Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show: views from an associate judge

Mr. Anthony I-dig-SA-Chenin Rose

“You are a bit of a young fogey at heart, aren’t you?” observed UK wine writer and international judge at this year’s Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show, Anthony Rose. This rhetorical question was directed at me as I was defending a particular style of Chenin Blanc deemed to be ‘traditional’ and therefore less desirable.

We were seeking to identify the top Chenins – worthy of an Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show Gold Medal –  and, unfortunately, the style I was punting just wasn’t as appealing as the more ‘luminous’ and bright styles in the line-up. “That is Jean Daneel [Chenin] five years ago,” noted panel chairman Christian Eedes, implying that we have moved beyond that. But I liked Jean Daneel’s Chenins then, and shoot me, but I still do. Continue reading

I am not a fan of Merlot but…

Everybody who knows me knows I hate Merlot. Local Merlot that is. Green, unbalanced, harsh tannins, bitter finish, boring and acidic are the dominating descriptors I associate with the category. I have noted before that Graeme Read’s Hillcrest Quarry Merlot 2008 is one of a handful of local Merlots I’d actually drink, it being a damn pretty wine as results in the Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show 2011 confirmed. For the rest, I’d be more prone to chuck it than chase it.  Continue reading