Golden Glow at London International Wine & Spirit Fair

Thursday, 20 May, 2004
Melvyn Minnaar
BREAKING NEWS - Pinotage, Shiraz and Chenin shine for SA
(From the LIWSF, London) Release of the results of the International Wine Challenge – a competition of more than 9 000 different wines, covering every type of grape, winemaking style and country, tasted blind by a top jury – is one of the key moments at the annual London International Wine & Spirit Fair. The 24th LIWSF which has thousands of visitors from around the globe mingling and talking (wine) shop here this week, offers as usual a state-of-the-international-industry with the avant garde, particularly as to trends and marketing hitting the spotlights. Yes, the media – television news teams and internet wine writers are all over the place! South Africa is again literally centre stage in the middle of the massive hall. At any point the Wosa set-up has more people milling around than at the outskirts where the spirits producers hover at the one end of the hall, and smart sommelier and other tasting seminars take place on the opposite end. The ten gold medals for South Africa in the International Wine Challenge not only bring their own joy and marketing gap for the successful wine producers, but also gives a snapshot of what some international judges think of our good stuff. Of course, the handfuls of silver and bronze sing praise tales of their own. Pinotage - the ‘outsider kid’ - is back on the block here with three awards, while three very different Shirazes were acclaimed as well. And Cape Chenin Blanc gets a significant golden nod with awards for two very special wines, while Chardonnay also stakes a good claim or two. The IWC gold medals coming to South Africa are for: Beyerskloof Pinotage Reserve 2002 Spier Private Collection Pinotage 2001, as well as the 2002 version Stellenzicht Syrah 2001 MAN Senga Shiraz 2002 Niel Joubert Shiraz 2002 Thandi Chardonnay 2003 Bouchard Finlayson Crocodile Lair Chardonnay 2001 Joostenberg Chenin blanc NLH 2003 Forrester Meinert Chenin Blanc 2002. The latter wine is making waves here for also being included among the very top five ratings in a rare dual tasting of 60 top South African wines held in London and Cape Town. Panels from the UK’s Wine International and SA’s Wine magazines tasted the wines blind to see what kind of consensus there is about the quality and impact of our wines. The top scorers seem to have all the right rings for local and international panels. Wine International’s June edition, launched at the LIWSF, is carrying all the results with keen commentary. Together with the local SA Wine, each have independently awarded five stars and ratings of 95/100 for the Forrester Meinert Chenin Blanc 2002, as well as for Boekenhoutskloof Syrah 2001 and Fairview Oom Pagel Semillon 2002. Also on the top-stars lists in the magazines are De Trafford Elevation 393 2000; Vergelegen Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2000; Kanu Limited release Wooded Chenin blanc 2002 and De Trafford Straw Wine 2001.