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Graham Beck Ad Honorem 2009

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Lest we forget.
Lest we forget.

On Friday, a tasting of the ultra-premium still wines from Graham Beck currently available. These include the Pheasants’ Run Sauvignon Blanc 2012, Bowed Head Chenin Blanc 2011, The Ridge Syrah 2011, Shiraz-Vigonier blend The Joshua 2011, Cab-Pinotage-Shiraz-Cab Franc blend The William 2009, The Coffeestone Cabernet 2011, Cab-Shiraz blend Ad Honorem 2009 and Rhona Muscadel 2012.

Stand-out wines? Pheasants’ Run Sauvignon Blanc 2012 (R170 a bottle) was rated 5 Stars in the 2013 edition of Platter’s and has featured before on this blog (see here). It’s very good in a rich, weighty style. The Coffeestone Cabernet 2011 placed among the top 10 wines in my Cabernet Sauvignon Report released earlier this year and is really looking lovely – great fruit concentration, bright acidity, firm but fine tannins – a wine which is probably under-priced at R190 a bottle.

Two wines with which I was less familiar but made a big impression were as follows:

Bowed Head Chenin Blanc 2011
Price: R120
From bush vines approximately 50 years old in Agter Paarl. Barrel fermented and matured for nine months in 400-litre barrels, a third new. Great complexity with notes of citrus and peach, spice, a hint of vanilla and some leesy character in evidence.  Rich and full with soft but sufficient acidity. Nicely gritty in a line-up were most of the wines appear very polished.

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Ad Honorem 2009
Price: R680
65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Shiraz from vineyards in Firgrove, Stellenbosch. 27 months in French oak, 100% new. Red and black berries, attractive oak spice and tilled earth on the nose. It shows breadth and depth – good fruit delineation, fresh acidity, firm but fine tannins. Does not completely forfeit elegance despite an alcohol by volume of 14.74%.

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