3 Top-class Cabernets
There is a lot of hype around Shiraz in SA these days, and rightly so, as it’s a grape variety we do exceedingly well. But although I like Shiraz, for me Cab is always going to be king – can’t explain it, I just like the flavours more and that’s all there is to it. Normally I tend to drink Cab-led blends and in fact, I am strongly of the opinion that we should follow our Down-Under cousins and actually blend more Shiraz in with our Cabs because it works astonishingly well.
Be that as it may, here are 3 top-class examples of Cabernet which have come my way recently. Maybe not everyday drinking prices, but serious wines and excellent value nonetheless.
Oldenburg Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 – R200
This scooped its first Platter 5* gong last year and it’s thoroughly well-deserved. It comes from a great area for cabs – Thelema, Delaire Graff and Tokara are all close neighbours, all of whom make multi-award-winning wines – and is the culmination of a lot of hard work by then winemaker, Simon Thompson. Steep, steep slopes with lots of sunshine give the wine its ripe, juicy black fruit character, well-reined-in by excellent oak giving classic cigar, cedar and hint of smoke. Good for another 5-8 years.
Glenelly Lady May 2011 – R300
Just down the hill from Oldenburg (and actually where Oldenburg makes its wine too) and sharing soils and aspect with Rustenberg, lies Glenelly. Owned by French wine royalty, May de Lencquesaing, Glenelly has been trembling on the cusp of the top echelons of SA wine for some time and this might well prove to be the wine that gets them there. Livened up with a tweak of Petit Verdot, this is dense and dark, a powerful but elegant wine with deliciously-gritty tannins needing only time to sort them out. Styled for the long-term or if you can’t wait, then serve it with the finest piece of meat you can afford.
Restless River Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 – R300
This is a new farm – well new to most people I expect – located halfway up the Hemel-en-Aarde valley. It’s one of the oldest blocks of Cabernet in the valley and some might doubt whether it is actually too cool to grow this variety here, but not owners Craig and Anne Wessels, and not me either after tasting this. It does have a herbaceous edge to it – I thought Cab Franc when I tried it – but there is nothing unripe about this wine, rather elegance and restraint, some savoury black olives and plenty of blackcurrants and berries. Also worth trying the Chardonnay if you can.