If you want to know what food pairs the best with wine and what the country’s top sommeliers recommend, then don’t miss the Sommeliers Selection wine tastings which take place in Johannesburg and Cape Town in September and October.
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.
Winning wines to be tasted come from top South African wine estates and include Hartenberg, Creation, Steenberg, Boschendal, Glen Carlou, De Grendel, Graham Beck, Paul Cluver, Opstal and many more.
Tickets cost R200 a person including a tasting glass.
The Johannesburg tasting takes place at the Tsogo Sun Hotel, Hyde Park Shopping Centre, on Thursday, September 28, from 17:00 to 19:00. The Cape Town event takes place at The Stack, Leinster Hall, 7 Weltevreden Street, Gardens, on Thursday, October 5, from 17:00 to 19:00. Tickets on https://www.webtickets.co.za/
Says Darielle Robertson from The Sommeliers Selection: “With the rapid and exciting growth of the food and wine industry in South Africa during the last 20 years, consumers are looking for experienced guidance when it comes to selecting wine. This competition does just that.
“With categories such as White: Fresh & Crunchy or Red: Voluptuous & Rich or Red: Elegant & Classy, wines of different varieties, blends and pricing, but stylistically similar, can stand alongside each other. The panel of sommeliers then blind tastes individually, before discussing the wines and deciding if they fulfil the criteria of being placed on the Sommeliers Selection ‘ultimate’ wine list,” she explains.
Judges for this year’s competition were Sommeliers Selection competition chairman and current board member of the South African Sommeliers Association (SASA), Joakim Hansi Blackadder (from Somm Hospitality Enterprises) and SASA and the Black Cellar Club (BLACC) sommeliers Pearl Oliver (Taj Cape Town), Tongai Joseph Dhafana (La Colombe), Billet Magara (Oyster Box Hotel), Barry Scholfield (Somm Hospitality Enterprises), Esmé Groenewald (Somm Hospitality Enterprises) and Spencer Fondaumiere (Burrata Restaurant). They were joined by trainee judges Melusi Magodhi (Ellerman House) and Minnie Mthombeni (Karibu restaurant).
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.
Explains Blackadder: “Freshness, expression and elegance were attributes that stood out among this year’s winners. The competition, now in its third 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 panel. The resulting selection of awarded wines truly represents some of the best in the country, and something we can all proudly stand behind.”
Judge and sommelier at La Colombe restaurant Joseph Tongai Dhafana reveals his stand-out wines: “All the wines are good. However, my favourites include the Opstal Estate Carl Everson Chenin Blanc 2016; Creation Wines The Art of Chardonnay 2016 and the MCC vintage Silverthorn Wines Jewel Box 2013.”
See below for a full list of the winning wines or visit www.thesommeliersselection.co.