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Stark-Conde Three Pines Cabernet Sauvignon 2016


Tasting Notes

About this wine: This is one of South Africa’s most awarded Cabernets. A five-time Platter 5-star wine, 3-time winner of the Old Mutual Cabernet Trophy in South Africa and a 2-time trophy winner at the prestigious Six-Nations competition in Australia. This wine is based on our “Block 5” of Cabernet Sauvignon, the oldest block on the farm. It has a very finely textured decomposed granite soil with a fairly high percentage of clay. This wine is characterized by its fine tannin structure and its unique floral notes.

Technical info: This wine is based on a higher elevation vineyard site with a finely textured decomposed granite soil with a clay sub-soil and a gentle Southwest-facing slope. The wines made from this vineyard always seem to have good ripeness coupled with good natural acidity and a unique floral note that sets it apart from our other blocks of cabernet. There are five different clones within the block, but we focus on just three: clone 46 which is well structured, but with less forward fruit; clone 27 which tends to have a firm tannin; and clone 163 which is quite fruit forward. The grapes were hand-harvested in early March. They were picked into small lug boxes and cooled overnight to 14 degrees C., then de-stemmed and carefully hand-sorted, crushed into small open fermentation vats and cold-soaked for 2-3 days until natural fermentation started. The next day they were inoculated with a mix of yeasts, half with a South African strain and the other half
with an imported Bordeaux yeast. About 25% of the wine was fermented with natural yeasts. Vigorous punchdowns were given every 4 hours for the first half of fermentation, then every 6-8 hours thereafter. The wine was basket pressed and racked directly to barrel for malolactic fermentation and subsequent barrel maturation. A mix of coopers was used, all French oak, all 300 liter, about 70% new. The wine was bottled without fining and without filtration after 22 months in barrel.

Assemblage: 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Petit Verdot, 3% Cabernet Franc, 2% Malbec and 2% Petite Sirah. Matured for 20 months in small French oak, 30% new. Again a touch of reduction before berry compote and some vanilla. The palate is sweet fruited with soft tannins making it a lot more immediately accessible than its counterpart above (alcohol: 14%).

Winemaker’s notes: The 2016 vintage was a dry growing season resulting in wines that are intensely aromatic with velvety tannins. With this wine we are always looking for a fine balance between Power and elegance. When young, this wine shows the violet/cassis/black cherry notes typical of this vineyard, coupled with the fine elegant tannins for which the Jonkershoek Valley is known. This is the second year that we used Cabernet Franc in the blend, replacing the Merlot. The use of Cabernet Franc emphasizes the more perfumed notes in this wine. Total production: 8400 bottles


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Scores & Reviews

4 ½ Stars 2019 Platter’s South African Wine Guide

Floral, black-fruit seduction on superbly refined, restrained & elegant 16 (93 pts). Harmonious too, with nothing dominating. Dabs petit verdot, malbec & cab franc merge seamlessly with oak (70% new) & part natural ferment to add complexity, length. Old, high-lying vines as 15 (95 pts).

91 pts Wine Spectator 6/15/19

A ripe, sleek and refined style, featuring a focused beam of cassis, laced with a bright iron note, while light alder and savory details flit in the background.  700 cases made, 100 cases imported


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