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Craven new releases

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Mick Craven of exclusively Stellenbosch Craven Wines describes the 2017 vintage as “really easy” when it came to deciding on when to pick and then vinification which he suggests is “a sign that the wines will be quite special”. Tasting notes and ratings for the new releases as follows:

Craven Clairette Blanche 2017
Approximate retail price: R175
60% fermented on the skins. Elusive notes of citrus, white peach and dried herbs. Light and fresh with an intensely savoury finish. Purer and cleaner than previous vintages – nice fruit expression before a pithy finish. Alc: 11.5%.

Editor’s rating: 90/100.

Craven Karibib Vineyard Chenin Blanc 2017
Wine Cellar price: R205
From a Polkadraai vineyard planted in 1982. Spontaneous fermentation before maturation lasting nine months in old oak. Stone fruit and a little earthiness on the nose. Intense but not weighty, the fruit density is impressive, the acidity nicely coated, the finish long and dry. Alc: 12.5%.

Editor’s rating: 90/100.

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Craven Pinot Gris 2017
Wine Cellar price: R180
Fermented on the skins for seven days. A floral top note before red cherry, Pink Lady apple, watermelon and a hint of earthiness. Medium-bodied with dense fruit, fresh acidity and nicely grippy tannins. Alc: 13%.

Editor’s rating: 91/100.

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Craven Cinsault 2017
Approximate retail price: R205
From a Faure vineyard whereas 2016 was from Bottelary. Destemmed in order to preserve acidity. A very attractive nose of lowers and fresh herbs before cranberry and red cherry.  The palate, meanwhile, has lovely balance with pure fruit, fresh acidity and fine tannins – a very pretty rendition of the variety. Alc: 12.5%.

Editor’s rating: 92/100.

Craven Faure Vineyard Pinot Noir 2017
Wine Cellar price: R230
100% whole-bunch fermented making for a rather particular drinking experience. Red fruit plus pronounced notes of herbs and spices. Lean and stalky on the palate with a very savoury finish. Wil have its fans…

Editor’s rating: 89/100.

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Craven Syrah
Site specific.

Craven The Firs Vineyard Syrah 2017
Wine Cellar price: R230
From Devon Valley site with iron-rich, deep soils. An alluring nose of red and black fruit, fynbos and white pepper. Medium-bodied with excellent fruit expression, fresh acidity and lovely crunchy tannins. Detailed, balanced and long. Alc: 12.5%.

Editor’s rating: 94/100.

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Craven Faure Vineyard Syrah 2017
Wine Cellar price: R230
From a vineyard on very rocky granitic soil. A relatively subtle nose of red fruit, earth and spice. The palate, however, is surprisingly rich and broad with a pleasing sense of sweetness and quite soft tannins given that vinification involved 100% whole-bunch fermentation. Again, admirable composure. Alc: 12.5%.

Editor’s rating: 93/100.

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