Durban - In its 22-year history, Veritas has earned kudos for being the country’s most trusted competition for market-ready wines and brandies. This year’s competition, the winners of which were announced in October, saw 1 744 wines and brandies entered, of which 58 achieved double gold status and 147 gold status.

Double gold requires 18 points or more out of 20, gold 17 points, silver 16 points and bronze 15 points.

For years Durban had been excluded from the post-award ceremony national road show that saw these wines presented to the public, until Deloitte got behind the initiative with sponsorship six years ago. Recently the 2012 double gold and gold winners were on display.

Nederburg and KWV shared the glory when the announcement was made.

KWV, last year’s Veritas champion, won the most double gold medals with five for its wines, two double gold for its brandies and another seven gold medals.

Nederburg won four double gold and 12 gold medals.

The other top-achieving wine cellars included Jordan (three double gold); Simonsig (two double gold, seven gold); Boplaas Family Vineyards (two double gold, three gold); Cederberg Private Cellar and Windmeul (two double gold and two gold each); and Guardian Peak (two double gold and one gold).

The brandy category attracted 33 standard, vintage and potstill entries from which KWV and Van Ryn’s each scooped two double gold medals and Oude Meester, Klipdrift Gold and Flight of the Fish Eagle one double gold apiece.

Competition rules state that entrants must have 1 200 bottles in stock to ensure consumers are, in the words of Veritas chairman Charles Hopkins, “pulled closer to the results and can buy, taste and talk about the winners”.

The stand-out double gold white wines during last week’s tasting were undoubtedly the Buitenverwachting Husseys Vlei Sauvignon Blanc 2012, Flagstone Free Run Elgin Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2011, Merwida Sauvignon Blanc 2012 and Under Oaks Limited Release Chenin Blanc 2012.

My favourite double gold red wines included the Creation Syrah Grenache 2010, Nabygelegen Seventeen Twelve 2007, Guardian Peak SMG 2010 and the Simonsig Redhill Pinotage 2009.

The KWV White Jerepigo Limited Edition 1933 was a priceless experience (and I doubt there are 1 200 bottles available) that would have demanded virtually everyone in the room be upstanding on tasting it.

However, the personal find of the evening was the gold medal winner Spier Creative Block 8 2010, a pinotage-led blend of eight varietals including the white wine viognier that left the competition in the dust. The kicker is that this wine is available only for the Swedish market – a fact that may mean the farm has the requisite number of bottles for entry but that it cannot be discussed locally, and that is a pity. - The Mercury

* E-mail your comments and suggestions to me at jenveyn@telkomsa.net