“Stellenbosch owns Shiraz” is the message from the 2nd Shiraz SA competition that saw 193 entries vie for a place in the Top 12, two more than the more decimally oriented FNB Sauvignon Blanc Top 10. And for once the competition was not sponsored by a bank but rather a barrel company that nobody could pronounce: Berthomieu. Which sounds like the first Portuguese to round the Cape in the 15th century, but it isn’t.

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Stellenbosch should be renamed Shirazbosch as 5 of the top 12 hailed from Oak City: Boschkloof (x2), Hartenberg, Jordan and Oldenburg that has just appointed a new winemaker in the shape of Philip Costandius, allowing Simon Thompson to exit stage left, on a high note. In the red blends they did even better, with half the top four announced at the Vineyard Hotel.

Paarl came second in the Shiraz stakes with three entries thanks to Fairview and KWV. Yesterday’s Mentors 2012 is in as is the 2012 Abraham Perold Insignis which sounds like a Nelson Mandela movie with Madiba played by a passing black American. Except in this case, the starring role is played by the ever so diplomatic Johann Fourie, who spells his Christian name like Mr. Rupert but is quite different in person.

What a week for KWV! Against all expectations, Franschhoekfranschhoekcellarwines Shirazbosch
by franschhoekwines
is in with two: Rickety Bridge and Black Elephant Vintners, a virtual Co-op. But strangely, apart from KWV, no other Co-op wines featured, which is curious, because I personally rate the Black Granite from Darling Cellars and the Dry Land from Perdeberg.

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I was late as usual for the tasting before lunch, but stumbled upon two gems: the 1685 Boschedal S&M (above) for fans of Miss Whiplash and at R85 a bottle, way cheaper than a bondage session in Bellville. Even cheaper yet and only 8 years younger, is the Eenzaamheid Cuvee 1693 made by Janno Briers-Louw (below, excuse the rhyme) at all of R60 a bottle. In the words of Peter Fridjhon, this wine is a gimme. Shiraz dominates with a 25% Pinotage component, it exhibits the remarkable Swartland FreshnessTM poseurs found in the Mentors whites at the Test Kitchen yesterday.

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