Competition Blues – Again

Boela Gerber in pensive mood.
Boela Gerber in pensive mood.

Organisers of wine competitions seem to have thicker skulls than the average homo sapiens. They keep knocking their head against the steel gates of controversy, but keep coming back for more. And then stuffing it up again.
Last year saw, among others, the remarkable Diner’s Club Winemaker of the Year debacle where shoddy administration by the organisers led to the embarrassing situation whereby the winner stood down. This year’s first competition, The Classic Wine Trophy, sponsored by Santam, continued the controversial atmosphere, albeit on a lesser scale than the Diner’s Club episode.
The Overall Winner of the Competition was Chamonix, a terrific Franschhoek producer. My Burgundy heart supports this winery all the way. They and their winemaker, Gottfried Mocke, understand the understated nuance that makes Pinot Noir and Chardonnay great.
And during this year’s Classic Wine Trophy, Chamonix won two gold medals for the Cape Chamonix Pinot Noir Reserve 2007 and the Cape Chamonix Chardonnay Reserve 2007.
Throw in the GQ Choice Award given to the same winery, and Chamonix appears to be a sure-fire candidate for Overall Winner.
But check this out. My mate, Boela Gerber, whose Groot Constantia wines I rate despite his penchant for the gay wines of Bordeaux, also made an appearance at the Classic Wine Trophy Show. And lo and behold, Boela also got a couple of gongs: one gold for Groot Constantia Pinotage 2007, as well as the GQ Choice Award for the Pinotage. Okay, at this rate it would appear that Groot Constantia finished in Chamonix’s shadow.
Well, no. And they did not get another gold. But it received the Classic Wine Trophy Shows Red Wine Trophy for Groot Constantia Gouverneur’s Reserve Shiraz 2006.
As far as I can gather, a Trophy means more than a gold medal. Especially as the competition website states:
“Unlike other Competitions, the Classic Wine Show only awards three trophies….”
I contacted the owner of the competition, Christophe Durant, who politely told me this apparent discrepancy ?+¦-+???+¦-ú?-¦?+¦-ú?+¦+¦ as I saw it – was the result of “a decision made this year, with my new sponsor, Santam, in order to reward the most constant wine estate or winery.”
This is all good and will, and no one would doubt that Chamonix have walked the walk in the past. But as far as entrants I spoke to are concerned, judging was done on wines entered for a specific show without the expectations of a trip down memory lane.
Overall winner: Cape Chamonix
GQ Choice awards: Jean Daneel Signature Chenin Blanc 2006; Groot Constantia Pinotage 2007; Cape Chamonix Pinot Noir Reserve 2007
Red wine trophy: Groot Constantia Gouverneur’s Reserve Shiraz 2006?+¦?-¼?+«+ë?+¦???+½?+¦???+¦
White wine trophy: Jean Daneel Signature Chenin Blanc 2006
Sweet wine trophy: Klein Constantia Vin de Constance 2004
Sparkling Wine Trophy: Simonsig Cuvee Royale 2003
Gold medals, red wines:
Groot Constantia pinotage 2007; De Wetshof Nature in Concert Pinot Noir 2006; La Motte Pierneef shiraz/viognier 2007; Cape Chamonix Pinot Noir Reserve 2007; Warwick Trilogy 2005; Klein Constantia Marlbrook 2006; Cederberg Shiraz 2006; Morgenster Lourens River Valley 2004; Saronsberg Seismic 2005
Gold medals, white wines:
Southern Right Sauvignon Blanc 2008; Cape Chamonix Chardonnay Reserve 2007; Ataraxia Chardonnay 2008; Hamilton Russell Vineyards Chardonnay 2008
More can be read at

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