To brighten up my day, a vertical of Waterford The Jem from 2004 to 2006, the three vintages that have been released to date.
This is the multi-varietal flagship blend from Kevin Arnold and Francois Haasbroek and it really is rock ‘n roll.
For curiosity’s sake, here are the individual blends:
2004: 35% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24.5% Cabernet Franc, 15% Shiraz, 10.5% Mourvèdre, 6.5% Petit Verdot, 3.5% Malbec, 3.5 Merlot and 1.5% Barbera
2005: 58% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Shiraz, 11% Mourvèdre, 7% Malbec, 7% Merlot, 2% Sangiovese and 3% Barbera
2006: 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Shiraz, 7.5% Cabernet Franc, 7.5% Malbec, 5% Mourvèdre, 2,5% Barbera and 2.5% Sangiovese
In brief, I found the 2004 surprisingly medium bodied, a wine that is quite approachable now while being not at all simple; the 2005 is currently much more closed but there’s great fruit concentration and a very tight tannin structure and when it does come around, it should be a great wine; the 2006 meanwhile seduces with its purity of fruit, the oak very well handled.
For those that pay attention to these things, you will have noted that the 2005 was rated 1 Star in the January 2010 issue of WINE magazine – sometimes we critics get it just plain wrong. Arnold and Haasbroek are forging new territory here, melding the so-called Bordeaux and Mediterranean winemaking traditions to create something uniquely South African. If the wines are not already great, then greatness surely lies ahead. The currently available 2006 sells for R680 a bottle from the farm – drop some cash and experience something extraordinary in every sense of the word.