Earlier this week Christian Eedes presented the results of his third annual Christian Eedes Cabernet Sauvignon Report, sponsored by Sanlam Private Investments, at a lunch-time function held at Burrata. A number of the Top 10 winemakers have collected Top 10 awards in the past three years, reflecting the consistency of the results for South Africa’s second largest varietal. Eight of the Top 10 Cabernet Sauvignon winners are from Stellenbosch this year.
Eedes explained that sixty Cabernet Sauvignon producers were invited, on the basis of their performance in Platter’s, at Veritas, and other wine awards, to submit their wines for evaluation for his Top 10 Cabernet Sauvignon Report. Roland Peens and James Pietersen, both from Wine Cellar (James was formerly with Belthazar) were his fellow judges, as has been the case in the first two years. The standard is higher every year, Eedes said, making it more difficult to judge than before. He thanked Social Media writers for assisting him in spreading the results of his Reports.
From the 2014 evaluation Eedes said that ‘winemakers are going in pursuit of fruit and less aggressive tannins, and simply put, this means picking riper and working smarter on the cellar. The end result is a wine with sumptuous fruit but not short of freshness or tannic structure. The best wines display fruit purity, acidity which is not hard or spiky and firm but fine tannins‘. This reflects a greater attempt by Cabernet Sauvignon winemakers to make their wines better suit the requirements of wine drinkers and critics, he added.
The ten Top 10 Cabernet Sauvignons were rated on a 5 point scale, and the winners were mentioned alphabetically per rating.
* 4 out of 5: Kleine Zalze Family Reserve 2009, and Oldenburg Vineyards 2011
* 4,5 out of 5: Knorhoek Pantére 2011, Rickety Bridge Paulina’s Reserve 2011, Spier Woolworths Reserve 2011 (grapes from Darling and Stellenbosch), Spier Woolworths The Hutton Single Vineyard 2012 (grapes from Darling), Thelema 2010, and Warwick Blue Lady 2010
* 5 out of 5: Rustenberg Peter Barlow 2009, and Waterford 2011
I asked Johan Jordaan from Spier why Stellenbosch would have done so well in this competition, and he attributed this to the clay-based soils and restricted water supply, which leads to low yields.
I enjoyed seeing Neil Grant and Chef Annemarie Steenkamp again, and both seem excited about their new restaurant Bocca they will be opening on the corner of Wale and Bree Street in winter. Chef Annemarie will look after the new kitchen for a while after opening, and will return to Burrata. It looks as if the team could have yet another project up its sleeve! Chef Annemarie and her team prepared canapés, which she helped me to photograph in good light close to her kitchen, serving Gruyère toasted sandwiches, springbok pies, sirloin rolled in leek ash, lamb meatballs with celeriac chips and cream, and mushroom arancini.
Wade Bales Wine Society is selling mixed packs of the latest Christian Eedes Top 10 Cabernet Sauvignons.
Disclosure: We received a bottle of Warwick Blue Lady 2010 with our media pack.
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage