08 September 2008

Cape Blends and Pinotages at 2008 CWG Auction

Cape Winemakers Guild annually auctions rare small production special wines made by their members. This year’s auction, the 23rd, will be on Saturday 27 September 2008 at the Cape Town International Convention Centre.

Niels Verburg, owner/winemaker of Luddite, was in London last week showing the wines.

Of interest to Pinotage fans are Cape Blends from Danie Steytler of Kaapzicht Estate and Beyers Truter of Beyerskloof, who also has a varietal Pinotage in the auction. These three were available to taste. Not available for tasting, but in the auction is a mature CWG Pinotage last auctioned in 2001. This is Hidden Valley CWG Pinotage 2000 made by Jeremy Walker of Grangehurst

It was interesting to compare two Cape Blends from recognised masters of the style.

Kaapzicht Cape Blend Auction Reserve 2006 (Cabernet Sauvignon 50%, Pinotage 30%, Merlot 20%) WO Bottelary, 14.29%abv. Danie says the three cultivars were vinified separately, then the best tanks went to new French oak barrels sourced from three different coopers for 24 months. The best barrels were selected for blending for this wine of which 1320 bottles were made. 50 cases of 6 are in the auction. Danie reckons it needs at least 4-6 years “for the treasures to be revealed.”

I found dense fruit in this tight firm tannic wine that cried out for decanting. I found it acidic on the finish

Beyerskloof Cape Blend 2006 (Pinotage 41%, Shiraz 41%, Cabernet Sauvignon 9%,Merlot 9%) WO Stellenbosch, 14.47%abv. This is a barrel selection from wine aged 18 months in new French oak. 3318 bottles were made, of which 66 boxes of 6 are in the auction.

This is more approachable, with bright sweet black fruits. It feels light bodied and a bit dusty, and sharp on the finish.

I was disappointed with the finish of both wines which seemed overly acidic. I’m pushed to say which I prefer: for immediate drinking I’d choose the Beyerskloof but think both are made for the long haul when that acidity will have subdued.

Beyerskloof Pinotage 2006
WO Stellenbosch 14.74%abv.

Beyers Truter says that these wines came from pre-selected blocks, aged for 18 months in two-thirds new French oak barrels, and then barrel selected for CWG.

Soft and gentle with ripe dusty plum and blackberry fruit flavours, layers of complex fruits leading down to a framework of structured tannins and balanced fruit acids. Perfect.

The 2006 vintage has been, in my opinion, Beyerskloofs best. The basic white label Pinotage is a great everyday wine - and marvellous with a take away from the Indian restaurant, the Tesoc's own label Reserve is excellent and the black label Reserve is superb. Two more 2006, another Reserve bottling and one named Diesel (in remembrance of a sadly missed dog) both won in last months Top 10.

And for the future the 2007 white label is now in my local shops and tastes great also.

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