Cabernet Franc: 92%; Merlot 6%
Few wards in South Africa that can ripen Cabernet Franc properly like we do in the Banghoek Valley. Overripe and it becomes jammy – under ripe and it becomes herbaceous and vegetal. We use grapes from a single vineyard to create this delicate and harmonious wine. The nose explodes with scents of tobacco leaf, ferns, spearmint, raspberries and blackcurrant leaves. On the palate the tannins are firm and dry and the fruit weight elegant and delicate. The wine has good length and richness right through to the finish. A dryish but lengthy finish.
4 ½ Stars 2023 Platter’s South African Wine Guide
Standout varietal example, 20 (94 pts) focused & precise, ticks all the boxes. Lean & mineral, with chalky tannins yet packed with inky, earthy black fruit, promising great rewards with cellaring.
90 pts Tim Atkin MW 2023
Bernard Le Roux blends 6% Merlot into this Cabernet Franc to give it an extra layer of complexity. Handling its 20% new oak well, it’s a glossy, full-bodied red with rocket and bay leaf aromas, chocolate, raspberry and black cherry flavours and tangy, refreshing finish.
The vineyards are in the Banghoek Valley, Stellenbosch. Elevation is 300- 350m above sea level and is mostly southerly facing. This provides for moderate temperatures resulting in the late but slow ripening of the fruit. The soils are made up of leached, decomposed granite and sandstone. Gravel in the upper layers provides for good drainage in wet seasons and clay in the subsoil provides for moisture retention in
dry ones. Vineyards are trained on a 7-wire hedge and cane pruned by hand. Average yield is 5-8tons/ha.
The 2020 season started fairly cool. At the end of October, wind, a cold snap and then a heat wave caused uneven set in some reds. A heat wave in November 2019, coupled with much needed rainfall, set the vines on a growth spurt that at times seemed tricky to manage. A coldish December-January was followed by typical Cape February heat waves that carried on until mid March. Minimal rain fell during the
harvest months. 2020 was a challenging harvest in the cellar due to simultaneous ripening of cultivars. Late ripening white vineyards and early reds overlapped more that in most other years and we had our hands full trying to get everything picked at optimal ripeness. Berries were small and some red varieties ripened somewhat unevenly. The crop was down by 5-10% depending on cultivar. Red skins released color and tannin easily and required careful extraction to prevent harshness. Overall a challenging but good and very promising vintage