The winemaking team at Blaauwklippen believes that every wine is an expression of the unique personality of the people who create it. This is the principle behind their annual blending competition, where they encourage wine lovers across South Africa to create a wine which reflects their own personal taste and style. The Blaauwklippen Blending Competition is the only wine contest in the country where amateur wine clubs are given the opportunity to submit their own blends for judging by a panel of professional wine experts.
This year saw the 30th anniversary of this prestigious, well thought out, and consumer-driven competition. Ninety red blends were entered into this year’s competition. All entrants received a selection of four barrel matured wines which included a Merlot 2012, Malbec 2011, Cabernet Franc 2011 and Shiraz 2010. All four these wines had to be used in creating the submitted blend and the Shiraz component had to be limited to a maximum of 20% of the total blend. The challenge to the clubs was to produce a complex, serious dry red blend with a subtle tannin structure and a good balance – a wine with finesse and freshness which can be enjoyed soon, but also allows potential for cellaring.
After the clubs had determined the ideal percentage of blending components to create their final wine, the blends were tasted by a panel of wine judges to determine the final four.
All finalists are treated to a fun filled and informative weekend in the winelands, courtesy of the Protea Hotel Stellenbosch, and every finalist club is treated to a personal visit and exclusive wine tasting by Rolf Zeitvogel, Blaauwklippen’s Cellar Master. The winning club gets the honour of having their blend bottled under the Blaauwklippen Barouche label and sold commercially.
This year four finalist were:
- Winemag.co.za Wine Club from Cape Town the Western Cape.
- Oude Molen Wynkring from Potchefstroom in the North-West Province.
- Web Wine Society from Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape.
- The Natalia Wine Society from KwaZulu-Natal
The latter walked away with the 2013 Blending Trophy. The Natalia Wine Society was formed some thirty years ago by a group of friends and colleagues, and is named after the Province of Natal and consist out of 28 members. The club meets each month in the evenings, with tastings provided by distributors and cellars, enabling members to sample wine varieties, followed by a small supper, catered in turn by members.
According to the club’s spokesperson, Laurence Davies, the objective of the society is to “encourage an awareness of wine, to offer members the opportunity of learning about and appreciating wine and to provide a forum for social interaction among members, producers and purveyors of wine”.
The winning blend was a sophisticated blend of 28% Merlot, 32% Malbec, 22% Cabernet Franc and 18% Shiraz. The label for the winning blend is based on a specially designed artwork by well-known Stellenbosch artist, Frans Groenewald.
The wine is sold in Magnum bottles from selected retail outlets, and from the tasting centre on the farm at R144 per bottle.