2011, a difficult but rewarding vintage

With the start of the European vintage coming closer (some wineries in Champagne already started to harvest on Friday, the earliest in 189 years), it is only fitting that we reflect on our own year-to-date.

The 2011 harvest in South Africa was difficult to say the least, with heat waves damaging Chardonnay grapes and affecting Cabernet Sauvignon yields. But it shows great promise none the less as was seen at this year’s SA Young Wine Show held on Friday in Lamberts Bay.

The SA Young Wine Show is an established tradition in South Africa and all of the 145 wineries that competed in this year’s event vied for the prestigious General Smuts trophy (which is enormous and probably weighs more than me!).

The competition was tough with 1911 wines competing for the title where only 65 gold medals were awarded along with 17 trophies, that were impressively displayed at Muisbosskerm. This year’s hosts the West Coast Wine Route put their best dish forward with an impressive spread.

Our finger-licking (literally) meal consisted of crayfish, fish (every way you can think of smoked, baked and fried), paella and a range of other Afrikaner delicacies.

When the time came to announce the winner of the coveted trophy, the mood in the tent was one of elation as all of us were happily satisfied with our local cuisine and wine. Some of the wines on offer included the Fryers Cove Bamboes Bay 2010 Sauvignon Blanc, Sir Lamberts Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2010and the Bell Post 2007 Ruby Cabernet.

When Riebeek Cellar’s Wooded Viognier walked away with old ‘Jannie’ the entire tent was clapping, laughing and joining in the their joy.

To see the full results of the competition please click here.

This article was first published as a blog post on WINE.CO.ZA, please click here to see the original article.

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