Rare old wines tasted for Nederburg Auction

Wednesday, 20 March, 2013
Nederburg Auction
“I felt like a kid in a toyshop. To say it was a rare treat to be part of the discovery and sample these wines is an understatement. It was an incredible experience.” were the words of sommelier, Jörg Pfützner at the tasting of rare old wines from Distell's underground wine library, the Tabernacle.
Last week a group of local and international wine experts, including Wineanorak.com’s Jamie Goode, UK-based Master of Wine Greg Sherwood, sommelier Jörg Pfützner, and wine writers Christian Eedes and Fional McDonald, had the privilege to discover approximately 14 000 rare, old, local and international wines, some dating back as far as the 1940s, housed inside Distell’s exclusive underground wine library, called the Tabernacle. This veritable treasure trove of old wine gems collectively bear testimony to both the winemaking techniques of yesteryear and the exuberant quality of older South African wines.

“I felt like a kid in a toyshop”, commented Pfützner. “To say it was a rare treat to be part of the discovery and sample these wines is an understatement. It was an incredible experience.” Pfützner was part of a select group of tasters, some of whom were members of the selection panel for the 2013 Nederburg Auction. They were invited by Nederburg Auction manager Dalene Steyn to explore the depths of this historical wine ‘inner sanctum’, to find and sample a handful of old wines for inclusion in this year’s Nederburg Auction Private Collection, a niche category reserved for truly rare, old wines that are only available in extremely small quantities.

Said Francois Rautenbach from Singita Premier Wines: “The task at hand was to look at the wines stored in the Tabernacle and assess the potential for them to be showcased and shared with the (wine) public.” Judging from the comments offered by some of the group in this clip, the mission was successful. Of the approximately 24 wines that were tasted, the Lanzerac Pinotage 1963 and the 1940 Chateau Libertas were absolute standouts. Christian Eedes described the latter as having a ‘wonderful palate with red fruit, and good richness and complexity’, and referred to the former, affectionately known as the grandfather of SA red blends, as ‘intense in flavour and huge in structure.’ The 1973 Zonnebloem Cabernet also showed extremely well.

Michael van Deventer, head of the Vinoteque at the historical Bergkelder, aptly summed up the experience, “You’re drinking history. You’re drinking something that’s no longer going to be available ever again. I don’t think there’s anyone within the wine industry that won’t get excited about wines like these.”

The official wine selection for Auction 2013, including the wines chosen from the Tabernacle, will be announced shortly.

Recognised as one of the world’s five major wine auctions, the annual Nederburg Auction is the premier wine event of the year, where wine connoisseurs and winemakers meet to partake in and celebrate the best that South Africa has to offer. The Nederburg Auction is the ideal opportunity for buyers to purchase stellar wines, many of them rare and only available in extremely limited quantities, and nowhere else on the open market.

“For further information contact the Nederburg Auction on tel: 021 809 7337 or send an email to info@nederburgauction.co.za"

Jorg Pfutzner, David Clarke & Francois Rautenbach
Jorg Pfutzner, David Clarke & Francois Rautenbach

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