Background: Sharing and enjoying wine with friends often leads to the formation of an informal “wine club” which will meet on a regular basis to try out new wines and perhaps enjoy them with food as well. Some clubs are perhaps a little more serious with their tastings than others but in the end they all offer a great way of learning more about the wonders of the fermented grape! Avid discussion over each wine tasted results more in depth understanding as to why the winemaker used the components he or she did to arrive at the final outcome in the bottle. Generally this means that clubs who have been around for some time should have a reasonable idea of what it would take to make up a blended wine.
Recognizing this as an opportunity, Blaauwklippen Wine Estate offers the only wine contest, now in its 34th year, in South Africa where amateur wine clubs are given the chance to submit their own blends for judging by a panel of professional wine experts. The wine for the past 33 years was labelled under the name Barouche and sported a different label each year by created by a recognised Cape based artist. However for the 34th vintage a decision was made to make this “wine club” blend Blaauwklippen’s flagship wine with a redesigned label to suit the seriousness of the product. This year received no less than 83 entries (16% up on last year) with The Western Cape being well represented in the battle between the last four standing wine clubs, Kelderhof Winos (Western Cape), Business Time (Western Cape), Outlander from Gauteng and the Wine Geeks (Western Cape). At the award lunch it was the Kelderhof Winos who created a serious wine with exceptional structure and good ageing potential, securing not only the title of the winning wine club, but also the “Newcomer of the Year” title.
“We challenged the clubs to produce a serious, well-structured red blend, with ageing potential, consisting of Zinfandel 2016, Cabernet Franc 2016, Merlot 2016, Petit Verdot 2016 and Shiraz 2016,” explained Rolf Zeitvogel, MD and cellar master at Blaauwklippen.
“All five of these cultivars had to be used in the final blend and all the wines, which are marked for use in the Blaauwklippen Vineyard Selection range. The Zinfandel was limited to a maximum of 10% of the blends, while the Cabernet Franc was limited to not more than 40% of the total blend.” The winning blend was made up of 8% Zinfandel, 15% Cabernet Franc, 30% Merlot, 7% Petit Verdot & 40% Shiraz
Result: powerful aromas of ripe red and black cherry fruit with subtle hints of blackcurrant and vanilla. The palate is complex and delivers rich silky cassis flavour with gentle tannins on the finish.
When to drink: Now till 2022
Drink with what: We enjoyed the wine with beef roulade, polenta croquette & trio of vegetable puree served with duck liver parsnip mousse prepared by the Bistro team at Blaauwklippen.
Expect to pay: 750ml – R145.00 and 1.5litre (Magnum) – R217.50