Thankfully, the organization of the event and the flow of foot traffic was expertly handled, and even included a cordoned off area where visitors could sit down and enjoy a quick if somewhat overpriced meal. Trust me, the break is absolutely necessary. It’s the perfect place to hold a strategy meeting and pore over the seemingly endless list of wines and work out a plan of action.
Suggestions for identifying points of interest? Easy. You can whittle your list down by focusing on a specific varietal, or a specific wine region, or single out the wine farms you are most curious about and just go for it. The fact remains: there is simply no way you can get to all of them. Even if you sip and spit and eat at regular intervals, there comes a point where your palate will start to rebel, and give only rather sullen ‘yes’ or ‘no’ responses.
The wines that got my palate’s unequivocal ‘yes’ were:
Wildekrans Chenin Blanc Reserve 2013 which had a delightful wooded, butterscotch texture; Perdeberg Chenin Blanc 2013; and Leopard’s Leap Chenin Blanc 2014.
Two Sauvignon Blancs that achieve just the right balance between asparagus and green pepper, (without that harsh bite of crispness that makes your gills contract) were Zonnebloem and West Coast-based Teubes Family Wines.
Two Reds in particular: Noble Hill Merlot 2013 from a single vineyard block and the four star Platter-rated Saxenberg Shiraz 2012.
The perfect nightcap to an evening of wining and dining, with just a hint of guava, is Paul Cluver’s Riesling Noble Late harvest 2013.
The most interesting wine of the evening was the Painted Wolf Wines’ Paarl Rousanne 2014. Beautiful labelling and a passion for conservation make for a rather special introduction to a varietal that is slowly gaining impetus in South Africa. Rousanne is similar in colour, but not as sweet as a Rosé; the demure older sister of our pink party girl.
Set in the CTICC, The Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show is a convenient one-stop-tasting-shop for wine enthusiasts in Cape Town who don’t have the time or opportunity of visiting the farms. At the same time, if you’re a wine novice, award-winning wines are a pretty good place to start.