Tim Atkin 97
Very few recent South African releases have been as eagerly awaited as this 2018 red from the old Cordoba property on the flank of the Helderberg. And it doesn’t disappoint in the slightest. Cabernet Franc-centred, with 24% Merlot and 16% Cabernet Sauvignon, the new crescendo is a beautifully refined, detailed red from 21-year-old vines. Violet and cut grass aromas lead into a palate that is fresh, bright and comparatively low in alcohol with filigree tannins, subtle wood, fine tension and the focus and balance to age. What a début!
Anticipated maturity: 2024-2032
The vines are now 21-years-old and organically farmed on Table Mountain sandstone soil over granite. Schalk-Willam Joubet, winemaker of “Rupert & Rothschild” was appointed to oversee the resurrected wine, and the maiden 2018 was released earlier this year. It is a blend of 60% Cabernet Franc, 24% Merlot and 16% Cabernet Sauvignon, matured in a combination of 225-litre oak barrels (one-third new) plus 9,000-liter foudres and cement vats for 36 months. The nose expresses the Cabernet Franc with style, predominantly black fruit, intermingling with lavender, leather and crushed violets emanating from the Cabernet. The palate is very well balanced with quite a plush texture and a finish inspired by the Right Bank, though it is unmistakably from the Cape. It was difficult to resist another sip, an exemplar for the new-style of more restrained, terroir-driven Stellenbosch wines. Think what Figeac might taste like if it suddenly woke up and found itself in Stellenbosch. Be quick to grab the 2018 as it is sold out in many places, though the 2019 will be released imminently.
Anticipated maturity: 2024-2040