UNIQUE insofar as it’s the only wine competition in South Africa where all of the judges are French, the annual Classic Wine Trophy taste-off is hosted at the Taj Hotel in Cape Town and this year there were two producers who grabbed most of the glory – Morgenster of Somerset West and Hamilton Russell Vineyards of the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley outside Hermanus each collecting a pair of trophies and prizes for ‘Most Iconic’ entries.
The organisers don’t say how many wines were entered and there’s no indication of whether leading cellars who didn’t feature on the honours list participated or not – you’re left unsure as to just how strongly contested the categories were. The laureates are limited to Bacchus Trophy winners – no runners-up announced – and the 19 winning wines were fielded by 14 producers, five of them called up to the podium more than once.
That said, besides the grand champions there are several other stand-outs among the stand-outs – not the least of which are the Botmaskop blend from Delaire Graff in Stellenbosch, with 2012 the latest in a string of four impressive vintages, and the Reserve Chardonnay from Chamonix, Franschhoek, where cellarmaster Gottfried Mocke has hardly put a foot wrong since joining the winery back in 2001.
CLASSIC WINE TROPHY WINNERS:
Bellingham The Bernard Series Small Barrel SMV 2012 (red blend)
Chamonix Chardonnay Reserve 2012
Creation Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot Petit Verdot 2010
Creation Pinot Noir 2012
Delaire Graff Botmaskop 2012 (red blend)
DeMorgenzon Chenin Blanc 2013
Glen Carlou Grand Classique 2011 (red blend)
Groot Constantia Chardonnay 2013
Groot Constantia Gouverneurs Reserve Red 2011
Hamilton Russell Chardonnay 2012
Hamilton Russell Chardonnay 2013
La Motte Pierneef Collection Shiraz Viognier 2011
Morgenster 2003 (red blend)
Morgenster 2010 (red blend)
Rudera Noble Late Harvest 2010
The High Road Classique 2010 (red blend)
Villiera Monro Brut 2008 (Cap Classique sparkling)
Whalehaven Chardonnay 2012
Whalehaven Merlot 2011