In a first for the South African hospitality industry, last week saw the unveiling of the Taj-First Growths Wine List: a series of wines considered to be the most sought-after in the world that are now available for enjoyment by guests at the Taj Cape Town. We are honoured to have our Waterkloof Sauvignon Blanc 2012 included on this prestigious list.
Against the backdrop of Table Mountain, estate owners and cellar masters joined members of the media at the Taj to be welcomed by the hotel’s GM, Michael Pownall, Malene Meisner and Rene Dehn of The White Club, and Waterford Estate’s Kevin Arnold.
In his address, Pownall confirmed the exclusivity of the collaboration between the Taj and The World of First Growths: “This bespoke list comprises access to 36 of the top performing wines from the best wine-producing countries on the planet, which makes the Taj Cape Town one of the only locations in the country where they can be publicly enjoyed.”
Dehn, who is The World of First Growths’ Ambassador, expressed his organisation’s support of the local wine industry: “South African wines are highly underrated on a global platform,” he said. “The wines being produced in this country can more than hold their own against the very best in the world.”
Speaking via live satellite link from Switzerland, The White Club’s CEO Malene Meisner confirmed Dehn’s views: “The launch of this special wine list will allow local and foreign visitors the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to enjoy these very rare and special wines, professionally served and in the correct conditions. As such, Taj guests will go on to become dedicated ambassadors for South African wine around the world.”
Arnold, meanwhile, urged those assembled from the winemaking fraternity to embrace the challenge set by The White Club: “By benchmarking South Africa against the very best in the world, The White Club is encouraging us to band together to promote our country’s wines – not at local level, but on a global stage.”
Adding that “there is no greater challenge than what is in the glass”, Arnold then urged guests to enter the designated tasting room in order to “allow the wines to speak for themselves.” Here, under the expert guidance of the Taj’s Head Sommelier, Tatiana Marcetteau, they were given the privilege of tasting a selection of the extraordinary wines on the new list (which includes the Waterkloof Sauvignon Blanc 2012) – among them the immensely covetable Château Haut Brion, Chateau Lafleur and Chateau Leoville Las Cases.
Written by hand and bound in white leather, the Taj-First Growths Wine List is presented separately to the hotel’s regular wine offering and includes full pedigree and tasting notes of each vintage. “These wines are so scarce that many consumers will never have the chance to ever taste them,’ said Dehn. ‘Now, at Taj Cape Town, guests have the unique opportunity to try not only the very best in South African wine, but to compare these with a unique selection of offerings from the globe’s most iconic estates.”
About The World of First Growths
A series of the most coveted vintages from the globe’s top wine-producing countries, The World of First Growths is an initiative of international members-only wine society The White Club. Although traditionally used when referring to a classification of wines from the Bordeaux region of France, the term “first growth” (“premier cru”) here refers to a collection of wines of unparalleled quality, the blue-chip stocks of the wine world, meticulously chosen by an independent a panel of wine professionals, sommeliers, hotel directors, media experts and local consumers through a series of blind tastings.
Compiled under the guidance of Malene Meisner of The White Club, the First Growths collection includes 42 wines – six each from France, Italy, Spain, Australia, the United States and South Africa, with the only exception being Bordeaux, where six from both Left Bank and Right Bank have been selected, plus two stand-alone sweet wines: the outstanding Château d’Yquem from Sauternes and South Africa’s award-winning Vin de Constance. Only wines whose origins are 100-percent traceable and where consistent quality is guaranteed feature on the list.