03 August 2008

Top 10 Panel Tastes 138 Wines

Last week the 2008 Pinotage Top 10 Judging Panel tasted 136 wines, including eleven first time entries, over three days. This year’s judges, pictured above, (front row from left) were Graham Nash, Wendy Burridge and David Biggs ( back row from left ) Gert Boerssen, Francois Naudé,. Duimpie Bayly CWM (convenor), and Chris Roux.

International judge Graham Nash is product development manager and wine trader for UK supermarket Tesco and Thresher wine stores. His main task is to evaluate the quality of wines and he focuses on France, Germany and South Africa.

"I am very impressed with the Pinotage wines we judged. Most of the wines show a classic balance of fruit and wood treatment, as well as a good combination of complexity and elegance,” said Graham. “There are many rich, full-bodied wines that are also accessible. These Pinotage wines show a red cultivar with personality and distinctive characteristics. It can be compared with the highest quality wines of all the international wine cultivars. I have been tasting South African wines for quite a while now and Pinotage is showing more constant quality, year after year."

Duimpie Bayly said that the majority of the entries showed the best style and structure since he has been involved as a Top 10 Pinotage judge.

"It seems as if the 2006 and 2007 vintages delivered most of the top wines, with excellent balance and versatility, wines that will complement various dishes. These are not blockbuster wines and most of them can compete internationally,” said Duimpie."The flavours of mulberry, ripe plums and hints of tropical fruit stood out as typical of the cultivar. There was consensus about the wines that reached the finals and the wines that received the highest ranking. The wines were obviously tasted blind and we are looking forward to the results."

Winning wines will be announced on 27 August, during a lunch time ceremony at Neethlingshof Estate near Stellenbosch.

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