OMGD South Africa Wine Tasting
Knysna, December 2, 2018
Exploring Bordeaux blends

Present were members of the Ordre Mondial in the Bailliage of South Africa, namely George Parkes (Échanson Honoraire), Dr Paul and Annalie Kruger (Chevalier and Dame de la Chaîne respectively), Denise Lindley (Vice-Conseiller Culinaire), Jan Johnson (Bailli Honoraire) and Peter Bishop (appointed scribe for the tasting notes).

For nigh on a decade, Échanson (now Honoraire) George Parkes has presented unique tastings in his private cellar at his home in the holiday seaside town of Knysna, 500 km east of Cape Town.

As well as having the opportunity to taste a wide range of wines, the lucky seven present could also enjoy tasty dishes accompanying each flight prepared as usual by Bailli Délégué Honoraire François Ferreira even though he was unable to attend this year.

Peter and George presented a map of Bordeaux that clearly showed where the various appellations were situated. In doing so this clarified what were “Left Bank” and “Right Bank” wines as well as the quality levels throughout the famed region.

The tasting
The wines were presented in four flights. Each wine was scored out of 20.

Flight 1
Comprised four Bordeaux dry whites (blends of Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc).

Flight 2
The first four of the eight Red Bordeaux blends …

A generic Bordeaux, “Mouton Cadet 2015”, scored an average 14.

Rich in Cabernet Franc, “Warwick Trilogy 2015” from Stellenbosch scored 16.1.

“Vriesenhof Kallista 2009”, again from Stellenbosch, was awarded 17.2 overall.

Lastly, a Saint-Estèphe, “Château Capbern Gasqueton 2009”, scored a mean average of 17.

Flight 3
The second four of the eight Red Bordeaux blends …

“Château Dufort-Vivens 2009” - 2nd Growth Margaux. Score 16.3.
George calls Margaux “an iron fist in a velvet glove”. This wine was a great success with the tasters.

From Stellenbosch “Delheim Grand Reserve 2005” gained 16.6. It was agreed to be a truly great South African Bordeaux-style blend.

4th Growth St Julien “Château Beychevelle 2005” was perhaps understandably popular with many. It scored 17.4.

“Vergelegen V 2001” from Stellenbosch achieved the same 17.4. Should have been decanted. Jan loved the fruit. George thought it had dried out. Yet as Paul and Annelie thought too, it gets intriguing. Great depth especially as it opened out.

Thoughts on the reds
We had no intention of comparing Bordeaux to South Africa nor one wine to another. They were all so comfortable with each other.

The reds were offered in two carefully thought out flights of four where “chosen style” emerged and at a higher level the success was in seeing the supreme elegance of one with the decided structure of a couple of others.

When we taste we tend to immediately ‘high score” the structure wines but we often forget the grandeur of elegance. Each has its merits but it is elegance that should surely reign.

Flight 4
Comprised four dessert wines.

“La Cave d’Augustin Florent - Grand Vin de Bordeaux 2016” was awarded an average of 15.6. A generic Sauternes, it proved to be charming.

Sauternes “Chateau Doisy-Védrines 2007”. Score 16.5. A neighbour to the great Château d’Yquem. Good lustre. Apricot, peach, quite rich.

“Carmes de Rieussec 2005” scored 15.8. Second wine of top Sauternes producer Chateau Rieussec, the name is a reference to the Carmelite monks in Langon.

From South Africa’a Cape region, “Cape Point 2000 Noble Late Harvest” averaged 15.9.

At the end of the session, each taster felt uniquely spoilt. Forget that the tasting took six hours, the company was great and the wines were giving all the messages. It was not the contrast but the complementing that intrigued, also that we could see what gave worth irrespective of country of origin. Not forgetting François offering the lovely platters of food to refresh the palate!

Edited from the extensive tasting notes prepared by Peter Bishop