Imagine tasting 50 wines at 8.30 on a Friday morning – and not actually drinking a drop! This is what Cape Grace Food &Beverage Manager Michael Liffmann and Signal Restaurant Manager Martin Drotsky did at the 2012 Nederburg Rare South African Wine Auction, in order to bid on the pinnacle of rare South African wines for the Cape Grace cellar.
Out of the 77 wine estates represented, they successfully bid on 12 different wines from 9 estates. To even be at this auction these wines have to go through extraordinarily difficult selection criteria:
- Wines must represent the pinnacle of the estate’s winemaking skills, and have the rarity factor of no longer being available in general circulation.
- The wines must be at least five years old for reds and two years old for whites.
- Each wine must be judged for its character, style and quality by a panel of experts.
- The wines must, in the opinion of the selection panel, be able to continue to evolve and mature.
Cape Grace were thrilled to come away with a superb selection and if you wish to taste some of these noteworthy vintages, you can do no better than starting with Michael’s most treasured Nederburg Auction purchase;
Kanonkop Cabernet Sauvignon 1994. “This wine has a deep red colour and displays an enormous amount of red and black berry flavours, complemented with balanced wood flavours to form a well-structured and balanced wine. It will mature well for another five to seven years.” A description extracted from the auction catalogue.
Or a Shiraz that Martin was ecstatic about:
Rijk’s Private Cellar Shiraz 2003. “Intense red colour, rich spicy nose with aromas of prune, coconut and cloves. The wine has a broad mouth-feel, kept fresh by youthful tannins. Best enjoyed with venison or well-aged rump, preferably medium to rare.”
“Michael and Martin’s purchases at the Nederburg Auction have added to the Hotel’s cellar collection, which has a capacity of 10,000 bottles.”
Some of these are in Bascule Vinothèque private bins where private collectors, companies and wine estates store their prized wines to drink at their leisure. Other visitors to Cape Grace can choose from the Wine List at Signal Restaurant, which achieved top honours in the 2012 South Africa’s Wine List Awards and the Diners Club Wine List Award.
With buyers at Nederburg Auction from 23 countries, it was the South Africans who bought 60% of the wines, with Namibian buyers next in line, followed by Kenya, Taiwan, India then United Arab Emirates and Romania. But the current economic climate reared its ugly head and overall sales for 2012 were almost 1.5 million less than last year! Luckily there were still buyers willing to part with thousands of Rands in the Charity Auction, which raised R157,700 for Anna Foundation, Goedgedacht Trust and Pebbles Project Trust.
Who do you think were South Africa’s biggest buyers? Scroll down for the answer……
Answer: Spar Group spent the most at the 2012 Nederberg Auction at R666,280, Checkers came in second at R477,550.