Mosaic Team South Africa rubs shoulders with the best wine tasters of the world

Monday, 27 October, 2014
Jean-Vincent Ridon
On the 18th of October, 2014, The Team Mosaic represented South Africa in the World Blind Tasting Championship organised in Champagne by La Revue du Vin de France.

Team Mosaic comprised of Gavin Whittaker, Samarie Smith, Chris Groenewald and Ralph Reynold and was one of the youngest teams participating in the competition along with Team China. All Teams had to taste 12 wines blind and try to identify the cultivar, country, origin, producer and vintage.
In its second year participating at this world event, Team South Africa achieved a similar score to its first appearance in 2013, a total of 57 points, banking points by recognizing 4 wines out of 12. Some wines were so challenging that no team in the competition had any clue on them…
Humility is the key in blind wine tasting and after the announcement was made that the World crown was being awarded to the French, all the teams celebrated together as one large family. Wine abolished distance and language barriers. This was the Ubuntu made wine.
France won the world Championship by making points on an impressive 9 wines out of 12. It is the highest score ever achieved at the event. The wines served blind were dominated by European producers and cultivars which are not widely available, and therefore even more difficult to taste in South Africa. The French team showed a remarkable knowledge of the full spectrum of the wines of the world.
Among the Southern Hemisphere challengers, Argentina finished with the highest score, ahead of South Africa, and Brazil, who conceded the lowest score.
Team SA banked points on the Sauvignon from New Zealand, the exotic Savagnin from the Jura, the Pinot from Chile and the Taylor Port.
Mosaic Team captain Gavin Whittaker, who has qualified for the World Championship twice in a row, was satisfied with the result and expressed gratitude for the training received at Restaurant Mosaic the week prior to the World Blind Challenge. The Team was exposed to some rare or difficult to find wines, such as the Chateau Chalon from Jura, made from Savagnin. Mosaic managed to get a bottle for the team although it cannot be sold in South Africa due to the traditional size of its 62cl bottle. As a result, the Team banked points on a similar wine at the Championship!
The dreams of Mosaic Team SA to be on the winner’s podium along with France, Belgium, Spain and Andorra sadly did not become reality this year, but the experience gained and the joy to showcase South Africa as part of the global wine family was priceless. It can be noted that since Team SA is participating in the World Championship, South African wines were used in the blind challenge, thus also putting our producers on the world scene.

Samarie, Gavin, Chris and Ralph are already starting their training, focusing on wines that are difficult to find in South Africa, to prepare for the qualifiers for the 2015 World Cup already scheduled in October at Chateauneuf du Pape. They want to be there. South Africa’s got wine tasting talents!

The wines served blind were:
Pinot Blanc, Italiy, Trentino Praedium Weisshaus, by Colterenzio 2011
Grüner Veltliner, Austria, Wachau, by Emmerich Knoll, 2012
Sauvignon Blanc, New Zealand, Marlborough, by DOG Point Section 94, 2010
Sauvignon Blanc 65 % - Sémillon 35 %, South Africa, Stellenbosch, by Vergelegen 2009
Chenin, France, Vouvray, by Clos Naudin Réserve, 2009
Savagnin, France, Château-Chalon, by Jean Macle 2006

Pinot Noir, Chile, by Vina Laroche El Chaparro, 2012
Merlot 80 % - Cabernet Franc 20 %, France, Pomerol, by Château Le Bon Pasteur, 2003
Syrah, France, Côte-Rôtie, by Vidal Fleury Côte Blonde la Chatillonne, 2009
Malbec, Argentina, Mendoza, by Val de Flores, 2007 Grenache 60 % - Tempranillo 40 %, Spain, Rioja, by Remondo Palacios Propiedad, 2008
Touriga Nacional - Touriga Francesa (and more) Portugal, Porto, by Taylor's vintage 2011

The World Blind Tasting Championship is organised by La Revue du Vin de France, the oldest wine magazine in the world, published since 1927 and was hosted this year by Bollinger and Ayala, two major Champagne producers in Aÿ, in Champagne, 150km east of Paris.

Podium: Team France is the world champion, Team Belgium is second, Team Andorra and Team Spain are sharing the third place. 
22 countries registered this year at the World Blind Challenge. 19 Countries were marked on the day. Team Belgium was the defending champion and finished second while Spain was last in 2013, and finished third this year. 

Team South Africa is sponsored by Mosaic Restaurant at the Orient, allowing the winners of the South African Wine Tasting Championship to train from their unique wine list, the largest in all Africa (not South Africa, Africa!) and to fly to the World Championship to fly the national colors among the other wine nations. is the media partner of the Mosaic Team South Africa. 

Samarie, Gavin, Chris & Ralph
Samarie, Gavin, Chris & Ralph

Team Mosaic - pic by Jean Charles Gutner
Team Mosaic - pic by Jean Charles Gutner

Team SA with Germain Lehody
Team SA with Germain Lehody

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