Naudé Oupa Willem 2018

By , 21 January 2021



Oupa Willem is named after Ian Naudé’s grandfather and is billed as a “Cape heritage blend”. Consisting of 80% Darling Cinsault and 20% Durbanville Cabernet Sauvignon, winemaking involved 40% whole-bunch fermentation and alcohol is a modest 12%.

The nose shows cranberry, cassis plus some leafiness and some earthiness. The palate is lean in the best sense – pure fruit, high acidity and fine tannins, the finish having a salty quality to it. It comes across as extraordinarily youthful and you have a sense that it will show more in time to come. Approximate retail price: R395.

CE’s rating: 92/100.

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5 comment(s)

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    Reginald Pheqe | 16 June 2021

    Hi Christian, I’m not surprised for this type of blend anything is possible indeed. The first time I put my attention on this wine my mind took me somewhere else, first drop of rainfall on a dusty dry loamy soil plus the pronounced black fruits. Cinsault-Cab is not just outstanding nonetheless one of its kind, it’s intensity and complexity has a tale to narrate. I certainly foresee great ageing potential on this blend. 92 is very fair enough.

    Ronald Derbyshire | 23 January 2021

    Where can i buy this wine and at what price

    Kwispedoor | 22 January 2021

    Hi, Christian

    I haven’t tasted this wine yet (my few precious bottles still being tucked away at this stage), but I just have a feeling that I would rate this wine higher that you do. Partly because I love Ian’s wines and partly because I sense that you are not likely to ever reward this type of wine too highly. I see that you have scored Alheit’s Wine Dark Sea the same and that one I did drink – an absolute stonker.

    I seem to recall you writing before that Cinsaut will never be able to match the complexity (or something to that effect) of, say Cabernet Sauvignon . While that may be true in most instances, I wonder if that thought process has permeated your judgement philosophy regarding these Cabernet-Cinsaut (and sometimes something else) blends.

    To me, it seems possible that these wines’ general smashability when they are young could trick one into believing that they are necessarily more simple or less ageworthy. But looking at how some similar (in terms of varietal makeup) blends from the sixties and seventies have matured, compared to some “big” Cabernets and Bordeaux-style blends from the eighties and nineties, one might very well re-contemplate their respective claims to greatness/seriousness. Less is sometimes more…

    It has to be said that, viticulturally and oenologically, skills are much better now than half a century ago, so generally one could perhaps expect even more from our era’s wines – perhaps with the caveat that none of today’s wines seem to go through that natural stabilisation of roughly three years in old barrels. But are the scales in this respect not also arguably tipping slightly in the favour of these more traditional Cape blends with Cinsaut in it? With their natural high acidities, lower alcohol levels and ample fruit? Because as far as the Bordeaux varieties are concerned, modern day winemakers are inexplicably struggling much more to avoid pyrazines than back in the day and the higher alcohols bring a very different balance to the modern wines…

    Ultimately, I’m very much excited about the dusting off of this category.

      Christian Eedes | 25 January 2021

      Hi Kwispedoor, Thanks for raising some interesting points of discussion. In response, I would contend that 92 is already a high score – in this instance, it recognises the sheer deliciousness of the wine while stopping of short of designating it as among the world’s very greatest.

      Is Cinsault combined with Cabernet Sauvignon something worth exploring? Definitely. Will these modern iterations last 50 years? That remains to be seen and I doubt I will be around to find out… In any event, I think Leeu Passant Dry Red Wine is the category leader to date, a wine which I’ve been happy to score high, rating the 2015 95, the 2016 96 and the 2017 94.

      While there are many SA reds from the 1960s and 1970s that are deservedly acclaimed, the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s were generally not great – globally Robert Parker held sway while it also took a while for local winemakers to shrug off the effects of isolation. In the last while, however, it would appear that we have entered something of a golden era for our top-end wines thanks to more sophisticated viticulture and winemaking and there is again a lot of stuff across all categories that will bring pleasure for decades to come – the merits of 2015 and 2017 cannot be overstated. Suffice to say, I don’t think modern Cab-Cinsault is necessarily going to outperform Cape Bordeaux or Shiraz/Syrah.

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