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Saturday, August 16, 2008

Nederburg Wine Tasting at Veritas, Toronto, June 12, 2008

The Time and Date: Thursday, June 12, 2008     7Pm to 10PM
The Event: Nederburg wine tasting dinner.
The Venue: Veritas Restaurant, King Street
The Target Audience: wine press (Michael Pinkus and myself)
The Availability/Catalogue: most wines are available from time to time
in Vintages (see below). Linley Schultz, the chief winemaker for
Distell (the mother company) and Deveron Wilcock, the Distell brands
manager in Canada were eating with us, and answering questions. Dana
Lee Harris was flown in from out west to co-ordinate and moderate all
of us.
The Quote: "Nederburg regularly collects Veritas awards in South Africa
– and here we are eating at Veritas. Coincidence?"
The Wines: Distell produces over 20 million cases annually, most
selling for under $50. They are the largest in South Africa, and they
also do brandy and apple cider (they are the second biggest producer of
apple cider in the world). Nederburg has 800K cases a year, and
regularly picks up awards because of its high value/low pricing
policies. The Manor House label is reserved for the "best of the best".
Like many large wineries, the company has a tiered system. To night we
tried some of tier two (Winemaker's Reserve) and some of tier three
(Manor House) – six in all. Most of the Manor House production was for
export. We did them in pairs:
-Winemaker's Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2007 - $11.75, 750,000 litres
made, their basic good SB with zest.
-Manor House Sauvignon Blanc 2007 - $16.95, 27K litres made, more
length in the finish, from three "single blocks", all of them cool
climate type for that sprightly greenness.
-Winemaker's Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 - $11.75, herbal
complexity but also a New World softness.
-Manor House Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 - $16.95, hand-picked and hand-
sorted. 10 year old vines from Paarl vineyards. Some herbal
complexities as well as a Bordeaux feel. Supple tannins for early
development. Vintages on August 23.
-Winemaker's Reserve Shiraz 2006 - $11.75, 400K litres made. Soft,
mocha tones.
-Manor House Shiraz 2006 - $16.95, 50K litres made, using chips and
staves and brandy barrels for 18 months. Medal winner. And the 2005 won
a Rosemount Trophy plus other Golds in other competitions. Tons of
black fruit on the nose, spicy finish. Low yielding vineyard blocks.
Vintages on August 23.
The Food: we tasted the wines, and then we ate dinner, cross-tasting
the wines and foods. The food was off the menu; we shared oysters. We
decided to have samples of everything (God knows what it cost the
agent): mini versions of mushroom and vegetable cannelloni, vegetarian
cassoulet, Cornish hen, Ontario pickerel, pork loin, trout, striploin,
duck breast – everything as local and seasonal as possible. In true
style, all the wines went well with everything because they were
designed that way.
The Downside: the gathering was small.
The Upside: all questions were answered.
The Contact Person:
The Effectiveness (numerical grade): 93.

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