Hat- trick for Chenin Blanc winner

Friday, 16 January, 2004
Wine Magazine
Kanu’s Teddy Hall claims the title
Securing top honours in the 2004 WINE Magazine Tops at SPAR Chenin Blanc Challenge is a particularly sweet victory for this year’s winner. Winemaker Teddy Hall claimed the title for an unprecedented third time in the competition’s nine-year history and in so doing not only beat worthy contenders by the narrowest of margins, but also produced a superb wine as his swansong for Kanu.

Ultimately it was the Kanu Wooded 2002 that got the nod from the judging panel, ahead of the Spier Private Collection 2001 and the Forrester Meinert 2002, but, as panel chairman Michael Fridjhon commented: ‘The quality of the top three wines was as close to equal as you can get. In the end, it was not which wine was best, but rather which wine was preferred.’

The top three wines all scored 4½ Stars, with the runners-up awarded 4 Stars – an impressive result for a varietal that not so long ago was the Cinderella of the wine industry, and testimony to the fact that an increasing number of producers consider Chenin Blanc a premium variety worthy of serious vinification.

Hall’s remarkable feat is the culmination of a successful career as winemaker at Kanu. His Kanu Wooded ’99 won the Chenin Blanc Challenge in 2001, the same year he was crowned Diners Club Winemaker of the Year with his unwooded 2001 (his own label, Rudera Robusto 2000, scored 4 Stars and was runner-up in the Challenge that year). In 2002 he was joint winner of the Challenge with the Kanu Limited Release Wooded 2000, having had four of his highly rated Kanu and Rudera wines selected for the final round of judging. And in 2003, Rudera Robusto 2000 was among the five wines rated 4 Stars.

This year’s winning Kanu Limited Release Wooded 2002, although cause for some debate among the panel, finally seduced the judges with its richness and density. ‘Complex, rich and weighty on the palate,’ they declared, commending it for its fine texture, well-integrated oak and crisp acidity. A wine with excellent focus and long finish that will develop well over several years, was their final word.

The top-scoring wines will be showcased to the public at tutored tastings to be held at the:

President Hotel in Sea Point, Cape Town on 6 May
Balalaika Hotel in Sandton, Johannesburg on 7 May

To book, contact: Lesley Minnaar, Cape Town
Tel: +27 (0) 21 530-3201
Delia de Freitas, Johannesburg
Tel: +27 (0) 11 783-7030

Issued by: WINE magazine
Contact: Fiona McDonald, Editor
Tel: +27 (0) 21 530-3133
Email: shelly@rsp.co.za