From the vivacity of youthful wines to the intricate tapestry of mature vintage examples, the Cap Classique category unveiled a remarkable array. Cathy’s reflections echoed the sentiment that this was a splendid category to evaluate. In the spotlight were two remarkable wines: the Aurelia Brut Rosé from Groote Post Vineyards and the resplendent Paul Renè’s Pinot Noir Chardonnay Brut Rosé 2019.
Rosé / Blanc de Noir:
With a diverse spectrum of styles, the Rosé / Blanc de Noir category showcased expressive wines that ranged from vibrant fruitiness to captivating consistency in quality. A marked movement towards a radiant salmon hue caught our attention. These wines spanned from delightful everyday companions to truly exceptional offerings, each boasting weight, freshness, and remarkable length.
The Chenin blanc segment painted a picture of consistent quality, with the 2023 vintage taking center stage. Fiona’s observation echoed unanimous agreement – this category remains an impressive showcase of the varietal’s prowess. Exceptional wines like Darling Cellars Reserve Arum Fields Chenin Blanc 2023 and The Long Mountain 2023 from Thor Vintners & Co stood out, leaving an indelible mark.
Chardonnay’s versatility was on full display, spanning the gamut from beautifully balanced contemporaries to the allure of older, more complex vintages. The 2023 wines showcased easy-drinking charm, while the seasoned contenders ignited excitement with their depth. The unanimous favourite, Alvi’s Drift Albertus Viljoen Chardonnay 2022, exemplified the captivating allure of this noble varietal.
The Sauvignon blanc flight emerged as a cohesive parade of excellence characterized by vibrant varietal expression, impeccable acidity, and masterful balance. Notable among these, the Darling Cellars Reserve Bushvine Sauvignon Blanc 2023 shone as a beacon of what the varietal can achieve.
A symphony of excellence resonated within the realm of red blends, and it was the 2021 vintage that truly stole the limelight. The category embraced a symphony of elements – from commendable concentration to a medley of intricate flavours spanning the spectrum from savory to invigoratingly fresh. Balanced oak contributions added a harmonious touch. The Dieu Donné Cabernet Sauvignon/Shiraz 2021 stood out among the gems.
A tapestry of complexity unfolded within the riper Shiraz wines, characterized by their inviting depth and exquisite concentration. Nomonde aptly dubbed this category “delicious,” capturing these wines’ sheer indulgence. René’s delight in older vintages that continue to enthrall with their sheer beauty resonated. At the same time, Fiona recognized the artistry in achieving a seamless fusion of fruit and oak, underscored by supple tannins.
In its understated elegance, Merlot showcased a vivid array of expressions – a dance of varietal identity intertwined with balanced red and dark fruit notes. The judicious handling of oak lent an additional layer of sophistication, complemented by soft, velvety tannins. An occasional hint of green character hardly detracted from the overall grace.
The Cabernet Sauvignon wines, grand in stature, spoke volumes of their potential. Bursting with fruit typicity and immense promise, this category embodied winemakers’ prowess in tannin management. The Tristone Cabernet Sauvignon 2019 from Stellenzicht exemplified the profound impact of masterful craftsmanship.
In the realm of Pinotage, elegance took center stage, defying expectations and showcasing an admirable moderation in alcohol levels. Cathy acknowledged the category’s solidity, highlighting its ability to present less alcohol intensity while maintaining its characteristic allure.
The realm of niche varietals captivated discerning palates, offering high-quality surprises that delighted the senses, sporting fine examples of Carménère, Petit Sirah, Cabernet franc, Petit Verdot and Cinsault.
Standout entries like The Mentors Cabernet Franc by KWV and Gentis, The Bishop from Thor Vintners & Co showcased the undeniable charm of these underappreciated gems.