May 10, 2024

Carmen Stevens takes the lead at the Red Blend Wine Challenge, in Cape Town

The first Wine Challenge of 2024, was Red Blends, which took place on February 22nd in Cape Town, and Carmen Stevens’ Petrichor emerged as the clear winner

The first Red Blend Wine Challenge of 2024,  was judged by three experienced tasters, Cape Wine Masters Ginette de Fleuriot and Christine Rudman (as Chair), and well-known journalist and international judge Fiona McDonald.

The tasting was divided into five categories: Bordeaux-style, Cabernet-dominant non-Bordeaux, Cape blends with 30%+ Pinotage, Shiraz-dominant, and ‘Other’. The tasters were only told about the blends or varieties, not the vintage or origin. The international 100-point system was used for judging, and all wines were evaluated blind in the presence of an auditor from Cecil Kilpin & Co. There was no discussion until after the tasting, when overall impressions for each category were requested.

There were eight gold medals awarded for wines scoring 90 points or higher, with Bordeaux blends accounting for half. Carmen Stevens’ Petrichor (WO Coastal) emerged as the clear winner, followed by Lovane Isikhati 2019 from Stellenbosch, Mitre’s Edge Sholto 2020 (WO Simonsberg-Stellenbosch), and Welbedacht Cricket Pitch 2022 from Groenberg-Wellington. The next best performing category was Cape Blends, with two gold medals: Pulpit Rock Louisa 2019 ex-Swartland and Jakkalsvlei Mount Cuvee 2022 (WO W Cape). One Shiraz blend earned gold, Truter Taste Shiraz-Cabernet 2023 (WO W. Cape), with Survivor Reunion 2022 (WO Coastal) representing blends that fell outside the above categories.

The panel was impressed with the overall creativity shown: of the Bordeaux blends Petrichor was a 5-part blend, which included 4% Carménère, a rare Bordeaux variety. Lovane and Mitre’s Edge were both Cabernet-led, while Welbedacht’s dominant variety was Merlot at 42%.  Of the Cape blends, Pulpit Rock included Pinotage, Cabernet and Shiraz while Jakkalsvlei was Pinotage/Shiraz, with the Truter wine using equal Shiraz/Cabernet. Survivor was the most individual, unusually had Pinot Noir at 45%, in partnership with Pinotage and Cinsaut.

The rest of the awarded entries were Silver, scoring well above the 80 -89 margin, more than half at 88/89, with no Bronze awarded, reflecting the general quality of the wines submitted. The vintages stretched from 2018 to 2023, with the majority at 2022.

In general, the panel was impressed with the judicious use of oak, most of the wines had harmonious tannins and were accessible, despite their youth. In fact, there was overall attractive drinkability. The most gravitas and ageing potential was found amongst the Bordeaux blends, not surprising given their varietal base.

Find out more at: Carmen Stevens Wines


Story by WineLand Media

Photo by Carmen Stevens Wines