As today is 2019 nearing an end and 2020 is just 12 hours
away, we thought we would organise a wonderful collaboration between Chef Craig
Cormack and the wine of Mitre’s Edge winner of the first Malbec Challenge.
Mitre’s Edge is a family owned and run winery on the R44 on
the Klapmuts side of Stellenbosch. You will drive along a winding dirt
road banked with vineyards until you reach the brick road. At the top of
the brick road is the residence of the owners Lola and Bernard Nicholls. It is
a beautiful Manor which has an underground cellar and beautiful family history.
On Tuesday December 3rd
, the five gold medallists of the 2019 Malbec Challenge were announced at a
function at The Wood Mill in Stellenbosch. The winning wines were Mitre’s Edge 2017 (also the top scorer); Blake’s Single Vineyard 2018
(only to be released in 2020); Bizoe Idioglossla 2017; Bellevue 2016 and
The Challenge judging by a
panel of five tasters using the international 100 point system had taken place
on November12th. The panel, chaired by Cape Wine Master Christine Rudman,
consisted of Anton Swarts, Cape Wine Master and senior winemaker at Spier in
Stellenbosch; award-winning wine and food writer Malu Lambert; Nomonde Kubheka
ex-KWV winemaker and currently training facilitator for Winetech; and
sommelier/wine writer Barry Scholfield.
There were 26 entries, just
under half of all the single varietal Malbec bottlings on the market.
When asked what had inspired them to plant Malbec, the
answers from the winemakers had a common theme, either for it to be part of the
classic 5-variety Bordeaux blend, in the case of Lola Nicholls of Mitre’s Edge
and Wilhelm Kritzinger of Bellevue, or because they had visited countries where
Malbec is widely grown and were impressed by it.
Blake of Blake Family Wines’ love affair with Malbec started about 10
years ago on a visit to Argentina, while Rikus Neethling of Bizoe
remembers the variety from a trip to
Buenos Aires, deciding there and then to include it in their range. Bizoe buys
in grapes, which for the winning 2017 vintage came from Swartland and
Stellenbosch. De Wet Viljoen’s discovery was in the Cahors in France, where he
and his wife went for their honeymoon.
juicy, soft-skinned variety, Malbec requires care in the vineyard to avoid
over-cropping or sunburn damage, and in the cellar quick and careful
fermentation to prevent oxidation. The winning wines used either only older oak
or a combination of new and used barrels, to showcase the succulent
drinkability part of its character.
are still small, well under 1% of vineyards, and production is limited, except
for Bellevue which is also to be found in Woolworths.
The competition has a
generous sponsor, RX South Africa, agents of Tonnellerie de Mercurey wine barrels, an internationally respected
family-owned specialist business based in France. The oak comes from three
different forests, to create a wide range of barrel styles and qualities for
international wine cellar requirements, with the stave mill located in
Mitre’s Edge’s prize is a
free new barrel, size of their choice, while all participants in the
competition have been offered a 7.5% discount on barrel purchases for the 2020
season. In addition, funding was provided for the Awards function.
Finally, on a personal note, the Idioglossla part of Bizoe Malbec’s name refers to the language of twins, the 6 year-old boys of Rikus and Estalet Neethling, while Andries Blake has named his second boat Malbec, a name his first boat also carried.
and the sponsors’ are:
and the winner is: Mitre’s Edge for their Malbec 2017
to producer requests, Celia Gilloway of Events by Celia organised a Malbec
tasting competition which was judged on November 12th at Mitre’s Edge in
Stellenbosch by an experienced panel of five. There were 26 entries out of the
55 single bottlings listed in the 2020 Platter Guide, making it admirably
well-subscribed for its first appearance. The winners will be announced at an
Awards lunch presided over by Chef Craig Cormack, at The Wood Mill in Stellenbosch on
Tuesday December 3rd.
The judging was
done blind with no origin or vintage revealed, using the international 100
point system and was overseen by an auditor from Cecil Kilpin & Co. There
were five gold medals awarded, which included a clear winner, and 15 silvers.
Entries came mainly from Stellenbosch and its wards, and also from Darling,
Elgin, Walker Bay, Franschhoek, Paarl, Cape Town/Durbanville, Coastal and
chaired by Cape Wine Master Christine Rudman, consisted of Anton Swarts, Cape
Wine Master and senior winemaker at Spier in Stellenbosch; award-winning wine
and food writer Malu Lambert; Nomonde Kubheka ex-KWV and currently training
facilitator for Winetech and the Pinotage Youth Development Academy; and sommelier/wine
writer Barry Scholfield. There was consensus on the top five wines, and all the
other scores fell within a narrow band.
competition has a generous sponsor, RX South Africa, agents of Tonnellerie de
Mercury wine barrels, an internationally respected family-owned specialist business
based in France. The oak comes from three different forests, to create a wide
range of barrel styles and qualities for international wine cellar
requirements, with the stave mill located in Champagne.
