Yesterday the launch of the first Reserve wines from Delaire Graff in Stellenbosch, these consisting of a Semillon – Sauvignon Blanc blend from the 2009 vintage and a Cabernet Sauvignon from 2008.
The white blend consists of 60% Semillon from a 45-year-old vineyard in Franschhoek and 40% Sauvignon Blanc, a combination of Durbanville and Olifants River fruit and was fermented and matured in French oak, 80% new for five months and then returned to tank for 12 months. It’s an immensely promising wine with layers of flavour, great palate weight and a very persistent finish but currently appears a bit awkward, the Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc pulling in different directions, if you will. Total production was 1 200 bottles and price ex-cellar is R300 a bottle.
Grapes for the Cabernet Sauvignon were sourced entirely from Delaire’s own vineyards, this wine representing the top 16 barrels out of 50 made. Winemaker Morné Vrey notes a tendency in South Africa to “over-work” the grapes in the cellar and he was at pains to avoid this, applying a whole berry fermentation and basket press in order to retain fruit integrity and freshness; maturation took place in French oak, 100% new for 15 months.
The wine shows perfectly delineated dark fruit and the very finest tannins. It’s drinking so well now that it poses the question as to whether it has the structure to make it 10 or 15 years in the bottle. The ever-humble Vrey says he’s “not sure” but thinks that fruit concentration will serve it in good stead. Total production was 3 000 bottles and price is also R300 a bottle.
The day was supposed to be all about the Reserve wines, and though they are very impressive, a preview of the Coastal Cuvée Sauvignon Blanc 2011 stole the show. Served as a welcome drink, it is absolutely seductive: hugely aromatic, juicy and fresh, layers of flavour including grapefruit, green melon and some pepper. I think you’re going to be hearing a lot more of this wine.