26 July 2009

Pinotage Judges Struggle

Judges at the 2009 ABSA Top 10 Pinotage Competition found it particularly difficult to select just 10 winning wines from the 139 entries.

Allan Cheesman, former Director of Wine for Sainsbury's supermarkets in the UK and now a consultant to several wine businesses, said "I have been tasting wine for 37 years and this was a great experience, with all the superb wines, breathtaking Cape winelands and the sincerity of the Pinotage people. More than ten years ago Pinotage was like shepherd's pie, every granny made it differently. Today the Pinotage red wine from South Africa is a benchmark in the global world of wine as a top quality international variety. Pinotage and Chenin blanc are South Africa's icon red and white wines, you own them. It was almost impossible to select the top ten wines and I also would have had a tough time ranking the top thirty."

South African wine writer Neil Pendock said "it was a very hard task to select the top ten. More than 100 of the 139 wines which we tasted are of top quality, hardly any of those wines were disappointing. At least thirty wines deserve to be winners. The 2007 vintage produced most of the great wines."

Duimpie Bayly, Cape Wine Master and convener of the panel agreed. "The wines showed elegance and beautiful fruit, while sensible wood treatment created a fine balance of flavours. There were very few bad wines and the 2007 vintage stood out with wines of supreme quality. The competition was very strong and even choosing the top thirty wines would not have been easy."In the first two days all the entries were tasted and on the last day the final 28 wines, followed by the final 20 wines and out of those the 2009 Absa Top 10 Pinotage Competition winners were chosen. Each of the twenty finalist wines will be tested for micro-biological activity by an accredited laboratory to ensure it has a long shelve life with natural Pinotage characteristics.

The results will be announced on 27 August at the Val de Vie Wine and Polo Estate near Paarl.

The judges of the 2009 Absa Top 10 Pinotage Competition, pictured above are, from left: Duimpie Bayly, Francois Naudé, Allan Cheesman, Neil Pendock, Wendy Burridge, Chris Roux and Gert Boerssen.

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