Prescient Cabernet Sauvignon Report 2019

By , 2 May 2019



The eighth annual Cabernet Sauvignon Report sponsored by multinational financial services company Prescient is now out.

94 entries were received from 76 producers and these were tasted blind (labels out of sight) by the three-person panel, scoring done according to the 100-point quality scale.

The top 10 wines (with rating alongside) are as follows:

Blaauwklippen 2017 – 93
Croydon Vineyards Covenant 2017 – 95
Delaire Graff Reserve 2017 – 93
Fleur Du Cap Series Privée 2016 – 92
Kleine Zalze Vineyard Selection 2017 – 93
Le Riche 2016 – 93
Neil Ellis Stellenbosch 2017 – 92
Plaisir de Merle 2015 – 93
Rust en Vrede Estate Vineyards 2017 – 94
Strydom Rex 2016 – 93

To read the report in full, including key findings, tasting notes for the top 10 and scores on the 100-point quality scale for all wines entered, download the following: Prescient Cabernet Sauvignon Report 2019

To view a photo album from yesterday’s announcement function, CLICK HERE.

To find out more about Prescient, CLICK HERE.


13 comment(s)

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    David Trafford | 20 May 2019

    Gosh didn’t realize this had caused such a stir. Thanks for those who’ve defended us more than we can ourselves. The value of striving to produce something special from our amazing vineyards over 27 years. I’m currently in the Mosel clambering around the incredible steep slate vineyards that produce racy white wines of world renown. A far cry from Stellenbosch Cabernet. The panel are not wrong in picking up some brett character and it’s fair enough to mark it down a bit accordingly. However, I do find it a bit harsh. Perhaps it’s also a function of a discussionary panel that all pick up on a negative character and mark it down exponentially lower. Since we started in 1992 we have never added any yeast, not added acid, minimal SO2 additions and not filtered. We go out of our way to try and make the most exceptional wine possible. 2016 was our hottest, driest, earliest vintage and the skin tannins we’re not as ripe as I would have liked. We kept SO2 lower than usual so the tannins could soften in the first few months in barrel. We were sailing a little close to the wind perhaps, but I think the resulting wine in the bottle is as good as usual. Yes the brett is discernible and analysis bears that out, but I think there is enough fruit and oak spice to go with the tobacco and earthy notes. We had a similar situation with the 2003 vintage and that wine is still drinking very well now. We’ll have a few bottles available to taste with the Coravin when we do release the 2016 in September this year.

    Emile Joubert | 6 May 2019

    I hope the producer was informed that this perceived fault was going to be made public. Bad show not to, I’d say.

    Tim Atkin MW | 6 May 2019

    Part of the problem is the misidentification of Brett. It’s often mistaken for whole bunch characters in Burgundy and Beaujolais, among other places. Not accusing the Wine Mag panel of this, but you should ALWAYS call for a second bottle. De Trafford’s style is sui generis, and certainly ripe, but it’s risky to accuse a producer of having Bretty wines without being sure. What does Dave say?

    John Weaver | 5 May 2019

    Now I am not really understanding the concept of needing to submit 2 bottles. If the one in the tasting is faulty surely it is proper practice to open the second? Unless of course the purpose of the second bottle is to stock up someones cellar?

      Christian Eedes | 5 May 2019

      Hi John, Tasting over 90 wines is an arduous process and judgement calls have to be made on the spot as to when second bottles are going to be opened – a panel doesn’t want to taste more than is necessary for obvious reasons. Regarding the De Trafford in question, the second bottle is going to come in handy because it can now be sent to a lab for testing. More generally, many of the second bottles submitted to get sold at a nominal rate and the proceeds donated to charity, our current beneficiary being the Pebbles Project while others are indeed cellared to monitor maturation and so forth. Your inquiry leads me to think that perhaps all wine competitions should declare how they dispose of superfluous samples.

    Julie H | 3 May 2019

    Christian, did you taste the 2nd bottle? It is a big call saying a guy like David Trafford has a dirty cellar/is a sloppy winemaker.

      Christian Eedes | 4 May 2019

      Hi Julie, We did not taste the second bottle – tasting blind, we weren’t to know that it was a wine of the pedigree of De Trafford. We often do open second bottles for whatever reason (not just TCA but random bottle oxidation, excessive VA and so on) but in this case, the Brett character seemed clear cut and for reasons of expediency, another bottle was not called for – as mentioned earlier, that second bottle will now be sent for testing and I’m very happy to be wrong, if the finding is that it’s free from contamination. We certainly don’t wish to call De Trafford into disrepute but part of our role is surely to trouble-shoot – Brett can surely occur as much due to minimal intervention (an approach we admire) as “sloppiness”.

        Kwispedoor | 4 May 2019

        Yep, the times are long gone that you had to have a dirty cellar in order to have brett. Brett has great affinity for things like wood (and even penetrates into the wood), high pH from very ripe grapes, no-filter winemaking and low sulphur environments. Many of these are typical of modern winemaking. And even if comprehensive testing of all the different types of brett is done, testing any particular bottle will not be conclusive. It will only speak of that particular bottle. Having brett in one bottle does not mean that all the bottles of that particular wine is affected or that the owner must burn down the cellar. And not having brett in one bottle does not mean that other bottles of the same wine doesn’t have it.

    Julie Hatting | 2 May 2019

    83 for De Trafford? You guys take a break during the judging to smoke some crack? I assume you thought it too big and powerful? Out of this entire list, it is the one wine that will go the longest.

      Christian Eedes | 3 May 2019

      Hi Julie, The panel felt the wine had some Brettanomyces character – whether Brett is a flaw or not is, of course, always controversial. In any event, we will have the second bottle lab tested and report back.

        Kwispedoor | 3 May 2019

        You should rather have had that same bottle tested. Brett is not necessarily a batch thing. There are all sorts of biological interplay inside each bottle, furthermore also influenced by things like differences in sulphur (every bottle is not rinsed exactly the same and positioning in the bottling line may also have an effect, etc.) Each bottle is unique, to a greater or lesser degree. I’ve experienced this so many times.

        Once I opened a bottle that was absolutely riddled with brett, but luckily had another of the same close by (excellent producer and small quantities, thus the same batch). The second bottle was singing. The person tasting and drinking them with me could not fathom how the same wine could be so utterly different. We finished the one delectable bottle in no time, but the other one eventually vanished even faster down the drain…

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