Attendees of an event in London today agreed that South African wine over £10 can compete on price and quality with equivalents from classic European wine regions such as Bordeaux and Burgundy.
Following a blind tasting of top-end labels from South Africa compared with a handful of corresponding wines from elsewhere in the world, the tasters confirmed that the Cape offers quality and value for money at prices above £10.
The tasting and discussion was organised jointly by the drinks business and Rollo Gabb, who heads the Premium Independent Wineries of South Africa (PIWOSA), which was founded in October 2012 to group together 15 producers to jointly promote South African wine over £10.
Commenting after the wine sampling exercise, James Griswood, wine buyer for South Africa at Tesco expressed his confidence in the quality of wines from the Cape at higher price points.
“My own perspective is that South Africa makes fantastic wine over £10,” he said, adding, “there are a lot of exciting wines that customers buying wine at that price would be more than happy with.”
However, he warned that “shoppers buying South Africa over £10 are very specific,” having highlighted that just 3.8% of wine volumes in UK retail are sold over that price point.
Continuing he explained that Tesco customers tend to buy from more classic wine regions such as Bordeaux and Burgundy at higher prices, and consequently, South Africa needed to further promote its premium wine credentials.
“There is definitely work to be done to persuade consumers that South Africa can produce brilliant wines over £10,” he said.
The event drew the following panel of respected personalities from the UK wine trade and press:
James Griswood, wine buyer, Tesco
Rebecca Palmer, associate director, Corney & Barrow
Dawn Davies, head sommelier, Selfridges
Matt Walls, wine writer, author and blogger
Andrew Catchpole, wine writer
Henry Boyes, wine buyer, Mitchells & Butler
Martin Hudson MW, wine buyer, Berry Bros & Rudd
Ana Sapungiu, wine buyer Oddbins
Wines served blind at the event included:
Ken Forrester Chenin Blanc, South Africa 2000
Beaumont Hope Marguerite, South Africa 2009
Domaine Jacques Prieur, Puligny Montrachet Premier Cru Les Combettes, Burgundy, France 2009
Journey’s End Destination Chardonnay, South Africa 2012
Mulderbosch Barrel Fermented Chardonnay, South Africa 2010
Radford Dale ‘Nudity’ Syrah, South Africa 2013
Mullineux Syrah, Swartland, South Africa 2012
Ben Glaetzer Bishop Shiraz, Barossa Valley, Australia 2012
Mvemve Raats de Compostella, South Africa 2012
Château Reverence, St Emilion Grand Cru, Bordeaux, France 2009
Jordan Cobblers Hill, South Africa 2011
Newton Johnson Family Vineyards Pinot Noir 2012
The Drift ‘There are still mysteries’ Pinot Noir 2012
Paul Cluver Pinot Noir 2012
A full report on the event with comments from all the attendees will appear in the July issue of the drinks business.