There’s been quite a lot written about the slide in South African wine sales in the UK off trade and supermarket sectors over the past year. This is not a unique situation. However on a positive note, we’ve seen the strong performance in the on-trade, where the bargain basement prices are not as prevalent as the high street and where the story behind many South African wines can be communicated with diners.
In light of this I was interested to read through the results of the 2011 Imbibe Sommelier Wine Awards, which were announced a couple of months back. The awards were judged by a team of wine consultants and journalists as well as 60 sommeliers from some of the top restaurants in Britain. No high street wines are allowed which which the results book claims “means you can call in samples of the medal-winners with confidence”.
The awards may be quite new (2011 was only the fifth year) but surely there is some merit in being proactive within this group of people – the sommelier who is at the coal face, putting winelists together and selling to consumers? It may well be the importers /agents who enter the wines into these sorts of smaller competitions, but I would think that more South African producers should be considering this event. Well, unless they did and simply didn’t show very well…
There were no South African Gold Medals for Shiraz or Sauvignon Blanc and no real surprise to see Pinotage off the sommelier radar, with just one Bronze, for the excellent Warwick Old Bush Vines Pinotage 2009.
There were four Gold medals for South Africa:
- Iona Chardonnay 2009, Elgin
- Spier Private Collection Chenin Blanc 2009, Stellenbosch
- Klein Constantia Vin de Constance 2005, Constantia
Metzndorff & Co
- Devon Crest Devon Valley 2006, Stellenbosch (Cabernet, Merlot, Cab Franc)
South Africa also won all four medals (1 Gold, 1 Silver, 2 Bronze) in the New World Chenin Blanc category.