Panellists were impressed with the quality of entries in this year’s event. The biggest category was Sauvignon blanc and Rosé / Blanc de noir.
The sparkling wines that were not bottle fermented, showed how versatile this category could be. Most examples had elegant fruit and balanced acidity and weight to them. The wines in this category were generally well made and were a pleasant surprise.
The Cap Classique category ranged from fresh young wines to some stunning older vintage examples that were very complex with restrained development for their age. Nomonde thought this category to be of quality overall. “Elegance, finesse, and fabulous appeal”. René said the wines were found to be overall good quality, offering complexity and length, with older vintages showing depth without compromising freshness. Fiona liked this category overall but found three standout Cap Classique wines. One of these was Paul Renè Pinot Noir Chardonnay Brut Rosé 2018, winner of the Classique of the year trophy.
The Rosé / Blanc de noir category showed a vast variance in style, with some expressive wines, fresh fruitiness, consistency in quality, and a strong style movement towards salmon colour. Rosé and Blanc de noir wines consisted of a wide range from light everyday drinking examples to some outstanding wines offering weight, freshness, and length. Fiona’s comment: “Overall light, fresh, lovely to look at, and easy to like.”
Chenin blanc did well although it was a smaller category than last year. The quality was good throughout, especially the 2022 vintage. Some particularly good examples were well-balanced and expressive. The Carrol Boyes Sketchbook Chenin Blanc 2022 impressed.
The Chardonnay wines varied, with some beautifully balanced wines, especially the 2021 vintage. The Chardonnay wines generally displayed good varietal character and were not over wooded. The Sebastian Chardonnay 2021 from Lozärn Wines was the stand-out Chardonnay, helping her to win the Woman Winemaker of the Year award, for the second year in a row.
The 2021 Sauvignon blanc wines were the stars of this category, and maybe it is too early in the year for the 2022 vintage to show its steel. Many of them were showing great varietal expression, good acidity, and balance. The Fryer’s Cove Bamboes Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2021 a great example.
René and Fiona said the Bordeaux-styled wines were an incredible category. Overall good concentration, complex flavours ranging from savoury to fresher styles, and balanced oak. The stand-out wines were THOR Megan-Mari 2020, Lozärn Kay’s Legacy 2018, and The Mentors Orchestra 2019 by the KWV.
The riper Shiraz wines had good complexity and good concentration. According to Fiona, this category demonstrates why South Africans love Shiraz.
The Merlot wines were mostly elegant and showed varietal expression, with balanced red and dark fruit, and judicious oak handling with soft smooth tannins.
The Cabernet Sauvignon wines were generally big, with typicity of fruit and good potential. The younger wines still had tight tannins, and this will aid future development. Winemakers showed that they mastered tannin management.
René enjoyed the Pinotage category overall, commenting that some of the older vintages had softer tannins, but retained grip and length, while younger vintages were generally fresher in a lighter style.
Some of the niche varietals were enjoyed and of high quality. There were standout entries like Lozärn Carménère 2019, Carmen Stevens Carménère 2020 and The Mentors Petit Verdot 2019 by the KWV.