The Sommeliers Selection is the only South African wine competition judged solely by a panel of South Africa’s top sommeliers, in categories fashioned around the perfect varietals for a restaurant wine menu. The Sommeliers Selection is the only South African wine competition judged solely by a panel of South Africa’s top sommeliers, in categories fashioned around the perfect varietals for a restaurant wine menu.
This year, more than 300 wines were entered into the contest which was held in Cape Town in mid-June.
“With the rapid and exciting growth of the food and wine industry in South Africa over the last 20 years, consumers are looking for experienced guidance when it comes to selecting wine. This competition does just that.” says Darielle Robertson, founder of The Sommeliers Selection.
"With categories such as Fresh & Crunchy, or Voluptuous & Rich, or Elegant & Classy, wines of different varieties, blends and pricing, but stylistically similar, can stand alongside each other. The panel of sommeliers then blind tastes these wines individually, only knowing vintage and price point, before discussing the wines and deciding if they fulfill the criteria of being placed on the Sommeliers Selection "ultimate" wine list."
This year, the Sommeliers Selection Competition Chairman and current board member of The South African Sommeliers Association, Joakim Hansi Blackadder chaired the judging panel. Joakim was joined on the panel by:
• Wikus Human
• Neil Grant
• Tinashe Nyamudoka
• Minenhle “Minnie” Mthombeni
• Esmé Groenewald
• Barry Scholfield
• Spencer Fondaumiere
• Billet Magara
At the annual feedback session with the winning list, the panel discussed the entered wines, what they looked for in a perfect wine list and which wines “wowed them as well as the emphasis on the importance of judging wines for ideal pairing with food.
Said Blackadder: “Freshness, expression and elegance were attributes that stood out amongst this year’s winners. The competition, now in its fourth year, has become one the most relevant and exciting competitions on the calendar with its unique angle and approach. Lengthy and passionate discussions took place between the experienced sommeliers on the panel pertaining to the wines' age worthiness, suitability with food and overall value for money. At the end, all wines awarded and selected for the wine list were ratified by one final re-tasting by the chair and the two heads of the panel. The resulting selection of awarded wines truly represents some of the best in the country, and something we can all proudly stand behind.”
Members of the media and trade are invited to sample these wines at tastings, scheduled to take place on Monday, 6 August at Tokara Deli in Stellenbosch. For those living in Gauteng diarise Wednesday, 29 August at The Southern Sun in Hyde Park for the media and trade tasting.