Stylistic trends may well be overtaking the Frans K Smit, the top-end red blend from Spier. Maiden vintage being 2004, the winemaking approach has always been particularly brazen with highly concentrated fruit and lashings of new oak and this worked for a while with both the 2005 and 2006 being rated 5 Stars in Platter’s.
The 2009 has just been released at R745 a bottle and it’s again gigantic. A blend of 41% Cabernet Sauvignon, 28% Merlot, 17% Shiraz and 14% Pinotage, it was matured for 31 months in French oak, 100% new [apparently only 50% new according to different information supplied subsequent to publication]. Alcohol by volume is 15.12% and residual sugar 4.2g/l…
For all its power, it’s meticulously made as you would expect from this cellar. Red and black berries, earth, spice but also overt oak-derived notes of vanilla and cocoa powder. There’s a really good core of fruit here and it’s not without freshness but there’s no escaping the tannins and ultimately hard work to drink.
The question is: who is the target market for this wine? If you want something in a modern vein but with much more balance, then look no further than the Spier Woolworths The Hutton Single Vineyard 2012, Top 10 in the Christian Eedes Cabernet Report 2014 and best in class at this year’s Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show.
Score for Frans K Smit 2009: 91/100.