The feedback session from judges at this years Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show was generally positive with consensus that there has been improved quality of wines entered. Michael Fridjhon confirmed a total number of 1040 wines were judged this year, with Shiraz being the single largest class with 129 entries. Second highest number of entries was Sauvignon Blanc (102), followed by Chardonnay (95) and Cabernet Sauvignon (94).
According to Fridjhon there is noticeable depth of talent within the SA wine industry and the wines represented quality across all price points – encouraging news for all consumers. On average, judges tasted between 335 – 353 wines over three days, allocating average scores between 71.2 – 75.1.
There was agreement amongst judges that Chenin Blanc was a strong category with international judge Fongyee Walker describing it as “mind-blowing”. Walker was impressed with the different styles on offer and confirmed that variation of styles would appeal to Chinese consumers. However, Walker did touch on the need for alternatives to cork closures, since consumers could easily be put off having to open several bottles of the same wine to enjoy the true state of the wine. On the matter of bottling, Veronique Drouhin-Boss felt that there were too many wines with CO2 – the idea being that the CO2 will retain freshness – resulting in wine that is effervescent.
Drouhin-Boss was very complimentary about SA Chardonnay, noting that overall there has been amazing improvement, especially where oaking regimes are concerned. Whilst there are still “old school” Chard producers, the use of oak is a lot smarter, rendering a finished product that offers complexity and elegance. Drouhin-Boss stressed the importance of viticulture and in particular, clonal and rootstock selection. Regarding Pinot Noir, Drouhin-Boss felt that the balance of oaking was lacking, confirming that too much oak dries out the fruit.
The 2014 Show results will be announced on 28 May 2014 at the Mount Nelson Hotel and will be available on the Old Mutual Trophy Wine website from 16h30 onwards (same day)