Craven new releases
By Christian Eedes, 21 April 2020
Working exclusively with Stellenbosch grapes, Mick and Jeanine Craven have been making their own-label wines since 2013. The 2019s are now available and once again their particular aesthetic is in evidence, wines that above all offer immense refreshment value due to early picking and a light touch in the cellar. Tasting notes and ratings as follows:
Craven Karibib Vineyard Chenin Blanc 2019
Lime, white peach, fynbos and a hint of reduction on the nose. Initially lean and racy but over 24 hours opens up to reveal a good core of fruit, the finish long and saline.
CE’s rating: 92/100.
Craven Chardonnay 2019
Aromatics of citrus and struck match with some blossom and herbal notes in the background. Great fruit expression, lively but nicely integrated acidity and a savoury finish. Light but well balanced, this very much recalls Chablis in style.
CE’s rating: 93/100.
Craven Pinot Gris 2019
Winemaking involves seven days of skin contact before pressing. A sort of pale burnt red in colour, the nose has a floral top note before strawberry, orange, dried herbs and a certain earthiness. Juicy and fresh on the palate with some light grip to the finish, this is as ever quite quirky but great fun to drink.
CE’s rating: 90/100.
Craven Faure Vineyard Pinot Noir 2019
The most extreme wine in the portfolio, the nose has an intensely herbal quality to go with red fruit and some reduction. The palate is light bodied to the point of thin with a slight sour quality, the tannins very fine. Will have its fans but a bit too underdone for me.
CE’s rating: 89/100.
Craven Cinsault 2019
Plums, cherries, earth and spice on the nose. Light bodied but certainly not under-ripe with plenty of appealing fruit and soft tannins. Alcohol: 12.5%.
CE’s rating: 91/100.
Craven The Firs Vineyard Syrah 2019
Grapes from Devon Valley, this is 100% whole-bunch fermented. Wonderfully aromatic with top notes of lilies and fynbos to go with red and black berries, white pepper and a little earthiness. Light-bodied but acutely focused and flavour-packed on the palate. With crackling acidity and lovely fine tannins, this is a wine of real composure and energy.
CE’s rating: 95/100.
Craven Cabernet Sauvignon 2019
Grapes again from Karibib in the Polkadraai Hills, winemaking involved 100% whole-bunch fermentation. An enchanting nose with notes of red and black berries, some attractive leafiness plus violets and a little undergrowth. Medium-bodied with good freshness and a nicely dry finish, this has a touch more vinosity to it than the maiden 2018 and is very pleasurable to drink.
CE’s rating: 92/100.
These wines are available to order from Ex Animo for delivery after lockdown.
Listen to a podcast interview with Mick Craven here.
Check out our South African wine ratings database.
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