White Hot Wine Awards point to frustrating quest for the ‘perfect’ blend

WHAT TO make of Winemag.co.za’s 2016 Riscura White Hot Wine Awards? Of the 35 entries from nearly as many of the Cape wine cellars blending Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon, none scored lower than 86/100 (very good) despite some being criticised as clumsy, “planky”. That 15 scored 90-plus out of 100 (excellent to outstanding) was a solid endorsement of the quality and interest value of the class – especially in the case of this line-up of wines with established credentials for the most part. Yet none scored 96 or better (extraordinary or profound). And how would the missing Vergelegen G.V.B have fared, you might ask…

The judges Christian Eedes (chair) and the Wine Cellar duo of Roland Peens and James Pietersen reached consensus as to their Top 3 – the 2015 Iona One Man Band favoured marginally ahead of the 2014 Strandveld Adamastor and the 2014 Tokara Director’s Reserve. Whereas best value at under R100 was the Barton 2015 at R70 a bottle – less than half the average price of the Top 15 at around R185pb.

Iona winemaker Werner Muller’s tasting notes for the top-scoring wine include the following: “Floral, with white stone fruit and blackcurrant. Tangerine lingers on the mid-palate with a long savoury finish of pea shoots, fine herbs and sea breeze. Complex, layered, classic and poised.” Wow!

For the full report, see here, and for all the top reviews for South Africa’s so-called Bordeaux-style white blends over the past couple of years, click here.

TOP-RATED WINES AT 2016 WHITE HOT AWARDS

Barton Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2015
From outside Bot River en route to Hermanus – also a gold medallist at International Wine & Spirit Competition
Cape Point Isliedh 2015
From Cape Point Vineyards in Noordhoek – also a gold medallist at Decanter Awards
Constantia Uitsig Natura Vista 2014
Winemaking completed at Steenberg in Tokai – also a 5 Star laureate in Platter’s guide
Creation Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2015
From Hemel-en-Aarde Road outside Hermanus – also a winner in Top 100 Challenge
Delaire Graff White Reserve 2014
From Banghoek cellar, Stellenbosch, WO Coastal
Highlands Road Sine Cera 2014
From Elgin
Iona One Man Band 2015
From Elgin
KWV The Mentors Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2015
From Paarl cellar, WO Coastal
Mulderbosch Faithful Hound 2014
From Stellenbosch cellar, WO Western Cape – also a winner of Somm’s Winelist Award
Nitida Coronata Integration 2015
From Durbanville
Strandveld Adamastor 2014
From outside Elim, Cape Agulhas
Tokara Director’s Reserve 2014
From Helshoogte, Stellenbosch – also judged Best White at Trophy Wine Show
TSW Reserve Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2015 (Trizanne)
Fruit from Elim, winemaking completed at Cape Point Vineyards
Vrede en Lust Barrique 2014
Fruit from Elgin, cellar in Paarl – also a winner of Somm’s Winelist Award
Zorgvliet Simoné 2015
From Banghoek, Stellenbosch

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