SAA Sips on the Best

South African Airways’ (SAA) wine selection is complete.
Each year, SAA goes the extra mile to ensure its passengers are offered quality made by South Africa’s best wine makers. Wine carries an aspect of status and elegance, which we strive to offer those travelling on board our flights.
The airline’s annual prestigious wine selection process for 2004 has took off this week with esteemed local and international experts deciding who has it just right.
International judges were Jerome Barret, Lynne Sherriff, Aurelio Montes, John Duval, Christine Austin and Egon Muller.
Local judges were Dave Hughes, Allan Mullins, Jo-Ann Mettler, Elsie Pells, Yegas Naidoo and Tony Mossop.
Both international recognition and passenger praises have made SAA’s on board listing a platform to highlight the quality precision of local wines and calibre of makers.
The process began in June when wine makers when SAA invited wine makers to submit their entries. By 14 August, the final entries were delivered to the Nederburg Auction Centre. All were then labelled into a category and numbered for the tasting process.
Approximately 900 entries were received from various local wine estates for consideration next year, indicating the 17 year-old event’s prestige. This number is almost 200 up from last years wine selection.
White wines showcased include Sauvignon Blanc, off-dry white, Chardonnay and other white varietals. The reds consist of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Shiraz, Pinotage and other red varietals.
Most popular this year were red blends with the largest amount of entries received.
The Judging is a rigorous process carefully watched by independent auditors Deloitte and Touche. It is intended to identify the best wines submitted, which are then purchased and served on board SAA flights.
The first day, judges are divided into groups of three to score the 750ml wines within their category’s using a 100 point system. The auditors compile the scores identifying the top scoring wines in each category, which go into the second days tasting.
On day two they taste and score all the 750ml wines that are in the final round and the auditors will establish a final ranking per category.
The remaining category’s of Port, Method Cap Classique, 187ml wines and Grand Cru Champagne will be tasted and scored by all members of the panel.
To establish the winning wine for the SAA awards of Top Red and Top White Wine the judges are presented with a small selection of the top scoring wines to once again score and in addition rank these wines.
The top wines selected by the judges will be awarded on 1 November. The categories are Top Red, White, Port and Method Cap Classique.