Franschhoek’s nascent Appelation Grand Prestige
By Christian Eedes, 1 November 2013
Today the first step towards the establishment of a special designation for Franschhoek’s best wines to be known as Appelation Grand Prestige. The initiative started by Môreson’s Clayton Reabow and Stony Brook’s Craig McNaught seeks to recognise not just quality but regional typicity. The varieties included for now are Chardonnay, Semillon and Cabernet Sauvignon, the general feeling among Franschhoek producers being that these are what have shown best historically.
Three groups comprising of winemakers and writers worked through line-ups of each of three varieties. I tasted on a panel that looked at 38 examples of Cabernet Sauvignon ranging from La Motte 1995 to Amazing Grace 2012 from La Petite Vigne.
What observations? For one thing, a marked improvement in quality from the 2008 vintage onwards which more or less coincides with an influx of a new wave of viticulturists and winemakers moving into the area.
For another, a surprisingly strong commonality among the wines – more delicacy and finesse than you’d typically get from Stellenbosch Cab. Part and parcel of this is a fragrant aromatic quality – dried herbs and pretty fynbos when at its most attractive but occasionally tending towards fresh herbs, mint and eucalyptus and then to be avoided, at least as far as this taster is concerned.
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