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 notes: 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.
Winemaker’s notes: The 2017 vintage was a warm and dry growing season resulting in wines that are intensely aromatic with velvety tannins and good concentration of fruit flavors. 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. Total production: 8175 bottles
96 pts Greg Sherwood MW July 2021
The grapes for this vibrant single vineyard wine were hand-picked, sorted, basket pressed and then fermented in small batches before being matured in small French oak barrels for 20 months. The wine was bottled without fining or filtration. The aromatics are piquant, spicy and thoroughly enticing with hints of fragrant black berry confit on slightly burnt brown breakfast toast supported by emerging notes of bruleed coffee beans, inky iodine, sweet cherry tobacco, cola, salty cassis and a pronounced under vein of graphite. The palate is super elegant from start to finish, suave, supple and impressively harmonious with a fine textural breadth and depth of black and blueberry saline fruits, soft, sleek silky tannins and all the tell-tale weightless concentration that has come to define this vintage’s greatest red wines. Seamless, precise and incredibly well made, this is sultry, seductive Stellenbosch Cabernet Sauvignon at its best. Drink now or cellar for 12+ years. (8,175 bottles produced.)
4 ½ Stars 2020 Platter’s South African Wine Guide
Sleek, seductive 17 (94 pts) reflects vintage excellence. Understated yet powerful black fruit, graphite & tobacco notes on layered, refined palate. Differs from 16 (93 pts) in 3% petit verdot addition. Seamless velvety tannins from harmoniously integrated oak, 70% French. Old, high-lying vines.