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  • Jancis Robinson
  • Julia Harding MW
Written by
  • Jancis Robinson
  • & Julia Harding MW
5 Jun 2009


Early last month Julia flew to South Africa to be a judge with Michel Bettane and Brian Croser of the Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show. Here is the announcement of the results, a few days late owing to 'a breakdown in communication', as they say. Not as severe as that currently afflicting our government anyway.

Nederburg repeated its 2008 success when the Paarl cellar again won the Fairbairn Capital Trophy for the Most Successful Producer at the 2009 Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show. The competition, judged over four days in early May at the Grande Roche in Paarl, attracted a record 1,155 entries from 257 cellars. Nederburg secured the Most Successful Producer slot with trophies for its Noble Late Harvest 2007 (best Noble Late Harvest) and Private Bin Eminence Muscadel Natural Sweet 2008 (best Natural Sweet), a gold medal for the Noble Late Harvest 2008 plus seven silver medals and eleven bronze medals. Kleine Zalze secured second position in the Most Successful Producer rankings, followed by Fleur du Cap and Vergelegen in joint third position.

This result confirms the now widely acknowledged improvement in the standard of Nederburg's wines in the past five years. Razvan Macici as Cellarmaster, White-wine maker Tariro Masayiti and Red-wine maker Wim Truter have been focusing on fruit sources, managing batch processing and refining production techniques to optimise quality at all levels of the winemaking process. However, the narrow margin by which Nederburg secured the Fairbairn Capital Trophy from Kleine Zalze and the clear evidence of a red wine renaissance at Vergelegen suggests that rivalry for the Show's top slot has been tougher than ever before.

This year's competition yielded 25 gold medals in total - one more than in the last three years [although Julia reported that golds had to be squeezed out of the judges on occasion - JR]. The silver medal count of 70 was substantially higher than in 2007 and 2008; likewise the bronze medal tally of 331 was a significant improvement on 2008 (by 36%) and in line with the average percentage since the inaugural 2002 show.

Co-convenor of the competition (together with WINE magazine) and Chairman of the Judges, Michael Fridjhon comments: "There are clear signs that the quality improvements noted in the 2008 show have been carried forward into this year's competition. To an extent this can be measured by the higher percentage of silver and bronze medals as more and more producers cross the necessary threshold. It is also evident in the increased gold medal count in classes where massive new plantings are reaching maturity (Shiraz) and producers have been more focused in their fruit handling (Sauvignon Blanc and Chenin Blanc). But for the absence of gold medals in a couple of the red wine classes [Ah! They must have been the Cabernet/Bordeaux ones Julia was judging - JR] , the number of trophies would also have reflected the palpable step-up we have been tracking over the past few years."

AUDITED* RESULTS OF 2009 OLD MUTUAL TROPHY WINE SHOW

Fairbairn Capital Trophy for the Most Successful Producer 2009: Nederburg Wines
Old Mutual Trophy for Best Red Wine Overall: Kleine Zalze Family Reserve Shiraz 2007
Old Mutual Trophy for Best White Wine Overall: Simonsig Woolworths Limited Release Chenin Blanc 2008
Old Mutual Trophy for Discovery of the Show (Best Value): Ashton Unwooded Chardonnay 2008
Old Mutual Trophy for Best Port: Bredell's Cape Vintage Reserve 2003

American Express Trophy for Best Cabernet Sauvignon: Kleine Zalze Family Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2007
British Airways Comair Limited Trophy for Best Shiraz: Kleine Zalze Family Reserve Shiraz 2007
Miele Trophy for Best Wooded Chardonnay: Tokara Stellenbosch Chardonnay 2007
Riedel Glass Trophy for Best Bordeaux-Style Red Blend: Saronsberg Nick & Forti's Epicentre 2005

Trophy for Best Unwooded Sauvignon Blanc: Lomond Sugarbush Sauvignon Blanc 2007
Trophy for Best Chenin Blanc: Simonsig Woolworths Limited Release Chenin Blanc 2008
Trophy for Best Unwooded Chardonnay: Ashton Unwooded Chardonnay 2008
Trophy for Best Wooded Sauvignon Blanc Semillon White Blend: Vergelegen White 2007
Trophy for Best Wooded White Blend: Fleur du Cap Limited Release Unfiltered Viognier Chardonnay Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2007
Trophy for Best Noble Late Harvest Dessert Wine: Nederburg Noble Late Harvest 2007
Trophy for Best Natural Sweet Dessert Wine: Nederburg Private Bin Eminence Muscadel Natural Sweet 2008
Trophy for Best Fortified Dessert Wine (Red): Monis Wood-matured Muscadel 2001
Trophy for Best Museum Class Wooded Sauvignon Blanc: Tokara White 2005
Trophy for Best Museum Class Wooded Chardonnay: Chamonix Chardonnay 1999
Trophy for Best Museum Class Fortified Dessert Wine: Nuy White Muscadel 1986

