Waterford The Jem 2017

By , 7 April 2022

While I described the 2015 vintage of the pinnacle red blend that is The Jem from Stellenbosch property Waterford as a “triumph”, I’m inclined to think that the 2017, due out later this year, is even more successful showing as it does the typical refinement of the vintage compared to the power that tends to characterize the wines of 2015.

A blend of 48% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Shiraz, 9% Mourvèdre, 6% Petit Verdot, 5% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc, 3% Sangiovese and 3% Barbera, the 2017 was matured for 22 months in 225-litre French oak barrels, 33% new. Beguiling aromatics of red and black berries, olive, flowers, herbs plus hints of vanilla, chocolate and spice precede a palate that shows great fruit definition and vitality. It’s more medium bodied and austere relative to 2015 with lovely freshness and fine tannins, the finish dry but not astringent. Wonderfully complex and harmonious, alcohol is 14.6%.

CE’s rating: 97/100.

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