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The Christian Eedes Cabernet Sauvignon Report 2012: Top 10 Wines

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Cabernet Sauvignon. It’s responsible for some of the great wines of Bordeaux (even if blended with other grapes) and has been taken up in much of the Old and the New Worlds. Is there any better measure of what’s happening at the top end of a nation’s wine industry than what is achieved with this, arguably the most renowned of red wine varieties?

In what will hopefully become an annual project, I decided to compile the Christian Eedes Cabernet Sauvignon Report, this year presented in conjunction with Sanlam Private Investments. This involved putting together a line-up of 60 high-profile wines, either currently available or soon to be released,  and then subjecting them to a blind tasting. The top 10 wines were as follows:

FIVE STARS
De Trafford 2009
Cellar price: R230

Delaire Reserve 2009
Not yet released

Graham Beck The Coffeestone 2009
Not yet released

Tokara 2009
Cellar price: R79

FOUR AND A HALF STARS
Cederberg Five Generations 2009
Cellar price: R300

Rickety Bridge Paulina’s Reserve 2009
Cellar price: R190

Stark-Condé 2009
Cellar price: R130

Stark-Condé Three Pines 2009
Cellar price: R260

FOUR STARS
Louis 2008
Cellar price: R230

Kleine Zalze Family Reserve 2007
Not yet released

To read the tasting report in full, download the following: Christian Eedes Cabernet Sauvignon Report 2012

11 COMMENTS

  1. Excellent list. Truly wonderful wines. (Not to mention the value – check the price on that Tokara!)

    I have just one question – with the wines for the report being chosen/selected, is there a requirement to select that which is currently on the market? Why, for example, choose the 2008 Le Riche (not its best vintage, but more importantly a wine that is made (and always is) to be drunk at a much older age.) WInes made in a more new world style will surely always show better in these circumstances (the discerning and trustworthy palates of judges I tend to agree with notwithstanding).

    Can’t wait for those unreleased winners, and hope your influence hasn’t made them unaffordable! :)

  2. Hi LePonk, Inevitably a number of highly regarded labels outside the top 10. Did the panel get it wrong? Are some producers trading off former glories? Should I have published those who didn’t perform that well on the day at all? This wasn’t a competition but a tasting of more or less the top 60 Cabs in SA (participation by invitation only) and my ultimate goal is to facilitate debate. We’ll see about those Le Riche wines…

  3. First of all Christian i think you and your panel did a splendid job.

    Obviously we all have our favorites which was not included or was excluded of the tasting.

    And with your ultimate goal to facilitate debate i which to mention that i find it interesting that the Oldenburg Vineyard Cab only scored 3 stars with your tasting and it was the highest scored wine in the CLassic Wine Mag Cabernet Tasting with a 4.5 stars. They also tastes blind.

    Me personally dont even know how this wine tastes. I am planning to purchase one this weekend to score it myself.

    However the Tokara Cab just for example scored a 5 star with your tasting and scored a 4 star with Classic Wine Mag rating. So i think congratulations is in order for Tokara for this Cab and especially for that price.

    I love the world of wine and the positive debate around wine.

    I cant wait to read your reply. 

  4. @ Smirrie. If I can chip in re the Oldenburg wines: I find them quite expressive and they generally have really attractive character, though I think they’re just generally not in perfect balance (high ABV’s). Typically, the kind of wine that tends to impress in big line-ups. At a recent wine show, I tasted one of their reds (can’t remember which one) and it showed overt volatile acidity, to the point of being unpleasant. It’s the only bottle of theirs that I’ve ever picked this up on, though. I think their vineyards might be a bit young still and, if so, there’s certainly potential there.  

  5. Hi Smirrie, Kwispedoor, I liked the Oldenburg Cab for its fruit purity but both Peens and Pietersen found it astringent (in fact both used the word “bitter”). Having retasted (alright drunk) the top 10 at the awards function yesterday, I’m really pleased with the overall tannin quality that these wines show: fine grained, sandy, silky, velvety, choose your descriptor…

  6. Christian, it seems that stylistically the “Stellenbosch” Cabernet’s performed best? What would you say was the Wine of Origin breakdown of all 60 wines chosen and best performing?

  7. Having tasted all 10 wines I can only concur regarding tannin. A common thread throughout the line up was the quality of tannin structure. You are 100% correct Christian, call it what you like velvet, sandy, smooth, silky… 

    Hardly any of these wines could be regraded as showy, personally I found the Kleine Zalza to be the only wine that could be regarded as slightly showy. Drinkability and balance are the hallmarks of each of these 10 wines. The Tokara a for me was a standout, even before I found out it was only R80 per bottle. The Tokara scored 89 points in Wine Spectator, not bad for a $10 wine.  

  8. Hi Colyn, I’m not entirely sure of the provenance of all the wines but the breakdown appears to be as follows: 41 from Stellenbosch, 5 from Paarl, 4 from Franschhoek, 3 from Somerset West, 2 from Constantia, 2 from Robertson, 2 multi-regional blends and 1 from Cederberg. 8 of the top 10 and 18 out the 29 wines (62%) rated 4 Stars or better were from Stellenbosch.

  9. Hi Christian, it is interesting to see the variation in vintages. I find it strange to see how for instance some producers 2009 vintages were tasted versus another producers vintage from 2008 vintage (Surely it should be level pegging vintage wise?). What were the parameters for chosing the wines by invite only, it only makes sense that the best vintage be put forward? One can surely not choose an inferior vintage to be tasted against a more superior vintage like 2009. Just an observation, and looking forward to hearing your view on this.

  10. Hi Wine guy, Producers were asked to submit “current release”, although some leeway was permitted, i.e. if an older vintage was nearly sold out, and a new vintage was about to be launched, typically the new vintage was the one reviewed. It seems you’ve scrutinised the whole report which makes me really glad – this is hopefully more than your standard wine competition in the sense that there’s transparency (ratings and tasting notes for all wines involved) and all debate welcome.

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