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MICHAEL GREEN’S WINE NOTES (article first published : 2002-03-2)

More than 200 Durban wine lovers attended two recent tastings of a selection of wines from the 157 to be sold at the 28th annual Nederburg wine auction, at Paarl on April 12 and 13. The tastings were presented by the well-known wine consultant Dave Hughes and the auction manager, Bennie Howard. Fifteen wines were offered for tasting, whites, reds and a couple of the “stickies”--- sweet dessert wines --- and they were greeted with much enthusiasm by the tasters.

Only licensed liquor dealers may bid at the auction itself, but many private buyers ask their local dealers to make bids on their behalf.

For the 28th successive year the auction will be conducted by the British wine authority Patrick Grubb, who combines erudition with a keen sense of humour and an original turn of phrase. Here are some of the wines tasted in Durban with Patrick Grubb’s comments on them, and the auction reserve price:

Nederburg Cap Classique de Chardonnay (Private Bin C92) 1994, a sparkling wine. Pale gold. Strong mousse (bubble) with fine delicate flavours. Good fruit and nicely balanced. R260 for a six-bottle case.

Ken Forrester Chenin Blanc 2000. Pale straw, greenish tinge. Rich, creamy nose with hint of macaroon. Crisp, zesty style. R300 for six bottles.

Nederburg Auction Reserve Pinotage (Private Bin R172) 1997. Light cherry red. Superb sweet cherry jam. Delicate flavours and attractive to drink now. R450 for 12 bottles.

Nederburg Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot (Private Bin 109) 1996. Dark garnet/plum. Lovely rose petals and moss on the nose. Good impact of sweet fruit and very rich flavour. R540 for 12 bottles.

Zonnebloem Pinotage 1984. Garnet with shade of russet. Blackberry, sweet rich flavours with a vanilla touch, amazingly youthful. Gorgeous! R650 for six magnums (double bottles).

Nederburg Petit Verdot Reserve 1997, a new type of wine from the Cape vineyards. Dark blackberry. Some farmyard tangs, with sweet blackberry coming through. Excellent first palate with lots of fruit and then some balancing acidity. R450 for 12 bottles.

Vlottenburg Pinotage 1997. Dark garnet. Sweet cherry nose. Mouth-filling sweet fruit with hint of tannin. R360 for six bottles.

Nederburg Auction Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon (Private Bin R163) 1994. Light garnet. Delicate fragrance of flowers, hint of oak. Delicate but great finesse and style. Harmonious and lingering flavours. Lovely. R650 for 12 bottles.

Nederburg Edelkeur 1999, a sweet noble late harvest wine, the most famous wine in the history of the Nederburg auction. Pale golden. Delicate honey and flowers. A very harmonious, magical wine with propensity for a very long life. R640 for 12 half-bottles. – Michael Green




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