After a week of tasting 969 wines entered into the 2011 Best Value Wine Awards, six panel members finally reached the end of an exhaustive process of scoring 419 wines above 2 ½ Stars to be included in the 2011 Ultra Liquors Best Value Wine Guide.
A total of 47 wines achieved Value Awards, with two stand-out producers being recognised for their exceptional Value offering. These are Orange River Cellars, which had seven wines selected for the Best Value Wine Guide – five of which achieved Value Awards – and Distell, which achieved five Value Awards, with 11 wines included in the guide.
Two wines merited 4 Stars – the Glen Carlou Tortoise Hill Red 2008, selling at R45, and the Overgaauw Shepherd’s Cottage Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2008, priced at R39 – with a further 14 wines rated 3½ Stars.
For wines to be entered into the Best Value Wine Awards, they had to be priced at under R60 a bottle, producers were required to have a reasonable amount of stock available to the public and the wines had be submitted in a completed state of production. (No tank or barrel samples were accepted.)
The wines were tasted blind (labels out of sight) and awarded a score out of 20, which was then translated into a Star rating out of five. From this score, a Value rating was awarded based on a quality-to-price ratio. For example, if two wines were both awarded three stars, but one sells at R30 and the other at R55, the wine priced at R30 was awarded a higher Value rating.
Value ratings were awarded out of 20, with wines scoring 19 or 20 points honoured by Value Awards, meaning a fuller write-up and listing at the beginning of each category within the guide.
The hardworking panel of judges comprised Chairman Christine Rudman (Cape Wine Master), Carrie Adams (partner at Norman Goodfellows Fine Wine & Spirit Merchants), Fiona McDonald (wine judge at the International Wine Challenge, Decanter World Wine Awards and Concours Mondial de Bruxelles), Ginette de Fleuriot (Cape Wine Master), Mark Norrish (GM of Ultra Liquors Wine Division), Christian Eedes (Wine magazine panel chairman and editor of www.whatidranklastnight.co.za) and Gawie Marx (Tasting Academy graduate and GM of the Grande Roche Hotel)
Speaking on behalf of the sponsors, Mark Norrish said that Ultra Liquors supported many wineries, large and small, in order to showcase the best possible wines in respect of the price, varietal/blend, region and terroir. The company’s buying team focused on finding wines considered to over-deliver on quality in relation to price, while its staff worked to improve their wine knowledge – 19 had Advanced Cape Wine Academy Course qualifications and one lectured to colleagues
The 2011 Ultra Liquors Best Value Wine Guide is printed as a user-friendly booklet and is inserted into all copies of the November issue of Wine magazine, on newsstands from 25 October.