Rabelais is a blend of the best Bordeaux components from our Thelema range from the 2017 vintage. The wine shows concentrated aromas of dark berries, hints of mocha and cedar wood on the nose. The palate has lovely sweet fruit notes, polished tannins and a long, refined finish.
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5 stars Platter Guide 2021
Cab & petit verdot duo (83/17) quietly stellar in youth, 17 ***** (95 pts) striking focus of blackcurrant flavour lifted by ethereal kelp & iodine tones, well-managed tannin structure contains the sleek fruit. New oak up from 805 in 15 (94 pts) to 100%, 20 months. No 16.
97+ pts Greg Sherwood MW Feb 2020
The 2017 Thelema Rabelais Bordeaux blend sticks to its more recent successful recipe of 87% Cabernet Sauvignon with just a 13% splash of Petit Verdot to add extra interest. A fabulously deep garnet-purple colour, this expertly constructed work of vinous art slowly unfurls in the glass revealing complex notes of crushed black currants, earthy black plum, warm black berry crumble, sweet clove and cedar spice. There are some distinctive dusty Cabernet Sauvignon aromas that mix harmoniously with notes of half-smoked cigars together with charged perfumed tones of violets, graphite and sweet black chai tea. Medium bodied and supremely tight knit and focused, there is a piercingly arctic fresh line of acidity that cuts through the plush textured fruit concentration like a surgeon’s scalpel through water paper. The intensity is awesome and the all round richness and opulence held tightly in check by the acids but also super weightless, fine-grained polished marble tannins. The 2015 Rabelais was such an outstandingly great wine that it takes a modicum of courage to even suggest that this 2017 expression is every bit its equal and may well be superior. This great wine truly encapsulates the essence of where South African fine wine has come from but also where it is today. A wine that will give endless pleasure from release but has all the requisite building blocks to age gracefully for 20+ years. An exceptional must have Cape icon red.
96 pts Tim Atkin MW 2020
“We’re very pleased with this,” says Rudi Schultz, and quite right too, as it’s a superb Bordeaux blend from one of the very best recent vintages. Made from Cabernet Sauvignon with 13% Petit Verdot, aged in 100% new wood, it’s compact, dense and serious, with wonderful concentration, freshness, depth and layers of inky fruit supported by fine tannins. Superb stuff. 2025-2035
During our annual vintage review individual barrels are identified and earmarked for the Rabelais blend. Concentrated aromas of dark berries and cedar wood on the nose are complemented by lovely sweet fruit and polished tannins on the palate. The wine finishes long and firm and will reward long term cellaring, 10 – 15 years.