Some of the world’s best judges are meeting at the Nederburg Auction Complex in Paarl this week to look for the best wines and brandies to receive the sought-after Veritas medals. A total of 1 638 wines and brandies from 256 participants are being tasted during the week until Friday 8 September.
Joe Wadsack (UK), Nikita Nördstrom (Sweden), Michael Franz (USA), Paula Bosch (Germany) and Denis Lahouratate and Jean Francois Joumier (both from France) will join forces with close to 100 local wine and brandy experts to find the best wines on show during the five-day blind tasting.
The six most hotly-contested categories in terms of entries received, are: Red Blends (228), Sauvignon Blanc (174), Shiraz (169), Cabernet Sauvignon (139), Chardonnay (122) and Chenin Blanc (119)
Meet the experts
UK-based Joe Wadsack currently co-hosts the British TV series BBC Food & Drink and is the new wine expert on This Morning on ITV1 with two other wine enthusiasts. Renowned for his brilliant palate, Joe studied wine in Bordeaux before working as a buyer at Waitrose and is now a consultant and speaker. He is a regular international judge at wine competitions throughout the world, including the UK, South Africa, Australia, and Chile.
Nikita Nördstrom from Sweden worked in the restaurant industry as a sommelier before joining Systembolaget, the Swedish monopoly in 2013. She completed her WSET Diploma a year later and is the buyer responsible for South Africa and Asia.
Michael Franz (USA) is the editor of Wine Review Online and Sommelier magazine, and a freelance contributor to numerous wine publications. He has written nearly 300 articles as wine columnist for The Washington Post before helping found Wine Review Online as editor and managing partner. He judges wine competitions regularly and has acted as Chief Judge for many competitions worldwide.
Paula Bosch recides in Germany and was the first female German sommelier. Since 2011 she has been a freelance wine consultant, journalist and sommelier. She is the author of a number of books including her latest one on German wine and food. She judges regularly in wine competitions in many countries.
Two French experts are joining the brandy panel this year. Denis Lahouratate, Maitre de Chai (Cellar Master) for the renowned Chateau Bisquit in Cognac, is a regular taster at Veritas. Jean Francois Joumier has worked in Cognac since 1980 and is a consultant for distillers around the world, including South Africa, Romania and Russia.
The local team of judges consists of a variety of winemakers, researchers, academics, Cape Wine Masters, wine buyers, wine writers and consultants.
The Veritas Board this year approved some important amendments to the competition rules. In future, five instead of seven judges will serve on each panel, while the 100-point tasting scale instead of the 20-point scale will be used in evaluation, in line with international standards. The availability of only 50 cases (6x750ml) of each winning wine will be required in future instead of 200 cases in the past.
The medal winners will be announced on Friday 6 October at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC), at a glamorous gala event sponsored by Agri-Expo and SA Litho.
The Veritas Awards, now in its 27th year, is South Africa’s premier wine competition. Wine cognoscenti and consumers trust a Veritas award as an unrivalled seal of quality.
For the past three years Veritas and Amorim SA conducted research regarding the complete spectrum of wine faults.
Joaquim Sa, MD of Amorim SA says, “As partners to the South African wine industry, Amorim deems it important to be involved with one of the industry” leading wine competitions. Our role is a functional one where closure faults identified during the judging process are analysed by Vinlab, allowing us to give feedback to wine producers on any related issues. The aim of this is to improve communication and transparency, helping affected wineries and suppliers to take the necessary steps in ensuring wines presented in the condition they are intended to. The Veritas platform allows us to do this, and it is an honour to partner such a professional and inclusive outfit. These tests will be carried out once again at the tastings this week.
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Enquiries to Bennie Howard or Elsabe Ferreira at tel 021 863 1599 / email@example.com