(2019) On a visit to Vergelegen earlier this year I was really impressed by their wines, so it's nice to feature this moderately-priced red from their range. One hundred percent Cabernet Sauvignon, it spent 17 months in barrels from top French coopers, 40% new. Bottled in October 2014, even with an additional half decade of ageing it retains a tightly-wound, serious structure, the deep black fruit bound by firm, gripping tannins and decisive acidity. It's a savoury wine, to be enjoyed now and best decanted for a couple of hours, or indeed cellared for a decade more, but it delivers a rich, concentrated mouthful of bold plummy fruit, with cedar, liquorice and spice adding to the chewy density and gastronomic appeal. Watch the video for more information and note the price is a special offer - other retailers are around £17 - £20 for this wine.
(2019) A Rhône blend of 49% Syrah, 45% Grenache and 6% Mourvèdre, the Syrah for The Gypsy comes gravel soils over clay, the Grenache from decomposed granite at 450m altitude. It spent two years in French oak, all new. A sonorous, deep nose melds cocoa and cedar with lots of plum and brighter cherry fruit. On the palate it's a wine that beautifully marries that richness and depth with an agility through a certain peppery spice, taut tannins and a very good acid framework. Yes it has a chewy character, but fruit and freshness too.
(2019) Love the name of this, the 'Three Halves' being Mourvèdre with 'a splash' of Shiraz and Grenache, "the total being greater than the sum of the parts." A cellar-door release, so not available in the UK currently, this was also the first vintage which Ken kindly opened for me. Aged in second fill French oak barrels for 18 months, it begins to show some lovely tertiary development, a bit of bloodiness and meatiness, pepper and smokiness, a dense and chewy suggestion to the fruit, though through to the palate the fruit has a hint of cranberry and dry redcurrant that gives the wine a fresh edge, good acids and fairly gentle tannins that give this great drinkability.
The Anwilka esate is actually in Stellenbosch, once a separate property before merging with Klein Constantia. This is 52% Syrah, 37% Cabernet Sauvignon and 11% Petit Verdot. Much more minty ripeness, chocolate and mulberry than the Estate Red, a depth of blue-black fruit. The palate has a lot more fruit sweetness too, nicely textured and not heavy or extracted, but full and ripe. Tannins are very smooth and taut, cherry skin dry acids give it a long finish.
(2019) From the slopes of the Helderberg this is all Cabernet Sauvignon. Fermented with wild yeast, it spent 18 months in barriques, 50% new. Just the faintest touch of herbaceousness, then a silky impression of dense blackcurrant. Creamy, with a little pencil shaving finesse. Lovely palate, sweet and ripe fruit and quite sumptuous again, but a refined tannin and acid structure, not ruffling the creamy smoothness of the fruit.
(2019) All five Bordeaux varieties are in this blend, but it is mostly Shiraz and a little Pinotage. 12 months in older French oak. A bloody note to very pure plummy and a peppery, spicy fruit. Lots of concentrated black fruit and balsamic notes, loads of spice in the finish, smooth and svelte tannins and good balance.
(2019) French oak for 18 months, some new barrels. Pure and quite silky blue-black fruit. A touch of aromatic tobacco and loads of spice. The palate has lots of juicy, savoury black fruit, loads of peppery spice and a twist of bitter endive to sharpen it up. Becomes a little rounded with the barrel and spices.
(2019) Huge, heavy bottle. Five Bordeaux varieties, dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon, 24 months in new French 300-litre barrels. A subtle nose, the hint of game and cedar, a balsamic note to the oak, lots of sweet cassis, the tannins dry and adding a nice roughness, and again a particulalry peppery finish.
(2019) A blend of 37% Pinotage, 36% Cabernet Sauvignon plus Merlot and Cabernet Franc that spends 12 months in older oak. Nice solid black fruit character, a bright cherry edge and a touch of Pinotage perfume. Quite jammy and ripe, a thick fruit character, well balanced.
(2019) Like the Kadette blend, 12 months in older oak. A little meatiness, a little stripe of grippy plum skins, there is a lot of juiciness and spice on the palate, less dense than the blend, juicier, although it doesn’t have quite the oomph of the Cape Bend. A style choice for the drinker between these two.
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