Nederburg Private Bin R163 Cabernet Sauvignon 2003

By , 22 November 2022

At the recent launch of the 2018 vintage of Private Bin R163 Cabernet Sauvignon from Nederburg, Vinotèque manager Michael van Deventer and I got to discussing the great vintages of the last three decades. When I made a case for 2003, he insisted I review a bottle of Private Bin R163 from that vintage (of interest, it rated 4½ Stars in Wine magazine when tasted during the course of 2006).

You can’t accuse the Vinotèque of exaggerating the merits of their stock, the website describing the 2003 as follows: “On the downward curve, the 2003 still possesses well rounded, mature complexity, marrying earthy notes with soft tannins. Starting to look a little dank in flavour, this will be elevated with further keeping – not advised, drink soon.”

I’m inclined to be quite a bit more positive about it. The nose shows red and black berries, a hint of tomato cocktail, oyster shell and dried herbs on the nose – hardly primary but likewise little overt decay in evidence. The palate, meanwhile, is medium bodied with the fruit still intact, although the tannins are indeed nicely resolved providing the wine with a pleasing mellow quality. I agree it shouldn’t be kept longer but it still provides plenty of enjoyment.

Made when Razvan Macici was still Nederburg head winemaker, grapes are, as always, from Paarl; maturation lasted 18 months in 100% new oak barrels, mostly French but also including American and Hungarian, and alcohol is 13.49%. Vinotèque price: R755 a bottle.

CE’s rating: 92/100.

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