Julia van Biljon, co-owner of Van Biljon Wines with ophthalmologist husband Anton, admits that an admiration of the bold wines of Polka Draai Hills property De Toren was at least part of the motivation behind their purchase of some land nearby in 2004.
All five of the Bordeaux varieties were planted and the services of the accomplished Chris Keet were secured as viticulturist and winemaker, the Cinq 2011 is their maiden release (R285 a bottle).
A blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc and 15% Malbec, it spent 18 months in French oak, 10% new (future releases will include Petit Verdot and hence the name).
It’s a fascinating wine in that terroir really does seem to trump aesthetic vision. Keet, responsible for Cordoba Crescendo in the late 1990s and early 2000s and now his own wine called First Verse, has a reputation for wines of refinement, but the Van Biljon Cinq is unashamedly powerful.
I found black fruit plus some subtle earthy, malty notes. On the palate, it’s rich and broad with a smooth texture and moderate acidity. It’s not as if Keet has sold out – the wine has an entirely respectable analysis with abv at 14.5%, RS at 1.24g/l, TA at 5.72g/l and pH at 3.6 – but there’s no denying that this is a wine with real grunt.