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Neil Pendock reveals

‘the hottest grape of the year’

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SPW Contributors

Sanlam Private Wealth

Wine experts Neil Pendock and Alwyn van der Merwe, SPW’s Director of Investments, weigh in on the debate that the unsung cabernet franc is the hottest grape of the year.


It may be a lesser-known varietal than cabernet sauvignon, but the often-underrated cabernet franc is more than coming into its own. International wine pundits, as well as respected business media outlet Bloomberg, have gone as far as dubbing it ‘the grape of the year’.

It’s considered the most important red grape of France’s Loire Valley, but is also considered a rising star in Chile, California, Washington State, Argentina, Virginia, and … South Africa.

Why? It’s versatile and makes fragrant, elegant wines with earthy, spicy, herbal notes and a food-friendly tingly acidity. Want to invest in wine? Cabernet franc may be a good place to start.


Listen to Neil Pendock and Alwyn van der Merwe discuss the merits of cabernet franc, and taste some of South Africa’s finest.

Neil and Alwyn’s tasting wines include:

  • 2014 Rainbow’s End
  • 2014 Oldenburg
  • 2013 Raats Dolomite
  • 2012 Hermanuspieterfontein’s Swartskaap

Rainbow’s End Cabernet Franc tasting notes


100% cabernet franc (South African clone 1 and French clone 214)

Tasting Notes

Intense dark purple colour. Oak perfume with blackberry and hazelnut on the nose. Broad smooth tannins. Intense rich fruit and juicy palate.


Twelve months in 50% new, 25,0% second fill and 25% third fill French oak barrels. Two rackings during wood maturation. Thereafter bottled without filtering or fining, which means you may find natural deposits in the bottle. Can be enjoyed now but is anticipated to reach its optimum in two to five years’ time.



The Rainbow’s End Cabernet Franc received the Terroir Award for the best Cabernet Franc in South Africa in 2016, as well as being named one of the five best estate wines in South Africa. Platter’s Wine Guide has also nominated Rainbow’s End Cabernet Franc for a 5-star award.
‘Cabernet franc is what we specialise in and are most closely associated with,’ says winemaker Anton Malan. ‘We have been making two cabernet francs since 2006, when the vines came into age. Rainbow’s End was one of the pioneers when it comes to straight cabernet francs.’

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