In Vino, Veritas

Sauvignon Blanc was the largest class at Veritas this year with 201 entries yielding 8 double golds: Brampton, Cool Bay, De Grendel Koetshuis, Graham Beck Pheasants’ Run (or Peasants Run as Platter memorable rebranded it and they taste labels), Hidden Valley all 2013, another Graham Beck Pheasants’ Run and Rivendell from 2012 and a Flagstone Free Run 2011.

IMG 1135 300x168 In Vino, Veritas

Last week the tasters for the FNB Sauvignon Blanc competition reported on their opinions of 207 wines in the form of a Top Ten:

Alexanderfontein Chip Off The Old Block 2013
Boschendal Reserve Collection 2013
Cape of Good Hope Altima 2013
Cape Point Vineyards Reserve 2012
Cape Point Vineyards Woolworths 2012
Franschoek Cellar Statue de Femme 2013
Kleine Zalze Family Reserve 2012
Nederburg Private Bin D234 2012
Phizante Kraal 2013
Thelema 2013

There is not one wine in common. In fact Johann Rupert’s Cape of Good Hope Altima 2013, the Boschendal Reserve, Kleine Zalze Family Reserve and Nederburg Private Bin all struggled at Bronze in Veritas, so it looks like FNB was completely out of sync with the heavyweight Veritas panel chaired by Thys Louw from Diemersdal and including such luminaries as Distell senior winemaker Kobus Gerber, SPAR Fundi Samarie Smith, RJ Botha ex Nitida, Nicolaas Rust, Bennie Avenant and Johan Larsson, wine advisor to the King and Queen of Sweden.

Veritas is the largest wine show in SA and has been running for 23 years and judges have to pass a tasting exam before their opinion is noted. The FNB indulgence has been running for a couple of years and is driven by SBIG, the Sauvignon Blanc Interest Group. Outgoing FNB CEO Michael Jordaan has a personal interest in Sauvignon Blanc as his wife Rose makes one of the best at Bartinney. Perhaps he can suggest a way out of this impasse.

The reason for all these high profile competitions which suck millions out of SA wine and cost sponsors plentsch is surely to provide consumers with reliable advice. Nebdank/Old Mutual is hopeless, as 66% of whites at their Toasty Wine Show reportedly (and unbelievably) showed a TCA fault while contradictory results abound at other tourneys. There are quite obviously more serious service delivery issues with wine competitions than the Northern Cape has KFC outlets and producers and sponsors need to clean out the fluff and engage in a bit of serious navel gazing as the status quo is quite frankly preposterous.