Ingenuity is the pinnacle of the Nederburg range, right? Wrong. Nederburg II Centuries Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 has recently crept onto the market at R400 a bottle, with a wooded Sauvignon Blanc 2009 to follow (apparently set to sell at around R200 a bottle).
Nederburg cellarmaster Razvan Macici relates that the Cabernet Sauvignon grapes were sourced from unirrgiated vineyards over 30 years in age and at an altitude of 300 to 400 metres above sea level in the Simonsberg-Paarl ward. “This is not a vineyard selection wine but a vine selection wine,” he says, individual plants chosen that were able to provide fruit free of the stress associated with leaf-roll virus.
In the cellar, the wine was fermented in stainless steel tanks before post-fermentation skin contact lasting a month. It was then matured in 100% new Radoux barrels for 30 months.
On tasting II Centuries Cabernet Sauvignon, I noted succulent dark fruit and smooth, ripe tannins. It’s in a modern idiom but before the traditionalists go running for the hills, I think what Macici demonstrates so well here is that the pursuit of full ripeness does not necessarily lead to crass, exaggerated wines. It might be full bodied with relatively soft tannins but there’s nothing sweet or soupy going on here. Remarkably accessible now, perfect balance suggests that it will also reward some bottle maturation.