Is Stellenbosch right to be backing single-variety Cabernet Sauvignon as it has done via the Stellenbosch Cabernet Collective as opposed to Cape Bordeaux-style Red Blends (or anything else) as its signature offering? Do modern-era South African wines get more interesting with time in bottle or simply erode (a question posed by colleague Angela Lloyd here)?
Rustenberg Peter Barlow 2009, which received 5 Stars in the 2014 edition of the Cabernet Sauvignon Report, again showed well in the recent 10-Year-Old Wine Report, getting a score of 94. Waterford 2011 also rated 5 Stars in the Cab Report of 2014 but anxious that waiting until 2021 or beyond might be overly ambitious in terms of getting the best out of the wine, I broached a bottle last night.
Consisting of 89% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Franc and matured for 21 months in French oak, 35% new, the wine is still in excellent shape. More red fruit than black, violets, a very subtle herbal note and some pencil shavings on the nose. A little tobacco with time in glass. The palate, meanwhile, is medium bodied with good freshness and fine tannins
. Still very primary, a pessimist might argue that it’s become frozen in time but an optimist might counter that it’s true pleasures are still many years off.
Editor’s rating: 94/100.
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