Nederburg Auction manager Christine Joubert is delighted by the response to the wines on this year's line-up, tasted by some of the panellists visiting South Africa to judge at the recent Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show. About 140 wines, representing just under 70 producers, will come under the hammer of auctioneer Stephan Welz at Nederburg on 28 and 29 September 2007.
“As a benchmarking exercise, we asked chairman Michael Fridjhon if we could circulate just a handful of wines amongst his overseas judges who may not have had experience of our older vintages. The idea was for them to taste the wines informally over lunch and then let us know their reactions,” says Joubert.
Fridjhon said the four wines tasted had all been well-received. The Hamilton Russell Vineyards Pinot Noir 2002 was in “excellent” condition, “still with fresh black cherry and strawberry aromas, but also now developing some of the forest-floor notes typical of Pinot's secondary character”. He praised its beautiful balance, great length and “spice carrying all the way to the finish”.
He selected the Zonnebloem Shiraz 2001 as a “lovely example” of the older Cape style of this variety to show to Jancis Robinson, who had chaired the trophy show's Shiraz panel. The tannins were found to be “now soft and almost creamy, the bouquet surprisingly fresh, showing slight raspberry whiffs, but becoming leathery and quite gentle”.
Kanonkop's Paul Sauer 1995, tried at Steven Spurrier's table, he said, showed “lovely nutty aromas, still some red fruit notes, but all now harmonising into an elegant, beautifully balanced and very refined Bordeaux look-alike”.
To give an illustration of a local rendition of a super-ripe Cabernet Sauvignon, he chose a 2001 vintage produced by first-timer on the auction, De Trafford. The wine was described as “big, dense, rich and intense, still showing plenty of primary red and black fruit, seamless tannin management and great opulence”.
“That these wines met with such a favourable response,” says Joubert “is very encouraging news. While we value the insights of local judges, we believe it equally important to learn how our wines are gauged by those with an outside perspective.”
She said the 2007 Nederburg Auction collection was smaller than in the past but very carefully chosen to reflect an array of styles that expressed the potential of South African sites and winemaking skills.