The Bordeaux-style red blend that was Crescendo from Helderberg property Cordoba and made by Chris Keet acquired instant cult status when the maiden 1995 vintage was rated 5 Stars in the 1999 edition of Platter’s.
Two key reasons why Crescendo was remarkable: firstly that it was a wine made in an austere, unapologetically tannic style when the whole world seemed to be moving towards rich and plush reds and secondly it was Cabernet Franc-led and hence one of the first wines to suggest that this variety could have a starring role in the Cape despite relatively small plantings.
Always slightly poignant opening a bottle of Crescendo as this label was relatively short-lived, the 2004 being the last vintage to find its way into bottle and the business finally folding in the late 2000s due to various unfortunate circumstances.
“Sumptuos” and “opulent” were never words which applied to Crescendo in its youth and neither do they apply to the 1997 now. A blend of 70% Cabernet Franc, 20% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, it currently has very attractive aromatics: red fruit, tomato cocktail, violets and fresh herbs. The palate is almost light bodied with acidity bordering on tart (but somehow pleasingly so) and fine tannins. It’s the kind of stuff to make wine geeks hyper-ventilate with excitement but I did wonder if wasn’t just a little too distant from the concerns of the average punter. Score: 16/20.