JUST THE FACTS
Price: R230 (as of September 2016)
Varietal: Cabernet Sauvignon
Wine Region: Stellenbosch
Country: South Africa
Ponce Factor: Moderate to High
Occasion: A second date. Fireside drinking.
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This cab looks and sounds a lot younger than it is. Aromas carry fairly fresh berry fruit & pencil shavings, while the palate hosts ripe cherry fruit, with gentle anise hints & oak spice on the finish. Tannins are present, but soft.
My critique would be that, for R230 per bottle, you get neither the complexity that usually accompanies moderate age, nor the stature and structure that one would expect from a Cabernet Sauvignon. In all honesty, during the blind tasting, the lighter berry-like nature and fairly open nose left me thinking it was a Cabernet Franc.
By all accounts, 2009 was a great year for South African wine, across both whites and reds. So apart from the fact that it would take a very brave/rude/insecure dinner guest to start tearing apart a wine bottled in the previous decade, you as host at least have confidence in the knowledge that you have served a bottle with a lot of intellectual value supporting it. It hails from one of South Africa’s most celebrated Cabernet Sauvignon regions (Stellenbosch is world renowned for its big, fruit-foreward, classic new world reds) and was harvested in a vintage that has been amongst the best that South Africa has seen in the last ten years.
If you need the extra intel to fill awkward silences, it may help to know that the vines are relatively young, planted in 2005. If no one is looking particularly impressed with what’s in their glasses, it may help to lift the mood by muttering something about how it will be exciting to see these youngish vines mature over the next few vintages. Folk should nod knowingly at the sentiment and, hopefully, leave you alone after that.
About the Author
Jono Le Feuvre is not a bean counter. He is a bean roaster. Bean roasters carry far more street cred & get to speak at bizarre niche gatherings of enquiring-but-unhinged-minds. They also usually have addictive tendencies. When he is not roasting beans he is pulling corks. Or deftly removing screwcap enclosures. But you can read more about him here.