Chris Keet of Cordoba fame has launched the first wine under his own label, namely Keets First Verse 2009, a blend of 32% Cabernet Franc, 26% Merlot, 21% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Malbec and 10% Petit Verdot. The Cabernet Franc is from the Helderberg, the Cabernet Sauvignon mainly from the Simonsberg, and the Merlot, Malbec and Petit Verdot from the greater Stellenbosch area and the wine spent 18 months in French oak, none new primarily for a lack of capital according to Keets.
With the debate about how much green character to tolerate in South African Cab and Cab-based blends once again to the fore, this wine is instructive as it is essentially about fruit, but fruit which is perfectly delineated, the wine displaying the entire spectrum from red to black berries – plums, raspberries, mulberries and cassis, if you want to get fanciful.
If you look hard enough, there’s a hint of herbaceousness and there’s also a little oak-derived vanilla, both of which serve to add to the wine’s complexity. Acidity is fresh, tannins fine grained, the overall package precisely assembled. But what really wows about this wine is the fruit purity. So often our local Bordeaux-style reds are either green or jammy (and in some unfortunate cases both) but this illustrates the golden mean is not impossible to achieve. Score: 17/20. Total production: 500 cases. Price per bottle: R250.