Cabernet sauvignon is made from what’s probably the most widely planted wine grape in the world – some even refer to it as the ‘king of grapes’. It’s grown in a variety of environments, with each region turning out unique flavours. Even Stellenbosch produces a number of distinctly different wines from the various wards, given the variation in terroir. One of my current favourites is the Bartinney Cabernet Sauvignon 2015.
I’ve always enjoyed the wines of the Helshoogte area in Stellenbosch. In the 1990s, wine drinkers were spoiled by the wonderful cabernet sauvignons of Thelema, which had a distinctive, minty character. Then came Tokara and Delaire Graff – both estates that make truly remarkable wines. Now a fourth winery, Bartinney, can easily hold its own against the big names when it comes to producing cabernet sauvignon.
Bartinney’s 2015 vintage was hailed by many wine gurus as one of the best this century. The wine still appears youthful in the glass as it presents itself in bright crimson red. The nose is forward and very fruit-driven: blackcurrant and cassis, with a hint of stewed fruit. There are also some aniseed notes, while the wood integration expresses itself with a dark chocolate character.
These primary flavours are concentrated and repeat on the palate. However, the sensation is voluptuous and complex, with delicate acidity and a fine tannin structure that ensures a luxurious mouth feel.
Although the wine is undoubtedly a product of fully ripe berries, it has by no means sacrificed elegance in order to capture the ripe flavours.
To use the customary cliché, this wine is ready for immediate enjoyment, or it can comfortably be cellared for another 10 years. The solution is to buy some for immediate consumption and still have a few bottles left to enjoy when the wine is fully developed.
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