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Delhi Wine Club

Posted: Tuesday, October 06 2009. 11:22

Nederburg Hits Delhi with Band -Bajah

Delhi gave an official welcome to Paarl based Nederburg wines with the arrival of 3 variants with 3 top officials including the Director, International Sales, Managing Director for Asia Pacific and the Winemaker received by 3 of the top officers of Aspri with which a new alliance has been formed, writes Subhash Arora.

At a dinner hosted by Mr. David Hopcroft, the relatively new Australian General Manger of Shangri-la, The Wine Masters Reserve Sauvignon Blanc, followed by Pinotage and Shiraz were on offer, well pared with the food crafted by Executive Chef Darren Canole. The dessert, Amarula Fruit Crème Brûlée was served with the signature liqueur of the company, Amarula, a well established brand throughout the world but still a baby in the Indian market where it was first introduced at the business union between Distell and Aspri Wines Pvt. Ltd last summer.

This is a third-time union for Distell in India- the first one for the 5-year old Aspri. Nederberg was marketed earlier by Sonarys while Two Oceans and the sparkling wine JC Le Roux were being imported by Sula. The company has decided to shift the total portfolio to Aspri, including the soon-to-be-introduced entry level Obikwa- a notch lower than Two Oceans, said Marius Fouche, MD for Distell’s Asia Pacific Region.

Clarifying the need for the change of distributor in India he added, ‘we had a great working experience with Sula and especially Rajeev who is a fine individual. But it was a corporate decision as the company felt that his was too successful and focussed a company in its domestic products to really do justice to foreign wines like Distell which needs volumes.’

Nederburg generally brings immediate memories of the nationally regarded important annual event- the world-famous Nederburg auction held every year with the 35th edition concluding last month. To me it has deeper memories- as an international judge at the South African Airways Tasting held at the winery last year, I enjoyed its compounds and surroundings and also a few excellent meals at the beautiful historic Manor House apart from visiting the Nederberg Auction for a day.

Established in 1791, Nederburg claims to have won more local and international awards than any other wine producer in South Africa. It is the biggest brand of the parent company Distell which has a global sale of around $1.3 billion, according to Donald Gallow, the International Director who had come from Stellenbosch for the launch. ‘We are by far the biggest producers in South Africa and among the Top Ten in the world,’ he disclosed, adding, ‘our products are equally divided into wine, liquor including brandy and ciders, with 30% being exported.’

Wines Presented with Dinner

Also present with the entourage was the internationally acclaimed Rumanian winemaker Razvan Macici who presented the wines during the course of the evening. The Best Man for the evening was H.E. Mr. Francis Moloi, accompanied by the Commercial Counsellor Mr. Omar Jardine, both always willing to give a helping hand to the visiting South African wine producers.

 The Masters Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2007- The first thing that hit the nose was the grassy and herbaceous notes. The notes carried into the flavours

Cellermaster Razvan Macici

which had a shade of capsicum and green pepper. I could taste a slight touch of oak vanilla but I was informed it was all made in stainless steel tank, Very clean crisp and fresh wine that was vivacious and yet did not bite as many of the Sauvignons from South Africa tend to do. Well balanced with the Pan fried  goat cheese with condiments. Not very long though. Delicious for daily drinking as also serious food wine for fish, and some chicken preparations as well as several vegetarian dishes. Rating

The Masters Reserve Pinotage 2007

As Razvan Macici explained, he has made it more on the style of Pinot Noir by fermenting it at cooler temperatures of 22-24. He has been able to keep the alcoholic level around 13.5% which is quite good. The tannins are soft and the fruit-cherry and strawberry is in abundance. Like a Pinot Noir, it was a great match with the Confit of Salmon. 

The Masters Reserve Shiraz 2006

This was decidedly the anchor wine of the evening. Not only did it go perfectly well with the classically paired char-grilled mutton (kid’s meat), it was a well structured, homogenous wine with plenty of peppery notes on the nose merging into the flavours that were full of berry fruit and yet quite elegant due to the juicy tannins that were well tamed by the meat. The oak had mellowed the tannins just right and the balance in the wine was commendable as was the after-taste which lingered on. Rating

Wine Pricing

Compliments to Razvan and his team of assistant winemakers for producing international class wines that would do well in any market, but the suggested retail price of Rs. 2400 for the reds and Rs. 2167 for the white seems to be way out of line with what is available from the competition from within the country and outside.

The wines retail for around US $ 12 (Source: One wonders how they would compete with wines from their own country as well as from competing New World wines like Chileans, Australians and Argentine.

The company may do well to recognise that in the current scenario, the retail customer has a resistance level of Rs. 1000 and then at Rs. 1500, beyond which it is difficult to sell volumes. With a reasonable number of labels available for under Rs. 1000, they may have a battle on their hands. The entry level Obikwa may be the answer for retail, with Nederberg being reserved for the duty free hotels.

Duty Free Sales

Marius Fouche (R) with H.E.Francis Moloi

Talking of the duty free sales, the company has a good alliance with Aspri and Flamingo the company that specialises in the duty free shops sales at the airports. If they can sell these wines around $11-$12, the average suggested Retail Price in the US market; they should generate substantial sales for these wines.

As a post scrip, one ought to clarify that typical to the New World wines, the terms like Masters or Reserve do not have any legal sanctity as an appellation or quality like in Italy, Spain or France. Such labels reflect the belief of the winemaker or the producer in a particular wine and the capability of the wine marketers to create an appropriate brand image in the mind of the beholder of the bottle.


Subhash Arora



Marius Fouche Says:

Thank you for attending the launch and for the article thereafter. Well written and mostly positive. I am sure Sumedh will be in contact re the price point as the prices mentioned is for Delhi market – in Maharastra it sells for under Rs. 1500.
Marius Fouche, Managing Director, Distell (Asia Pacific) Pte Ltd, Singapore

Posted @ October 11, 2009 14:05


Jardine Omar Says:

Thank you again Subhash for your article on South African wine. Your weekly newsletter is very informative and I look forward to receiving it. Thank you for always supporting our endeavours to promote South African wine in India.

Posted @ October 07, 2009 12:06


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