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MICHAEL GREEN’S WINE NOTES (article first published : 2004-04-20)

The annual Nederburg wine auction concerns the sale of rare Cape wines, and most of the thousands of cases sold contain connoisseurs’ items which wine merchants will sell for substantial prices.

There are, however, many familiar names in the auction catalogue, names that you will find every day on the shelves of your neighbourhood liquor store. Here are some such wines which were sold at the 2004 auction held at Paarl recently. I would emphasise that the auction wines are special vintages that have been matured in optimum conditions. The ordinary bottle store wine is not quite the same thing unless it carries the Nederburg auction label.

Nevertheless the auction wines do give some kind of guide to the values of well-matured wines. Here are some of those sold this year. The wines were sold in cases of six or 12 bottles and in lots of varying size, from one case to a hundred cases. I am quoting the average price per bottle.

Nederburg Private Bin Auction Shiraz, 1997 (R107); Graham Beck Coastal Shiraz, 1999 (R137); Villiera Cru Monro Cabernet/Merlot, 1998 (R216); Landskroon Shiraz, 1998 (R106); Plaisir de Merle Cabernet Sauvignon, 1995 (R206); Nuy White Muscadel, Sweet, 1997 (R39); Fleur du Cape Pinotage, 1992 (R57); Rooiberg Vintage Port, 1993 (R64); Chateau Libertas, 1992 (R57); Hazendal Chenin Blanc, Wooded, 2001 (R51); Uitkyk Carlonet, 1995 (R100); Ken Forrester Chenin Blanc, 2000 (R69); Boschendal Shiraz, 1999 (R149), and Paul Cluver Cabernet Sauvignon, 1998 (R178).

Only licensed liquor dealers may bid at the auction, and their profit margins are to be added to the prices quoted above.

Wine lovers are always interested in food, so here is the menu for lunch for 1,600 people on the main day of the auction, devised by Bill Gallagher of Southern Sun: Starter: Poached tiger prawns and Franschhoek smoked salmon trout with mango salsa and North African preserved lemons, with a chilled spiced zucchini soup served in a shooter glass. Main course: Saute Tournedos of beef topped with red onion marmalade and mushroom duxelle, served on autumn vegetables with green asparagus and gratin potatoes and a port wine and walnut sauce. Pastries, cheese and fruit were served afterwards. – Michael Green




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