Malbec’s producer gets a free new barrel, size of their choice, while all
participants in the competition have been offered a 7.5% discount on barrel
purchases for the 2020 season. In addition, funding has been provided for the
QUALITY WINES DELIGHT IN THIS
YEAR’S CAB FRANC CHALLENGE
Cabernet Franc Challenge once again highlighted quality wines produced by some
of South Africa’s most passionate winemakers.
Showcasing all price classes and
styles, the range will suit discerning palates and satisfy every type of
wallet. The awards ceremony took place
on 16 April at Franschhoek Estate and regular star performer in this
competition, Holden Manz Estate.
judging panel was once again headed by Cape Wine Master and international wine
judge, Christine Rudman who commented; “The panel was in complete agreement
that the line-up of wines showed an improvement on last year, an astonishing
quality jump on what was already at a high standard, resulting in a record
number of Golds being awarded. Of particular note was the lithe elegance, the
harmony and balance of the wines, with careful use of oak. Despite showing
great presence and being impressively complex and multi-layered, they had
enough succulence to make them delicious to drink even young. Yet the vintage
class showed just how well they could age.”
Top 6 wines for this year’s competition are in alphabetical order: Hillcrest Saartjie Cabernet Franc 2017, Holden
Manz Cabernet Franc 2017, Lisha Nelson Cabernet Franc 2017, Mulderbosch
Vineyards with their 2015 and 2016 Cabernet Francs and Raats Dolomite Cabernet
Top 6 will be exclusively available from Wine of the Month Club as a mixed pack
after the awards are made public.
Top 3 Blends were Landskroon Cabernet Franc/Merlot 2017, Morgenster Lourens
River Valley 2012 and My Wyn Les Grandes Horizontales 2015. The Vintage Category winner is Ormonde
Private Cellar Ondine Cabernet Franc 2014.
the 2018 Challenge onwards, the panel selected a Value winner, a wine which
offers the best value for money and this year it goes to Bushmanspad Estate
Cabernet Franc 2015, which retails at R130 per bottle.
her summary of this year’s judging experience, Christine said; “The majority of the wines came from the 2015
and 2016 vintages, both acknowledged as particularly good for red wine. As in
previous years, Stellenbosch supplied most of the Golds, just under half, which
is understandable as it has the most Cabernet Franc plantings. The rest came
from Franschhoek, Paarl, Wellington, Elgin, Darling and Robertson. “
Top 6 Challenge winners can be tasted at this year’s Cabernet Franc Carnival
which takes place at Avontuur Estate on Saturday, 18 May. Christine Rudman will present three tutored
tasting sessions , which must be pre-booked via the Carnival ticket site www.plankton.mobi as only 20 seats are available per
session. For more information about the
Carnival and the tasting sessions visit www.cvomarketing.co.za
Gold Medal Winners
Dombeya Cabernet Franc 2014 1.5L , Holden Manz Cabernet Franc 2014, Rietvallei JMB Cabernet Franc 2011 1.5L
Cabernet Franc Single Varietal
Anthology Cabernet Franc 2016, Bushmanspad Cabernet Franc 2015, David Finlayson Cabernet Franc 2016, Doolhof Single Vineyard Cabernet Franc 2017, Idiom 900 Series Cabernet Franc 2015, Jordan Cabernet Franc 2015, KWV The Mentors Cabernet Franc 2017, Mitre’s Edge Cabernet Franc 2015, Morgenster Cabernet Franc 2016, My Wyn Cabernet Franc 2016, Raats Family Cabernet Franc 2016, Rainbow’s Edge Cabernet Franc 2017, REBUS Cabernet Franc 2015, Ridgeback Cabernet Franc 2015, Rietvallei JMB Cabernet Franc 2015, The Garajeest Bruce Cabernet Franc 2015, Vrede en Lust Artisan Range Cabernet Franc 2016, Whalehaven Cabernet Franc 2014, Whalehaven Cabernet Franc 2015
Cabernet Franc Led Blends
Landskroon Paul Hugo Red 2017, Mitre’s Edge Blend 2016, REBUS Fanfaronne 2015, Warwick Trilogy 2015