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Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  25 May 2009

MARKETING: Nedeburg's Impessive Auction Line-up


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Nederburg is all set to showcase the very best of its traditions and innovations in Paarl on September 11 and 12, as it marks the 35th anniversary of the Nederburg Auction and 350 years of winemaking at the Cape.

The spring auction line-up spans close to 45 years at Nederburg, starting with the rich and Madeira-like 1964 Port, made entirely from Shiraz, and continues across the decades with several recent vintage, contemporary styled single-vineyard Sauvignon blancs, so clearly expressive of place. Many of these wines are international and local award-winners.

We tried to make the collection of wines we submitted for the panel’s consideration, as representative of Nederburg’s history as possible,” says marketing manager Rudolph du Toit. “There are some wines three to four decades’ old, obviously in very small quantities, but at the same time, we wanted to include wines in sufficient quantities to be accessible to connoisseurs.  While they are all made exclusively for the Nederburg Auction and are thus specialist offerings, there is no reason why they should be the sole preserve of the elite.  Our intention is for Nederburg to be enjoyed by people who love wine and want the privilege of something special that is still within their means.  By focusing on both micro-cuvées, as well as other gourmet wines intended for wider distribution to retail and restaurant chains, we are aiming to make luxury more affordable.”

Lots will vary in size from just 14 cases of 12 bottles to over 200 cases, to address a variety of markets. They include a generous selection of noble late harvests, a category in which current cellarmaster at Nederburg, Razvan Macici, has shown himself to be a worthy successor to Günter Brözel. Brözel’s maiden 1969 Edelkeur was the catalyst for the first auction, providing the platform to sell a botrytised wine that would otherwise not have been permitted under the legislation of the day.

Both winemakers have earned international and local acclaim for their wines made from grapes affected by noble rot (botrytis cinerea).

Says Macici: “Being an important anniversary for the country and the auction, we submitted some of Günter’s wines for the selectors to consider.  In addition to the lovely 1964 Port, there are the very fine 1975 Vintage Cabernet Sauvignon and the 1979 Edelkeur.  Despite its 30 years, this dessert wine is power-packed with fragrance and an intensity of flavours, a vibrant acidity and long, sustained finish that belies its age.  It is a wine such as this that I take as my inspiration.”

Edelkeur will be represented across the 1979, 1996, 2002 (which won a gold on the International Wine & Spirit Competition) and 2004 vintages and Eminence, across the 1991, 2003 (Macici’s personal favourite and twice a winner of a Grand d’Or on the Michelangelo International Wine Awards) and 2004 vintages. Other noble late harvest wines include the graceful but luscious Private Bin S316 Weisser Riesling, made in 2001 during Macici’s first vintage at Nederburg, and the equally attractive 2002 vintage of the same wine. The Sauterne-like 2001 Semillon Noble Late Harvest has been praised by the selectors for its “bright, spicy nose of quince, pear and mango, massive mouth and super creamy character”.

The selection of the more unusual varietal wines to come from Nederburg includes the 2001 Petit Verdot (a Veritas double gold medallist), and Cabernet Franc, and the 2002 and 2003 Malbec, all showing rounded and complete flavours but with many years in them yet. 

The savoury Private Bin R163 Cabernet Sauvignon of 1999 shows traces of olive and bacon overlaid by berries, chocolate and sweet spice, while the Private Bin R115 of the same year  is a blend of Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon and combines savoury, smoky, fruit and spice flavours.

These are made in the more traditionalist style, whereas the R163 Cabernet Sauvignon from the 2004 vintage exhibits more assertive black fruit, with layers of lavender and vanilla.

There will be only one Nederburg Shiraz to come under the hammer, the 2002 R121 Private Bin, which proved so popular last year.  The panel lauded its “grand display of floral notes, chocolate and cherry characters and velvet flow”, calling it “possibly the most elegant Shiraz yet to come from Nederburg.”

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