Team South Africa 2015 in France for the World Blind Tasting Challenge

Saturday, 17 October, 2015
Jean Vincent Ridon
Just before boarding the Air France brand new Airbus 380, Team South Africa 2015 went to Restaurant Mosaic for a last training session in South Africa.

Under the mentorship of sommelier Germain Lehodey, whose experience of blind tasting proved to be highly valuable for the Team, the four team members explored the Mosaic rich wine list (more than 3400 individual wines) to fine tune their palates with rare imported wines.

Endorsed as the best blind tasters of South African, the winners of the National SAWTC finals that was held by the TAJ Capetown in September, Ralph Reynolds, Joseph Dhafana and Anita Streicher-Nel team with Mosaic Protégée Veronica Plaatjies to carry our national colours at the world championship organised in Chateauneuf du Pape (France).

On Saturday the 17th of October 2015 they will face teams from 20 other countries in a quest to show that South Africa has tasting talents. 12 wines from all around the world will be served to them in anonymous decanters and they will have to identify not only the cultivar and the country of production, but as well the region of origin, the vintage and the actual producer of the wine!

South Africa qualified for the third year in a row to participate to this event organised by the French magazine RVF, the oldest wine magazine in publication since they first printed in 1927.

Sponsored by German tank manufacturer Spiedel, renown for bringing to South Africa the egg shape tanks now used by the most innovative local wineries, and supported by wine.co.za their media and logistic partner, Team South Africa will train in France with famous sommeliers, including Dominique Laporte, Best Sommelier of France and Master of Port. Team Captain Ralph Reynolds, who participated in Team South Africa 2014 as well, aims at achieving a better score than last year in a very competitive environment where many Teams, from World Champion title holder France to new participant such as Japan or the USA, are more easily exposed to international wine than South Africa where sourcing imported wines can prove to be difficult.

Being members of the South African Sommelier Association, Ralph, Joseph and Veronica train regularly at the themed wine tastings organised by the SASA, but all team member have to meet together often to be able to taste and identify wines as a team. The generosity of Mosaic, giving access to a rare selection they directly import from around the world, is a real plus for the Team, and the presence of talented Veronica Plaatjies, the Mosaic Protégée sommelier a valuable addition to the strength of the team. 

The Restaurant Mosaic Protégé programme was initiated by Award winning Chef Chantel Dartnal to identify emerging talents through the provincial selections of the South African Wine Tasting Championships in Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg and offer the most talented of these young tasters a learnership of three years at Restaurant Mosaic. This Protégé bursary will allow Veronica Plaatjies to study further and expose herself to the global world of wine and hospitality in order to achieve her dream: to represent South Africa at the Best Sommelier of the World Championship in 2019 because she still feels a bit inexperienced to qualify for the 2016 round in Mendoza (Argentina). The Best Sommelier Title is awarded every three years. Her first participation to an international competition with Team SA 2015 is a first step toward a bright future as a sommelier.

Let’s wish Team South Africa 2015 the best possible performance at the World Championship.



Tongai, Ralph(back), Anita, Veronica(front)
Tongai, Ralph(back), Anita, Veronica(front)

Tongai & Anita
Tongai & Anita

JV with some of the top tasters
JV with some of the top tasters

Veronica
Veronica

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