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Cellar ‘neglect’ delivers gems for 40th Nederburg Auction
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A fortuitous “neglect” of Cabernet Sauvignon vintages in the cellar at the start of the new millennium may have inadvertently lead to the creation of some superb reds on sale at the 40th Nederburg Auction later this year.

Commenting on reds presented for inclusion in the Auction this year, the panel of judges said “over-enthusiastic experimentation” in Bordeaux blends as a result of European influence and new investment in local farms during the 2000-2008 period could account for what they termed “possible neglect” by winemakers of Cabernet Sauvignons of the same period.

This resulted in some Cabernets being “left to their own devices” – and to the delight of the judges, turning out to be the stellar wines they were looking for to include in the 2014 Nederburg Auction line-up.

The same, however, did not apply to the Bordeaux blends under scrutiny. The judging panel, renowned for its rigour and consistency, cut the Bordeaux offering to the bone, only allowing 13 deservedly high-scoring wines out of 42 presented to be included in the Auction line-up.

The 2014 ten-strong panel, which included two new international palates this year, culled more than half the entries from the just over 300 wines offered. International guest judge and influential wine writer Tim Atkin MW said they did not pull their punches, as they had a very clear brief on what to look for.

Selection convenor Michael van Deventer instructed the judges to look for standout wines, not merely good wines. “This being the 40th year of the Auction, we are really rooting for some diamonds coming out of the tasting,” he said.

The result was a tight selection of original, distinctive South African wines to go on auction at Nederburg in Paarl on Friday and Saturday, 12 & 13 September. A collection of 113 wines, totalling 12,156 litres, has been selected for the Auction, compared to 12, 400 litres last year. This amounts to 1 932 cases (versus 2 005 cases and 134 wines in 2013).

Judges were unanimous in their praise of the whites on offer, with Cathy van Zyl MW and Australian Justin Knock MW offering exceptionally high scores in the Chenin category. Of the 22 Chenins presented, 14 made the cut. The judges were equally impressed with sweet wines presented, labelling them “stupendous, as always”. Included in this line-up are several Nederburg Edelkeur vintages – the wine that started the Auction in 1975.

Given that the Auction marks its 40th year, it was fitting that several 40 plus-year old wines and even three 50-year olds made it to this year’s line-up. A 1964 Lanzerac Cabernet Sauvignon, a Zonnebloem 1964 Cabernet Sauvignon and a 1964 Nederburg Port lead the charge for the half-century legends, and set the tone for the excellent showing by older Cabernets at the selection.

Uiterwyk’s 1974 Cabernet Sauvignon, a Zonnebloem 1974 and 1975 Cabernet Sauvignon, an Oude Libertas 1975 Cabernet Sauvignon and a 1974 Middelvlei Pinotage make up the group of exceptional wines sharing the Auction’s birthday.

From the old to the new: several new estates are making a first appearance at the Auction this year. Alvi’s Drift Private Cellar, De Zoete Inval, Kranskop, Mount Sutherland and Romond successfully pitched their wines for the 40th Nederbug Auction.

The 2014 collection comprises of 62 red wines (8,734.50 litres), 29 white wines (2,542.50 litres), one semi-sweet white wine (45 litres), eight dessert wines (301.50 litres), seven fortified wines (371.25 litres) and six Ports (207 litres).

Complete details for each wine will be published in the catalogue, available online and in print towards the end of June. View the complete list of wines selected for the 40th Nederburg Auction HERE.

View this short behind-the-scenes clip of the 2014 selection tasting.

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