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MICHAEL GREEN’S WINE NOTES (article first published : 2002-11-17)

As the Nederburg wine auction approaches its third decade there is no sign of any slackening of interest in this the country’s premier wine event.

Next year’s auction, to be held at Paarl on April 11 and 12, will be the twenty-ninth, and nearly 300 wines from 104 wineries have been submitted for scrutiny by the selection panel that decides which items are worthy of inclusion on the auction list.

According to comments made by some of the judges involved with the recent selection tastings, the wines are a snapshot of the South African wine industry over the past 10 years. The auction manager, Bennie Howard, says: “The tastings showed the development and evolution of red wines over the last decade, which has seen more innovation in the industry than any other period.

This has come about as a result of more red wine cultivars being established, the selection of virus-free clones, and a more scientific approach to planting and winemaking”.

Nearly 60 cabernets have been submitted for the auction, and Bennie Howard rates them as exceptional. The 25 chardonnays submitted show many varied styles. Not many sauvignon blancs were submitted but the standard was good, and some outstanding shiraz wines are emerging from local cellars.

The selection panel consists of 60 winemakers, viticulturists, Cape Wine Masters, wine consultants, wine judges and those winemakers who participated in the 2002 auction. Three groups of tasters judge at blind tastings to ensure anonymity and impartiality.

The auction takes place on April 11 and 12, with Friday being a strictly business day. Saturday is the big social event, with an opening address by a guest speaker, an auction of special items in aid of charity, a gourmet lunch and the celebrated Nederburg fashion show. – Michael Green




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