Red Wine Bodegas Piedra Negra L’ Espirit de Chacayes 2017. Francois Lurton comes from a long line of Bordeaux winemakers, so perhaps it was only natural that he would leave his native France to make wine in the virgin lands of South America. In 1996 he and his brother bought 200 acres of land in the arid Uco Valley in Mendoza. At the time this desert-like region at the foot of the Andes was not considered suitable for winemaking, but fortunately the brothers had the foresight to realise that the terroir here had excellent potential. Today the Uco Valley is studded with many of Argentina’s most famous wineries, and the high altitude conditions produce intense yet perfectly-balanced red wines like this stunning L’Esprit de Chacayes. It’s a blend of Argentinian Malbec and Côt, Malbec’s French cousin, with the grapes harvested by hand and fermented in concrete vats to preserve freshness and varietal character. The first thing you’ll notice in the glass is the deep red cherry hue and enticing notes of redcurrants, cherries and plums from the Côt, along with hints of violets which are common from the Los Chacayes terroir. On the palate there’s a voluptuous full body, silky smooth tannins and enticing notes of luscious dark fruit, spices, and roasted coffee on the long finish.
Red Wine Bodegas Piedra Negra L’ Espirit de Chacayes 2017
Red Wine Boekenhoutskloof Franschhoek Cabernet Sauvignon 2017. Winemaker Marc Kent has helped put Franschhoek on the map for premium Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah thanks to his vision and deep understanding of the local terroir. Boekenhoutskloof is headquartered in a charming old farmhouse that was built back in 1776 on the edge of the Franschhoek valley, but it was only in 1993 that the modern winery was established here and the vineyards planted. This stunning Cabernet is a great example of Marc’s winemaking flair, crafted from top quality fruit from four parcels planted on sandy loam soils on the Franschhoek estate. Marc’s intention with this bottling was to create a classic Bordeaux-style wine while still showcasing the beauty of the Franschhoek fruit. Grapes were vinified gently using manual harvesting, a cold maceration in concrete tanks and ageing in traditional 225 litre oak barrels. The result is a dark and brooding Cabernet that opens with opulent cassis, blueberry and dark cherry notes along with cigar box and tobacco leaf. The palate offers a well-rounded texture, firm tannins and a full body with plenty of luscious dark fruit flavours which linger on the tongue. This is a wine with great ageing potential, although it can also be enjoyed now with dishes like barbecued ribs, steak, or fresh pappardelle pasta served with a wild boar ragu.
Red Wine Boekenhoutskloof Stellenbosch Cabernet Sauvignon 2017. Marc Kent is the visionary winemaker and owner of Boekenhoutskloof whose hard work has established the estate as one of South Africa’s benchmark premium producers. Set on the edge of the Franschhoek valley in the Western Cape, the original estate and farmhouse dates back to 1776 although the modern winery was only founded in 1993 with the complete renovation of the property. Marc specialises in crafting sensational Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah from their vineyards here and in the Swartland. This dark and handsome Cabernet is made from prime Stellenbosch fruit from north-westerly slopes of the Helderberg mountain range. The soils here consist of Table Mountain sandstone and granite which create ideal growing conditions for the vines. Once in the winery the fruit is fermented plot by plot in stainless steel tanks and then transferred to 225 litre French oak barrels for 20 months of ageing. Marc’s attention to detail in both the vineyard and winery has created this powerful, intense Cabernet that’s bursting with luscious cassis, blackberry and cherry notes along with hints of graphite from the soils. On the palate there’s a generous full body, firm tannins and a long finish with hints of tobacco leaf, spice and pencil shavings. A multi-layered red that will respond well to additional cellaring or pairing with hearty red meat dishes.