OTHER GOLD MEDAL WINNERS:
Axe Hill Cape Vintage 2006
Fleur du Cap Unfiltered Sauvignon Blanc 2008 (unwooded)
Haskell Pillars Shiraz 2007
Kanu KCB Chenin Blanc 2006 (wooded)
Kleine Zalze Vineyard Selection Shiraz 2007
Lomond Pincushion Sauvignon Blanc 2007 (unwooded)
Nederburg Noble Late Harvest 2008
Raka Biography Shiraz 2007
Vergelegen Red 2004

SILVER MEDAL WINNERS:
Baarsma Lyngrove Platinum Latitude 2007
Beaumont Hope Marguerite 2008
Boplaas Show Reserve Cape Tawny Port NV
Boplaas Vintner's Reserve Cape Tawny Port NV
Bouchard Finlayson Galpin Peak Pinot Noir 2008
Brampton Sauvignon Blanc 2008
Buitenverwachting South East Sauvignon Blanc 2002
Chamonix Reserve Pinot Noir 2007
Creation Pinot Noir 2008
D'Aria Sauvignon Blanc 2008
De Krans Garden Route Shiraz 2007
Diemersdal Eight Rows Sauvignon Blanc 2008
Eaglevlei Pinotage 2007
Eikendal Sauvignon Blanc 2008
Emineo Liber II 2007
Flagstone Dark Horse Shiraz 2007
Flagstone Dragon Tree 2006
Flagstone Free Run 2008
Flagstone Two Roads 2005
Flagstone Two Roads 2008
Flagstone Writer's Block Pinotage 2007
Fleur du Cap Laszlo 2006
Fleur du Cap Unfiltered Limited Release Sauvignon Blanc 2008
Graham Beck Shiraz 1998
Hartenberg Sauvignon Blanc 2008
Hartenberg Shiraz 2005
Haskell Aeon 2007
Hermanuspietersfontein Die Bartho 2008
Hillcrest Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2006
Hillcrest Sauvignon Blanc 2005
Kleine Zalze Vineyard Selection Cabernet Sauvignon 2007
Koelenbosch Merlot 2007
KWV Laborie Cap Classique 2003
Laibach Claypot Merlot 2006
Le Manoir de Brendel Shiraz 2005
Lord's Barrel Fermented Chardonnay 2008
Lourensford Viognier 2008
Meerendal Sauvignon Blanc 2008
Mulderbosch Barrel Fermented Chardonnay 2006
Nederburg Ingenuity 2008
Nederburg Private Bin Edelkeur Chenin Blanc Noble Late Harvest 2005
Nederburg Private Bin R121 Shiraz 2006
Nederburg The Winemaster's Reserve Chenin Blanc 2007
Nederburg Winemasters Reserve Chenin Blanc 2008
Nederburg Winemasters Reserve Rhine Riesling 2008
Nederburg Winemasters Reserve Shiraz 2007
Neil Ellis Vineyard Selection Sauvignon Blanc 2008
Nicolas van der Merwe Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon Shiraz 2004
Ormonde Ondine Semillon 2008
Ormonde Theodore Eksteen 2007
Rickety Bridge Chardonnay 2006
Riebeek Cape Vintage 2005
Rijk's Pinotage 2005
Rijk's Sauvignon Blanc 2007
Seidelberg Rosé 2008
Slaley Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2006
Springfontein Jonathan's Ridge Pinotage 2007
Stark-Conde Three Pines Jonkershoek Cabernet Sauvignon 2007
Stellenzicht Rhapsody 2006
Stellenzicht Syrah 2003
Strandveld Adamastor 2008
The High Road Classique 2006
Tokara White 2007
Tulbagh Mountain Vineyards Woolworths Syrah Mourvédre 2005
Val de Vie 2006
Vergelegen 2005 (White)
Vergelegen The Talisman 2007 (Cabernet Franc Merlot)
Vilafonte 'C' Series 2006
Villiera Woolworths MCC Premier Cuvee Brut 2003
Zevenwacht 360º Sauvignon Blanc 2008