Gauteng SAWTC 2018 winners announced - now for the finals

Friday, 8 June, 2018
Jean Vincent Ridon
Lerato Moleleko becomes the Queen of Gauteng, a step closer to take over France

Blind tasting competitions require a bit of luck, but victory is the result of hard work. To be a true National competition, the South African Wine Tasting Championship made sure that as many people as possible had an opportunity to compete - so organised the Gauteng Provincial leg at the Juliet Cullinan Standard Bank Wine Festival, held at the Hyde Park Corner, in Johannesburg on 5th and 6th June 2018.

Fifteen of the wine farms participating at the Juliet Cullinan Standard Bank Wine Festival were selected. After tasting these, the Gauteng competitors then had to identify 6 wines served to them in unmarked decanters. Organiser Jean Vincent RIDON admits that “this year’s competition was made difficult by the selection of two very complex white blends, forcing the candidates to look for a style, more than just a varietal typicity”

Lerato Moleleko won the title of Gauteng’s Best Wine Taster, and automatically qualifies for the National Finals to be held on the 1st of July 2018 in Cape Town at the Taj Hotel. The Finals will decide who will be selected for Team South Africa going to France in October to participate in the wine tasting World Cup.

Crowned Lerato declared “I am so happy for another chance at joining Team South Africa, but I am disappointed that I couldn’t identify the Avondale wine, which I was supposed to recognise” It is Lerato’s second time qualifying for the national selection.

A surprise on the podium was Anusha Lalloo who came in 3rd place. Her husband achieves top position at the competition every year. It was overheard that he will be in charge of the house chores for a month in order for her to enhance her wine tasting skills.

Among the top tasters this year, Nkululeko Mkhwanazi (Team SA2017) and Dean Ehrlich (Team SA2016) had to make space for talented new comers like Peter de Klerk, Patson Mathonsi and Katie Truscott.

As the SAWTC has been mandated by Team Zimbabwe to help in the selection of the Team, Gauteng-based Zimbabweans could enter the competition to win a seat on the world famous Team Zim which made the headlines last year for their inaugural participation at the world cup. However, it appears that the 2018 Team Zimbabwe will only rely on Cape Town based champions, since Gauteng’s contestants could not rival the scores achieved last week in the Cape.

The six wines that had to be identified were: Avondale Cyclus 2014, Neethlingshof Six Flowers 2017, De Wetshof Limestone Hill 2017, Holden Manz Merlot Reserve 2015, Ashbourne Pinotage 2015 and Morgenster Nabucco 2012. This last wine based on the Italian grape Nebbiolo was so silky and elegant that it was mistaken for a pinot noir by all, except Lerato. This is where Lerato proved her true talent as a wine taster.

Apart from the competition held on the 6th of June in Jozi, the organisers of the SAWTC also offered some exciting wine games, giving the general public the opportunity to identify wines in decanters for a chance to win bottles of wine for correct identification. Wines from Idiom, Montpellier, Paul Wallace, Dalla Cia, Bosman and Babylonstoren challenged the visitors' palates, making wine-tasting fun and playful.

Wine identification master classes were held in partnership with the Johannesburg branch of the Sommeliers Academy to prepare the next generation of wine lovers for Team South Africa 2019 onwards.

The Juliet Cullinan Standard Bank Wine Festival proved that Johannesburg is an exciting wine environment, with emerging talents, challenging a traditionally Cape-based wine guru community.

At the World Championships held annually in France, the consumer’s countries often dominated the producing countries on the podium. Current world champion Sweden, dethroned China at last year’s cup, held in Burgundy in October 2017. Let’s keep our fingers crossed and support our national team to bring the cup home on the 13th of October 2018.

Look out for the results of the finals, which will be held on Sunday 1 July again at The Taj Hotel in Cape Town.

wine.co.za is proud to be a long-standing partner and supporter of the SAWTC, so keep your eyes peeled for the results published in the News.

SAWTC 2018 JNB Podium with Lerato right in front
SAWTC 2018 JNB Podium with Lerato right in front

Dean trying to join Team SA again
Dean trying to join Team SA again

The JNB wines for 2018
The JNB wines for 2018

Mrs Lalloo and JV
Mrs Lalloo and JV

Jaco sommelier
Jaco sommelier

SAWTC Joburg
SAWTC Joburg

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