The 2014 Challenge has now entered its final week of entries which will close on Friday, 7th March @ 17:00. If you haven’t entered yet, be sure to do so via the online entry process by Friday.
Designed and custom built by a cutting-edge joint US/SA tech team, it will be interactive, feature live feeds, be linked to Google Maps and is ….FREE to download. This App will power up winos and consumers to click through to winning vineyard websites, for instant contact and wine purchases!
Available for iOS and Android devices from their respective online stores; one click away!
Jamie Goode shares his thoughts:
On this year’s T100 challenge
‘The Top 100 SA Wine Challenge is now coming of age. The consistently high standard of thoughtful, careful judging, coupled with a smooth back-end logistics set up, is delivering excellent results, and the rising level of entries is really encouraging.’
On Terroir: a sense of place in wine
One of the most interesting concepts in wine is that of terroir. It is a French term which has a number of meanings, and it’s hotly debated in the wine world. In short, it describes the impact on a wine’s flavour of the vineyard site characteristics. This includes the soil type, the local climate, the slope, the direction the vineyard faces, and also other factors such as wind exposure. Together, these factors can alter the way that a wine tastes, imparting a local flavour that is impossible to reproduce elsewhere.
The great example of terroir is in Burgundy, where vineyards just a few hundred metres apart can make wines that sell for prices that differ by a factor of 10 or more. Some vineyard sites are just better than others. And even equally prized sites in Burgundy make wines that experts can often tell apart in blind tastings.
South Africa certainly has terroir, although it has taken quite a while for it to begin to emerge. Gradually, though, winegrowers are beginning to recognize the talents of certain vineyards, and this influences which varieties are planted in certain spots, as well as highlighting particularly special sites. The problem has been that terroir speaks with a quiet voice, and the subtle effects can easily be lost by interventionist or bad winemaking.
It is exciting to see the influence of vineyard soils being recognized here in South Africa. At a Chenin Blanc symposium recently, there was a lot of discussion on how Chenin from granite tasted different from Chenin on schist or sandstone. This may sound geeky, but it’s what makes wine interesting. As yet, we still don’t know exactly how soils influence wine flavour, but it’s clear that they do.
So why is terroir controversial? It’s because it is profoundly undemocratic, in that not all vineyard sites are equal. Some are much better than others. Also it is a French term, and some criticize the French for thinking that their wines are the only ones that have it.
In the future, I predict we’ll see more South African wines where the name of the vineyard, rather than the name of the producer, will feature prominently on the label.