By by GREG SHERWOOD | www.gregsherwoodmw.com
The 28th of June was a momentous day in the history of South African wine. The Old Vines Tasting at South Africa House in London presented by Andre Morgenthal and Jo Wehring of Wines of South Africa, profiled 77 of the most profound red and white wines produced in South Africa’s diverse winelands.
The debate surrounding the identification, preservation and promotion of South Africa’s old vines has long been championed by viticulturalist Rosa Kruger, and now with Ex-Wosa marketing specialist Andre Morgenthal on board, the project has moved into a higher gear.
Most of the top old Vine wines are made in very small quantities, so it was heartening to see the support given to this tasting from South Africa’s top producers, who provided some true rarities and highly sought after fine wines. Only by drinking these gems, and understanding the blood, sweat and tears that go into making these labours of love, can consumers understand why these wines cost more to buy but offer something very special qualitatively.
No, old vines alone don’t guarantee quality. But the producers involved in the Old Vine Project, and the related certification for 35+ year old vines that will follow imminently, will serve as an important seal of authenticity and commitment to both the quality of old vine wine production and the preservation of these historic vineyards.
But as Andre Morgenthal pointed out, the the Old Vine Project’s work will also extend to the greater protection, preservation and healthy vine husbandry promotion of 20 to 30 year old vineyards that will be the old vines of the future. This can surely only be a good thing for the industry as a whole.
Some of the Fine Wine Safari highlights of the tasting are illustrated below. This was certainly one of the most exciting array of South African wines presented in London in our generation. High praise indeed, but the scores speak for themselves.
Old Vine Tasting:
Raats Family Wines Old Vine Chenin Blanc 2016 – 94+/100 GS
Hogan Chenin Blanc 2016 – 94+/100 GS
DeMorgenzon Reserve Chenin Blanc 2016 – 94+/100 GS
AA Badenhorst Golden Slopes Steen 2016 – 95/100 GS
Simonsig Estate Chenin Avec Chene 2015 – 94/100 GS
Gabrielskloof Elodie Chenin Blanc 2015 – 93+/100 GS
Dewaldt Heyns Family Wines Weathered Hands Chenin Blanc 2013 – 94/100 GS
Thorne & Daughters Paper Kite Semillon 2016 – 95+/100 GS
Boekenhoutskloof Semillon 2015 – 95/100 GS
Elemental Bob Cosmic Flower Tinta Barocca 2017 – 93+/100 GS
Dewaldt Heyns Family Wines Weathered Hands Pinotage 2012 – 93+/100 GS