No, we won’t be offended if you ask yourself: ‘What in the sweet world were these two doing at a wine auction?’.
Because let’s face it, we were asking ourselves the same thing.
After all, being quintessential millennials du jour, our wallets are neither flashy nor flush, and we surely fall more into the ‘aspirational’ market list than we do onto the ‘prospective buyers’ list. So upon receiving an invitation to this year’s Nederburg Rare Wine Auction, it was really more of a curiosity meets safari-style experience that found us entering the Sun Square Hotel on the 31st July, wine glass and extensive catalogue of available vintage wines for sale in hand.
Here’s are 3 things we learnt:
1) We didn’t know really know how a wine auction works. Now we do. Well, sorta.
Turns out, much like any auction, a wine auction is just the same – a public sale in which wine is sold to the highest bidder. In the case of the Nederburg Rare South African Wine Auction, because this is an event accessible by invitation only, the preview session we attended gives all prospective buyers an opportunity to taste through the 100 wines that will be available for sale on the day, to decide which ones they would like to bid on at the actual auction. Known to be the oldest auction in the New World of wine, the Nederburg Auction is the industry platform of choice for buying South Africa’s most rare and sought-after wines. This is serious business, with prospective buyers hailing from places of high power and wealth. And of course, the two of us, making our way around a small, windowless room and trying to take in the experience while being asked if ‘blogging is ALL that we do?’. FYI: It’s not. But thanks for asking.
2) Nederburg (part of the Distell group) has a damn fine collection of vintage wines.
Let’s face it. Brand perception is a real thing, and most of us wine plebs who do not rotate in these grey-roomed circles would tend to associate Nederburg to your cheap and cheerful weekend wine that you buy for braais, pre-drinks and good times. Turns out, these guys have a prestigious side to their barrels! It is through an event such as the Nederburg Auction that they are able to place focus on promoting older South African wines, prompted by a commitment to the preservation and continuation of South Africa’s rich, rare wine heritage. It’s commendable, it’s important, and it tastes bloody fantastic.
3) South African white wines are ageing better than red wines.
Say what you like, these statement is not just something we’re saying for fun. Indeed, it was heard to be said several times around the room from opinion-formers much more lauded than yours faithfully. While the red wines in the room had their shine and charm (we particularly enjoyed the Alto Cabernet Sauvignon 2000), the star performances were led by the white wines, in particularly, the Sauvignon Blancs and Cape White Blends. The reason this is surprising is that there is a general perception that white wine, especially Sauvignon Blanc, is meant to be drunk young while aroma characteristics such as ‘zesty’ and ‘racy’ are still applicable. Yet, here be wines that are 10, 15, 20 years old and stealing the limelight from the traditionally favoured wooded whites like old faithful Chardonnay. So what are we saying? South African Sauvignon Blanc is a force to be reckoned with, and if done right, it’s an investment wine. Who knew?
The actual Nederburg Wine Auction will take place between the 7 – 8th September 2018.
For more information, and if you have fancy pants and can afford fancy wines, head here: https://www.nederburgauction.co.za/
Here are our snaps of the day: