Emile Joubert writes about the Southern Sauvignon Blanc Encounter (published on The Wine Goggle)

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With the Southern Sauvignon Blanc Encounter between South Africa and New Zealand poised on a knife-edge, South Africa put in a superb showing in the final rounds, winning this unique competition with an average score of 90.4/100pts to the Kiwis’ 89.4/100. It was New Zealand, however, who produced the top-scoring wines of the day with its Villa Maria Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2020 and Astrolabe Sauvignon Blanc 2020 topping the score-sheets with ratings of 93.4/100 and 93/100 respectively. South African winery Stark-Conde from Stellenbosch put in the best showing by a Cape wine with a commendable 92.8/100.

For this Southern Sauvignon Blanc Encounter between the two Southern Hemisphere sporting rivals, 10 wines from New Zealand squared up to 10 from South Africa, both sets of wines specially selected for this competition by panels of experts from each respective country. The contest, organized by New Zealand wine producer Erica Crawford and Cape-based independent wine marketer Emile Joubert, was arranged as a part of the celebrations honouring 100 years of rugby rivalry between South Africa and the Land of the Long White Cloud. Crawford worked with Cameron Douglas MW to select a line-up of 10 Sauvignon Blanc wines from her homeland, and all the wines were from the world-famous Marlborough region on the South Island. Joubert collaborated with Sauvignon Blanc SA, the marketing arm for Cape Sauvignon Blanc, who assisted him in picking a 10-wine line-up.

Judging – blind, unsighted – took place on Diemersdal Estate in the Durbanville region of Cape Town on 22 September. The 100pt scoring system was used by the following judges:

  • Dr Winifred Bowman, Cape Wine Master
  • Steffi Layer (German), exports manager for Diemersdal
  • Erica Taylor (USA), wine and sommelier consultant
  • Rüdger van Wyk, winemaker at Stark-Condé
  • Joaquim Sá (Portugal) Amorim CEO in South Africa