Today a lunch to celebrate a decade of “Z” from Stellenbosch property De Toren, this being the Merlot-led Boredeaux-style red first bottled in 2004, counterpart to the Cab-driven Fusion V.
De Toren makes no apologies for making super-ripe, luxuriously styled wines and the brand management is superb – it makes review more or less superfluous.
We drank the 2004, 2009 and 2012 vintages of “Z” and they all showed well enough, especially if your taste is for wines which are rich and broad with plenty of berry fruit, mint and chocolate.
The eye-opener of the day was the commemorative bottling from the 2013 vintage called Z Decade consisting almost entirely of Merlot. “Some of the world’s most sought-after wines such as Petrus and Le Pin are Merlot-led and this is our attempt to put the variety on a pedestal,” says cellarmaster Albie Koch.
It shows ultra-ripe dark fruit (cassis and macerated cherries) plus chocolate and oak spice as well as a little oystershell. It’s as intense as you could possibly want with very fine tannins but stops short of being vulgar and does indeed recall the cult wines of Bordeaux’s Right Bank. Only 1 760 bottles made and available from the cellar at R400 a bottle.