With all the hype for resurrected old vine projects and natural wines, David’s “Camino Africana” project seeks to kill 2 birds with one stone. This is the oldest Cab Franc vineyard in Stellenbosch – planted in 1955. The vineyard is in fairly poor condition and it’s upkeep and rejuvenation is constant and ongoing. The 5 tons of Cab Franc grapes (that’s all of it) were carefully sorted and lightly pressed into a 5 ton fermenter. After 3 days of cold soaking and allowing spontaneous fermentation to take place, pump overs occurred 3 times per day for 14 days. 10 full days of post ferment maceration was followed by a soft press and further 18 months maturation in new 300 litre Allier hogshead barrels. Bottled with minimal filtration and no fining to maintain the wine’s fine structure. This is as non-interventionist as he could manage. The fruit is pure and very expressive, and challenges the notion that this grape should be used for blending. We get 100 cases of 6 for the US – half the production.
We poured this recently at an event for somms and national restaurant buyers and literally silenced the room – it was epic! For us this is one the most memorable Cab Francs we have ever tasted. World Class! Alas – very little is made. The grapes come from a really old Cabernet Franc vineyard, planted on an old seabed in the Helderberg Basin, near the town of Somerset West – facing the ocean. The soils reminded David very much of the Graves region in Bordeaux, suggesting the potential to make a great wine from this vineyard that is being threatened by urban encroachment. In fact, it’s the last remaining vineyard of any sort within this fully developed community. In his search for special and undiscovered vineyard sites, this truly ranks among his most epic discoveries, given what it is capable of producing. Depth, structure, bold fruit and suave, juicy tannins – all bolstered with classy wood regimen – make for unmistakable quality.
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