JUST THE FACTS
Price: R175 (as of Sep 2016)
Winery: Groot Constantia
Wine Region: Swartland
Ponce Factor: Moderate to High
Occasion: Fireside winter comfort
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Top of the table during a blind tasting of some of the ABSA Top Ten Pinotages.
Colour is a deep dense purple with vanguard aromas of salty dried beef and coriander spices.
The palate leaves the savory notes behind, exploding with superbly concentrated sweet ripe black cherry fruit. Acidity is very high, but well integrated. A perfect foil to the fruity sweetness. The tail lingers with continued ripe black fruit notes, &some gentle but persistent spice adds the required complexity for a Top100 wine.
Not all that glitters is gold…
But that doesn’t mean that you can’t get some utility out of the myriad stickers you see on every second bottle on the shelf. As I’ve said elsewhere, some stickers will at best ruin an otherwise tastefully designed wine label, and at worst will lead you to part with your precious sovereigns chasing the glory of an award that guarantees no elevation of quality whatsoever!
SECRET WINE RULE: If the sticker bears the logo of a bank, asset management firm, or insurance brokerage, then it usually carries a little more weight than most.
For whatever reason, the financial services sector has decided that it need to keep the wine calendar packed choc-a-block with various wine awards and ceremonies. Whether the cost of sponsoring these events actually adds any value back into said financial services sector, we’ll never know. But what we can say is that these neat little Top10 lists are quite a manageable way to explore a particular variety, and get to know what some of the more acclaimed producers are doing with the grape that has caught your fancy.
Here are just a few lists for you to peruse:
The ABSA Top Ten Pinotage Awards
The Standard Bank Top Ten Chenin Blanc Awards
The Prescient Cabernet Sauvignon Report
The FNB Top Ten Sauvignon Blanc Awards
What is the SA Top 100?
The National Wine Challenge (NWC) describes itself as “the Wine Olympics of South Africa” (though it has yet to launch the Wine Paralympics). It has been running for six years now, awarding T100 status to the highest scoring 100 wines entered into the competition. While there are always going to be a couple of duds in a list of this size, the T100 brand is a superb way to get a foothold in the positively gargantuan SA wine industry.
Most usefully, the NWC has also developed a smartphone app, for both iOS and Android, that lists winners for the past three years, dividing winners into red wines, white wines, and bubbly. After Vivino, this is probably the most useful wine app that a South African could possibly have on their phone.
(Do not say “wine-searcher”. If you say “wine searcher”, I follow in the footsteps of the great Dane Cook, and I will stab you in the jaw. Wine Searcher sucks).
About the Author
Jono Le Feuvre is not a bean counter. He is a bean roaster. Bean roasters carry far more street cred & get to speak at bizarre niche gatherings of enquiring-but-unhinged-minds. They also usually have addictive tendencies. When he is not roasting beans he is pulling corks. Or deftly removing screwcap enclosures. But you can read more about him here.