You may have noticed there is a rather well-hyped football tournament taking place in South Africa this month. To celebrate this momentous occasion we have spent the last few months trying to decide which country would win a wine world cup. To do this we invited the crème de la crème of the London food and wine bloggerati to come and do the judging.
Way back in April, we hosted the quarter finals which saw South Africa, Australia, France and Italy overcome Chile, the USA, Spain and Argentina. A few weeks ago we held the semis, and last night the Grand Final which rather surprisingly saw the South Africans take on the Italians.
One of our esteemed regular judges, Simon Burnton, of the excellent Cellar Fella blog, has noted that “as a competition, Bibendum’s vinous World Cup is hopelessly flawed. As an artificial construct intended entirely to get people in a room together with some glasses and some wines, it was a scorcher.”
Spot on, Simon. This competition was hardly scientific but it did ask one important question: “Which country’s wines do you like best?”. It was purely subjective and supposed to be first and foremost fun – with perhaps a small side of a bit of wine education.
Well, it was close – very close. Until the last pair of wines, the countries were almost neck and neck. Star performers included Bisol Jeio Prosecco NV, Journey’s End Shiraz 2005 (a bit of extra bottle age helping it along here), Alois Lageder Lowengang Chardonnay 2006 and the brand-spanking new Syrah-Mourvedre-Touriga-Trincadeira-Cabernet blend from David Trafford called Sijnn (pronounced ‘sane’ apparently). There were some complaints of a dodgy bottle of Rosso di Montalcino, but the ref waved these away. Every good final needs a moment of controversy.
Then came the final pair: the battle of the stickies. Suavia’s Recioto di Soave Acinatium 2006 stepped up for the Italians. The South Africans relied on De Trafford’s Straw Wine 2008. Two passitio-styles made from dried or semi-dried grapes, but it was the up-front, peachy fruit of the De Trafford that won the day, picking up no less than nine scores of 9 or above out of 10. It beat the Recioto by 21.5 points and gave us a final tally of 837 for Italy and 857 for South Africa. Full marks to David Trafford – it was fitting that it was such a brilliant wine played the decisive part.
So the vinous equivalent of the Bafana Bafana has won the world cup. No doubt there was dancing in the streets of Stellenbosch last night.
Huge thanks to all our judges over the three events and a final big thank you goes to our official World Cup caterer, Bryn Williams of the brilliant Odettes restaurant up the road from us at Primrose Hill. The canapes were awesome and it was fantastic to see a Welshman grace the pitch of a World Cup final. There is a first time for everything.