Looking for golden threads


Friday’s Checkers Battle of die Berge judging at Muratie won one battle in the war against Wosa, bulk exports and wine as an anonymous commodity. Six brands were identified by rigorous blind tasting of a panel under the chairmanship of Boland wine bobaas Danie de Wet (below with Checkers wine buyer Stephanus Eksteen and judge Maggie Mostert). Danie’s instructions to judges set the philosophical groundwork for this endeavour.

IMG 1039 300x168 Looking for golden threads

Judging these two regions, probably the Cape’s most important wine regions in terms of history and achievements over many years should be seen as a huge honour and the event has the potential to turn into something special and unique. The primary aim is to award wines which best reflect site-specificity of the Simonsberg and Helderberg regions. We know both regions produce excellence. But now we as judges have the responsibility of deciding what role site-specific terroir plays in creating this excellence in wines from Simonsberg and Helderberg and which wines subsequently best express their geographical DNA

Judging wines in this context totally distinguishes “Battle of the Berge” from other wine competitions and affords the event more gravitas and a more comprehensive narrative than the many straightforward “beauty contests” on the South African – and international – calendar.

To pave the way, the judging itself will be pre-empted with a discussion aimed at discovering the specific characteristics judges could look for in wines from Simonsberg and Helderberg. In other words, to discover site specific flavours, aromas and general presence of character in the wines from each region. Once these site specific characteristics have been agreed upon and we know what we are looking for, we can proceed with the judging of the wines.

It is important that we all agree we are looking for wines reflecting typicity. The end result, and this is our responsibility, is to identify a golden thread identifying and characterising each specific region so as to create an awareness of this thread running through all the top examples from the Helderberg and Simonsberg.

If we can discover this, the competition would have been a resounding success. The mind-set we all have to adopt is thus not one simply looking to identify the best wines, but a search for wines which are the best reflectors of each region and of course these must be wines of great qualities.

I look forward to meeting you and spending what I believe is going to be a wonderful day judging wines on a level that has not been done before. And I hope you are as excited as I am.