Vergelegen, Octagon Cabernet Merlot 2018

(2021) From an historic and important estate just outside Stellenbosch, and winemaker André van Rensburg, one of the Cape's best, this is the first time I have tasted a certified Fairtrade wine from them, audited to ensure farm workers are treated fairly. It's a Bordeaux-like blend of 62% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Merlot, 14% Cabernet Franc and 2% Malbec, spending 18 months in barrels, 20% of them new French oak barrels. That's an expensive recipe for a £9 wine, and I am pleased to say it delivers with smoky, spicy, tobacco-infused black fruit on the nose. The plate has an espresso touch of dark, bittersweetness, good black fruits and again spices into a finish that is perked up by cherry-skin acidity and some tannin structure too. Good value this. Watch the video for more information.

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