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Craven The Firs Vineyard Syrah 2018

Craven 2018s
Studies in site.

Mick Craven of Craven Wines in Stellenbosch points out that vineyards were bearing the brunt of the recent Western Cape drought in 2018 and if producers did not pay close attention to their plantings during the growing season, they were likely to have been found out.

Craven Clairette Blanche 2018
Approximate retail price: R195
Sadly the last vintage of this particular variety by the Cravens (due to a change of farmer responsible for the vineyard in question) and the best to date. 60% of the juice spending six days on the skins, the nose is properly complex showing a floral top note before green apple and white peach plus bee’s wax and a little spice. Lean and fresh on the palate with a salty finish. Has a lovely intensity about it.

Editor’s rating: 93/100.

Craven Karibib Vineyard Chenin Blanc 2018
Approximate retail price: R230

From a Polkadraai vineyard planted in 1982. This wine seems to become ever more accomplished while remaining very much in the understated house-style.  On the nose, peach, naartjie plus a hint of potpourri in the background. The palate is well balanced, delicate and fresh – pure fruit and a nicely dry finish.

Editor’s rating: 92/100.

Craven Pinot Gris 2018
Approximate retail price: R195

Six days on the skins and a very pretty light red in colour! A hint of rose petal before wild strawberry and raspberry. Juicy and fresh on the palate with a savoury finish – very appealing.

Editor’s rating: 90/100.

Craven Cinsault 2018
Approximate retail price: R230

From a 1988 Helderberg vineyard, all grapes destemmed. A subtle and alluring nose of red cherry, raspberry, fresh herbs, earth and spice. Light and fresh yet simultaneously flavourful and long. Very more-ish.

Editor’s rating: 91/100.

Craven Faure Vineyard Pinot Noir 2018
Approximate retail price: R265

100% whole-bunch fermentation. Red cherry, earth, fresh herbs and fynbos on the nose while the palate is lean and very savoury. Stops short of being sour and astringent but this is always a very particular take on the variety.

Editor’s rating: 89/100.

Craven The Firs Vineyard Syrah 2018
Approximate retail price: R265

Grapes from a vineyard planted on clays soils in Devon Valley. 100% whole-bunch fermentation. A tantalizing nose with subtle notes of red and black fruit, floral perfume and fynbos. The palate manages to combine delicacy with harmony – great fruit purity, bright acidity and fine tannins. Seamless and super-long, this is a wine of great finesse. This to be the only example of Syrah going forwards, the Faure Vineyard bottling discontinued.

Editor’s rating: 95/100.

Craven Cabernet Sauvignon 2018
Approximate retail price: R265

Winemaking involved 100% whole-bunch fermentation and maturation lasting nine months in old oak. Red and black fruit, violets and fresh herbs plus some earth on the nose while the palate is medium bodied with fresh acidity and fine tannins, the finish gently savoury. Possessing a lovely energy, this is the antithesis of conventional Stellenbosch Cab.

Editor’s rating: 90/100.

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