International Veritas Judges share their views

Veritas entries now due
July 22, 2012
Six Wine and Brandy Giants honoured
October 6, 2012
Veritas entries now due
July 22, 2012
Six Wine and Brandy Giants honoured
October 6, 2012

International Veritas Judges share their views

The international delegation agreed unanimously: the levels of quality and expertise of the panels were very high; everybody judged with extreme care and a deep knowledge of the product, the producers and with a market orientated mindset.

Thomas Lüber, chief buyer of South African wines for WIV Wein International AG – the world’s largest direct wine sales company, were indeed impressed with the quality of Pinotage and Noble Late Harvests that he judged.  “I’ve seen Pinotage grow from being too much driven by wood, to being more consumer oriented friendly,” he says. “South African producers really understand the varietal, they show extreme pride in it, and combine their quest for quality and the consumer’s wishes to create some of the finest wines.”

According to Lüber the Noble Late Harvests that he tasted were at least on the same level as the well-known Nobles from Germany’s Rheingau or Mosel. “Consumers should particularly take notice of the superb combination of richness and sometimes a touch of oak in the South African wines.”

Australian born Richard Rowe’s extensive international experience as winemaker and wine judge makes him an invaluable Veritas judge. Rowe co-judged the 180 Shiraz entries:  “This year the Shiraz class put forward very strong entries,” he says. “We were impressed by clean, fresh varietal wines that showed balance, structure and finesse.  Most of the good wines came from the 2010 harvest and not from the 2009 harvest as I expected.”

Rowe was also part of the panel judging the museum class.  “Although there were some outstanding wines, some lacked concentration and flavour. Whilst there were a couple of wines that were truly magnificent, I felt that many producers are not taking the opportunity of showcasing their older wines in these classes.”

Lim Hwee Peng, a certified wine specialist from Singapore who was recently honoured as the Most Dynamic Wine Educator in Asia, judged on the panel that tasted the sparkling wine entries. “It was tough judging this category due to the many different styles and expressions,” he says.  “While the Cap Classique’s were excellent, we found quite a few normal sparkling wines that were of a really high quality.”

Lim also tasted on the Chardonnay panel. “While the wooded wines gave us what we expected from them, it was among the unwooded wines that we found the biggest surprises,” he says. “The unwooded entries are definitely more food-friendly and consumers will be able to enjoy more than one glass.  This is surely a trend that must be taken seriously.”  It is Lim’s forth visit to South Africa and according to him the quality of Chardonnay, which is very popular in Singapore, has improved tremendously over the last few years.

Janåke Johansson, owner of a leading Swedish Family Import Business responsible for top volume brands for more than 20 years and a veritable wine judge, shared his international expertise on the panels judging Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.  “We were typically looking for classic styled wines; not over extracted, balanced in alcohol and of course clean and typical for the variety,” he says. “We were impressed by a great number of excellent wines, confirming my belief that South African Cabernet Sauvignons are of world class standard.”

Thirty three standard, vintage and pot still brandies were entered for this year’s competition and according to panel leader Dave Hughes, they were all world class. “Even the least expensive South African brandy can compete against the very best the world has to offer,” he says. “To seek a double gold you almost have to try to find something that can exclude a brandy from winning double gold. I must admit that I also look for that true South African character – we should not produce copies of Cognac.”

Denis Lahouratate, cellar master at the French House of Bisquit Cognac, was at Dave Hughes’ side for the judging of the brandy entries. “Although we had no exotic examples amongst the standard brandies, I thought that the average standard is high,” says Lahouratate.  In the category for pot stills and vintages the best examples were found in the 13-20 year matured brandies which were richer, finer and better balanced.

The gems from amongst the 1744 entered wines and brandies – those deserving of the coveted double gold, gold, silver and bronze medals – will be made known on Saturday 6 October during a gala event at the Cape International Convention Centre (CTICC), sponsored by Agri-Expo.

Visit www.veritas.co.za for information about the various public tastings of double gold and gold medal winners taking place country wide, or contact Elsabé Ferreira at tel 021 863 1599 or via email to admin@veritas.co.za.

Follow Veritas at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Veritas-Awards/257143924401201 and Twitter at @veritasawards.

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Issued by Marlene Truter Communications
tel 021 437 1568
info@marlenetruter.co.za

On behalf of SANWSA
tel 021 863 1599
admin@veritas.co.za