Santé Classic Wine Trophy 2006

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The Classic Wine Trophy celebrates its ninth successful year and second year with sponsor Santé Winelands Hotel and Wellness Centre. This yearly event has now become a popular institution on the South African wine competition calendar.

The philosophy behind the Santé Classic Wine Trophy is to use a unique panel to judge South African wines from a different perspective to other local competitions. The object is to award the best wines according to a Continental palate, with the emphasis on a French taste for classical wines that show balance, elegance and a potential for ageing.

An addition to this year’s competition included a Sauvignon Blanc workshop conducted by Alphonse Mellot, an eighteenth generation winemaker from Sancerre and known in France as the ‘King of Sauvignon Blanc’. Sauvignon Blanc entrants were invited to join in an informal tasting and openly exchange ideas and information. The aim of this event was to encourage the building of links between the traditional Loire Valley producers and the South African interpretation of these delicate grapes.

Olivier Poels – Senior Editor and Bernard Burtschy – Editor of the Revues des Vins de France and the annual wine buying guide, have joined in the tasting procedure of this year’s competition in order to put more focus on South African wines in their home country. (France is still the largest wine consuming market in the world, in volume and value).

The Santé Classic Wine Trophy has thus become a marketing tool for South African wines in all French speaking countries, from Quebec to New Caledonia and from Belgium to Switzerland.

Due to the high standard of the judging only seventeen gold medals are awarded: 9 for red wines, 6 for white wines, 1 for sparkling and 1 for sweet wine. Antique trophies are sourced each year that are in keeping with the title ‘Classic Wine Trophy’. These covetable pieces are awarded to the winner of the Best Red Wine and the Best White Wine.


The all French team who formed the tasting panel were treated to luxurious accommodation courtesy of Santé Winelands Hotel and Wellness Centre:

  • Olivier Poels – Senior Editor of the Revue des Vins de France
  • Bernard Burtschy – Editor of the Revue des Vins de France
  • Philippe Le Francois – Wine importer and owner of three restaurants in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
  • Sebastien Leclezio – Wine importer Bacchanale Ltd, Mauritius
  • Alphonse Mellot – Domaine de la Moussiere, Sancerre.
  • Christophe Bernard – Cooper and proprietor of Bernard Cooperage.
  • Thierry Lefebvre – viticulturist Domaine La Moussiere Sancerre.
  • Khaled Roubah – Wine merchant Belgium, winemaker in Burgundy (Domaine du Coeur) and Languedoc
  • Germain Lehodey – Finalist Best Sommelier of the World 1982. Former Sommelier La Tour D’Argent in Paris, Manager Lynton Hall KZN
  • Marc Friederich – Best Sommelier of Switzerland, owner of Marc’s Restaurant in Paarl
  • Philippe Dietrich – Oenologist and winemaker. Manager for Paetzold South Africa;
  • Jean-Yves Muller – Sommelier and Proprietor of Caveau Wine Bar in Cape Town

Comment from the Sommeliers on this year’s entries:

Mr Burtschy said that even though France is not buying many imported wines, events like the Santé Classic Wine Trophy is providing excitement and expectation in the French market as well Belgium and Canada.

Mr Lehodey noted that the year winners this year managed to offer fresher and more brilliant wines, even with the effect of the global warming, and the general riper fruits widely available.

Mr Muller said that after experiencing a few Classic Wine Trophies, it is clear that South Africa is a terroir based wine country, and has more to offer than an average standardized product, even if big brands are needed to create awareness.

Trophy Winners 2006

Red Wine Trophy
  • Warwick Trilogy 2004
White Wine Trophy
  • Amani Chardonnay 2004
Dessert Wine Gold Medal
  • Boplaas Tawny Port 1980
Gold Medals Red Wine
  • Backsberg Elba 2004
  • De Grendel Shiraz 2005
  • Diemersdal Private Collection 2004
  • Fairview Solitude Shiraz 2004
  • Groenland Reserve Shiraz 2004
  • Lindhorst Statement Shiraz/Merlot 2004
  • Sumaridge Merlot 2004
  • Warwick Trilogy 2004
  • Whalehaven Cabernet Franc 2005
  • Vilafonte Series C 2003
Gold Medals White Wine
  • Amani Chardonnay 2004
  • Chamonix Chardonnay Reserve 2005
  • De Wetshof Bateleur Chardonnay 2003
  • Groot Constantia Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc 2006
  • Hidden Valley Lands End Sauvignon Blanc 2006
  • L’Avenir Chenin Blanc 2006
Gold Medal Sparkling Wine
  • Villiera Monro 1999 Cap Classique

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