A young winemaker’s guide to the CWG Showcase

JOBURG, Aug 2019 – You can tell a lot about someone by the wines that they like. And what’s true about Candice Barnes is that she has excellent nose and the sensitivity that makes a great wine maker. On Wednesday the 21 August, Anonymous Sauces  attended the Cape Wine Makers Guild Johannesburg Showcase. The annual event brought together the crème de la crème of Johannesburg’s wine society as well as the corporate types one would expect to meet at an event hosted in a bank. 

We were lucky enough to be shown around by Candice Barnes, a first year in the CWG Protégé Programme.  An internship that pairs aspiring winemakers with guild members over a three -year period.

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We asked Candice to round up four of her favourite wines at the showcase, partly because we wanted to get to know her a bit better but, also because figuring out what to drink at events like this can get a bit daunting, so having expert advice is always a bonus. 

Her first choice was the Lismore Viogner an unusual wine because of the rarity of the varietal and because it was made by one of the few female winemakers in the Guild. The wine was fresh and crisp with good acidity and a lovely but subtle nose, it got hearty approval from all of the Anonymous Sauce team. This was followed by the Charles Hopkins’ 2019 Wooded Sauvignon Blanc. Here the nose became bolder with strong grassy and tropical notes. It felt like a punch to the nose in the best way possible.

We then switched to red wines, starting with the 2016 Rijk’s Pinotage. Keeping with the tradition of bold noses, the pinotage was really aromatic with strong notes of black fruit and a little heat. However, where the wine really shone was in the winemakers attention to texture and mouth feel with a lovely, lingering butter finish. 

Expert Tip: A good way to describe tannins is to swatch fabrics and describe how it feels on your tongue. Is it more like Velcro or more like silk? Both of which are good in different contexts.

The final wine in the Candice selection was David Nieuwoudt’s 5 Generations Cabernet Sauvignon an elegant wine that backed cab’s drinkability with complexity that would allow it to age well. By this point in the tasting my notes started to get shaky but what I remember most clearly was the sense that I wanted to drink a whole bottle of this wine on a night in with friends.

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David Nieuwoudt’s 5 Generations Cabernet Sauvignon was a hit with the Anonymous Sauce crew

Nieuwoudt  also happens to be Candice’s guild mentor and in his own words, “She’s on fire, always. A rockstar.”

Once she completes the programme, Candice would like to continue to lean in to her calling as winemaker, creating wines with softer techniques that have a strong emphasis on  the expression of terroir. You can’t buy her wines just yet but there’s no doubt that Candice is a force to be reckoned with and an asset to the future of South African winemaking.

Expert Tip: One of the ways to how well a wine will age is how long it can stay open without getting over oxidized. When makers are trying to make a wine that will age well, they expose to oxygen early on in the process. At home you can test a wine’s aging potential by leaving a partly drunk bottle in the fridge for a week or so. If you’d still like to drink it afterwards, the chances are that it will age well and that you may want to consider getting additional bottles to age.

-CH

Note: Thanks to the CWG Showcase for the complimentary tickets.

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