of young people from previously disadvantaged wine farming communities.
Announced in May this year, the first recipients of the Cape Winemakers Guild Protégé Bursaries are Tamsyn Jeftha, who hopes to graduate from the University of Stellenbosch this year, and Sacha Claassen, who is in her final year at Elsenburg Agricultural College. Both these women winemaking students received bursaries to the value of R30,000 to assist them with their studies. The Trust also supports the high school education of talented young girls from previously disadvantaged backgrounds, such as Bloemhof High School for girls in Stellenbosch. The Trust’s first two learners, Vanessa van Niekerk and Cindy-Lee Fredericks, both of Cloetesville, joined the school in 2006.
Anyway ladies, I decided that just for fun and to be cheeky like the diva I am, I would bring you the unendorsed “Wine Diva CWG Awards” as a takeaway for you from my experience. Since not many of us have a chance to see these talented and certainly too modest men of wine-honours, who sit on their stoeps over-looking their best blocks of vines, determining who they can challenge next year with a cultivar that they don’t even grow.
So without further adieu, drumroll please, here is the “Weather Girl’s” report from the Red Carpet at The first annual Wine Diva CWG Awards:
… My favourite wines (am I allowed?) : Beyerskloof Pinotage 2007, Saronsberg Dewalt Heyns Shiraz/ Viognier 2006, Cederberg Private Cellar Semillion 2009, Cederberg Teen die Hoog Shiraz 2007 and that long-winded Kalmoesfontein one.
… The best sense of humour: David Nieuwoudt from Cederburg, with Bruce Jack from Flagstone as runner-up.
… The most likely to choose “cowboy” as an alternative career option:
Adi Badenhorst of Badenhorst Family Vineyards
… The most likely to be going “Back to the Future” with Marty McFly and Doc Brown:
Johan Malan from Simonsig with his pinotage philosophy “the future lies in the past”.
… The best looking: Kevin Arnold, (no, not the Fred Savage character from the TV series, The Wonder Years), the winemaker from Waterford.
… The most likely to upset his neighbour with his beautiful Cabernet Sauvignon:
Louis Nel from Hidden Valley Winery
… The most likely to be visiting a European country near to Italy sometime quite soon: Etienne le Riche of Le Riche (If your surname is anything to go by, please can I tag along?)
…Your Best Port in a storm and selling Christmas cake by the glass: Carel Nel from Boplaas
…Hemel en Aarde that’s a lekker Pinot Noir (even after all that Chardonnay): Peter Finlayson from Bouchard Finlayson
… The Most Decorous Nose presented: Bernhard Veller from Nitida
… Knows Pinotage like the back of his terroir: Beyers Truter (my friend Ashley calls his pinotage: “A meal in a glass”)
… Most likely to take the scenic route to rooikappie’s house: Neil Ellis from Neil Ellis (also enjoyed his sense of humour)
… Most interesting op-die-plaas Groot Trek stories: Charles Hopkins from De Grendel
… Most charismatic and yet the Most Green Behind the Guild: Duncan Savage of Cape Point Vineyards
… Most likely to catch a shooting star and put it in his pocket, save it for a New Years day: Jeff Grier of Villeria with his stellar Shooting Star Brut 2005.
I had the most esteemed time tasting “teen die hoog” with the leaders in the art of winemaking, and scribbling down these informal crib notes on my FORMAL tutored tasting sheet. I am actually hoping to crack the nod again next year… ok, at least to the Public Showcase? Pretty please!
PS: I must visit Kalmoesfontein, sounds like a fascinating place!
PPS: You can still catch the JHB Public Showcase to taste these glorious wines and the actual auction, I think bidding starts at R80 a bottle:
- Johannesburg Nedbank Cape Winemakers Guild Auction Showcase
Thursday, 27 August 2009
The Atrium, Nedbank Sandton, 135 Rivonia Road
18:30 to 21:30
R100 per person including a tasting glass
- The Nedbank CWG Auction will be taking place on Saturday, 3 October at 09h00 at Spier Conference Centre in the Stellenbosch Winelands. To purchase your tickets to the Auction Showcase and find out how you can obtain these rare and exclusive wines visit: www.capewinemakersguild.com, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Tel: +27 +21 852 0408.