The opportunity to taste over 50 of the best South African wines to come under this year’s Cape Winemakers Guild Auction was too good to miss for Roger Jones, who is looking to test the waters with his own South African wine blend.
Where better to put the 2016 wines from the Cape Winemakers Guild Auction through their paces than in the cellars of Berry Bros & Rudd.
Set up to establish the quality of wines from South Africa in their deepest troubles where wines could not be exported and the great winemakers of the Cape may have been oblivious or restricted from tasting world class wines, this Guild enabled like minded winemakers to share and taste great wines from around the world and benchmark their wines against the best.
The Guild has now become an institutional tasting on the first week of September every year in London. This body now not only raises a substantial amount of money for charity, but also helps develop the grass roots that will help continue to grow the industry. These bespoke individual wines can gain up to three times the norm for similar wines in the auction, and not only showcases how good these wines are to a world wide audience but supports so many important causes.
The importance of this tasting was highlighted in that it was held this year in the iconic Berry Bros & Rudd cellars in St James, attended by the cream of the UK wine industry. Some of the more celebrated ‘hacks’ were given private tuitions, but the main event was a glorious celebration and history of South African winemaking.
The fabulous day started with an introduction by five members of the Cape Wine Guild, led by chairperson, Miles Mossop. Although new to the Guild, as a forfeit for failing to turn up to his first committee meeting he was made chairman! Luckily we had Al Capone (Kevin Arnold, one of the founder members of the Guild) as back up, to ensure Miles would not fall off his high horse.
I have marvelled at the quality of MCC (Sparkling Wine in the Champagne Method to us) from South Africa, and Pieter ‘Bubbles” Ferreira has showcased the quality that can be achieved. No less with his CWG Auction Graham Beck Non Plus Ultra MCC 2008, a Chardonnay and Pinot blend, with a deep rich flavour and texture, bright acidity and a perfect balance on the palate of dancing bubbles and exquisite flavours. My word, and this was just the first of 52 individually crafted wines that we were going to taste.
The Cape Guild Auction is superbly sponsored and backed by Nedbank, and is instrumental in supporting grass root charities and encouraging all ethnics to be involved in one of South Africa’s growing treasures. To highlight any further wines would take away from the ethos of this superb auction, where there is a very strict entrance examination, self governed by the chosen 40 members of the Guild.
Rest assured if you see or source a CWG Auction Wine you have found a treasure, in the UK the vast majority is bought by two private collectors, although the fabulous High Timber restaurant under the guidance of South Africa’s Ark Angel – Neleen Strauss – who has a substantial collection.