There’s a well-known saying that life is too short to drink poor wine. I couldn’t agree more – but top-tier wines both in South Africa and globally are often quite pricey in nominal terms. Cederberg Private Cellar has a reputation of crafting exceptional wines – in fact, it’s one of the cellars outside the traditional wine-growing regions that can easily challenge Stellenbosch with its superb Five Generations Cabernet Sauvignon. Yet the estate’s wines remain within a price range for everyday enjoyment.
The Cederberg Merlot Shiraz 2017 is another of the award-winning wines produced by winemaker David Niewoudt on 66 hectares of the farm Dwarsrivier in the high-altitude Cederberg wilderness area. It’s a rather unusual blend of 57% merlot and 43% shiraz – but the primary flavours of the two grape varieties work well in unison.
The wine fills the nose with ample red fruit flavours and a hint of vanilla. The palate is juicy and shows sweet plum, mulberries and cherries, while the shiraz in the blend leaves a spicy undertone. A grippy acidity provides structure and fills the mid-palate. Overall, the wine drinks smoothly yet provides enough interest to open another bottle when the occasion is right.