Stark-Conde, Three Pines Cabernet Sauvignon 750ml 2015South Africa, Stellenbosch
'Oldest cab block on Jonkershoek estate delivers intense but refined, silky 15. Dense dark fruit core & sexy cedar from all French oak (70% new) & maiden dab cab franc. Deceptively easy, will reward patience, like 14'. – Platter's Wine Guide 2018, 5*
This is the 15th vintage of this single-vineyard wine and I believe it is one of our finest to date. 2014 threw us some challenges, not least of which was a very small window for picking. We ended up picking our best blocks of cabernet on a Sunday morning in order to avoid rain. This displays the violet/cassis/black cherry notes this vineyard is known coupled with the fine elegant tannins for which the Jonkershoek Valley is known.
This wine is based on our best block of cabernet — a higher elevation block with a finely textured decomposed granite soil with a clay sub-soil and a gentle Southwest-facing slope. The wines made from this vineyard (including our single-vineyard syrah) always seem to have good ripeness coupled with good natural acidity and a unique floral note that sets it apart from our other blocks of cabernet. There are five different clones within the block, but I usually focus on just three that have quite different characters: clone 46 which is well structured, but with less forward fruit; clone 27 which varies from vintage, but tends to have a firm tannin; and clone 163 which is quite fruit forward. The grapes for this wine were hand-harvested in mid March.
They were picked into small lug boxes and cooled overnight in a refrigerated container to about 14 degrees C., then de-stemmed and carefully hand-sorted and crushed into small open fermentation vats and cold-soaked for 2-3 days until natural fermentation started. The following day they were inoculated with a mix of yeasts, half with a South African strain and the other half with an imported Bordeaux yeast. About 25% of the wine was fermented with natural yeasts. Regular, vigorous punchdowns were given every 4 hours for the first half of fermentation, then every 6-8 hours thereafter. The wine was basket pressed and racked directly to barrel for malo-lactic fermentation and subsequent barrel maturation. A mix of coopers was used, all French oak, all 300 litre, about 70% new and the balance second-fill. The wine was bottled without fining and with only a light polishing filtration after 22 months barrel maturation.
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AG: Antonio Galloni of Vinous.com | AM: Allen Meadows of Burghound.com | CE: Christian Eedes of Winemag.co.za | DEC: Decanter | GS: Greg Sherwood MW | JR: JancisRobinson.com | NM: Neal Martin of Vinous.com OM: Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show | PG: Platter's Guide | ST: Stephen Tanzer of Vinous.com | TA: Tim Atkin MW | VIN: Vinous.com | WA: Wine Advocate | WE: Wine Enthusiast | WM: Winemag.co.za Report | WS: Wine Spectator