Boekenhoutskloof Estate Franschoek Cabernet Sauvignon 2018  £42.50

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Boekenhout is an indigenous Cape Beech tree greatly prized for making fine furniture. Our Boekenhoutskloof label features seven chairs; amongst them the country-style split splat chair made in the neo-classical style with a shouldered top rail and thonged seat from the late 18th century. Then there's the Sandveld chair that has two back rails and a thonged seat which made its appearance in the second quarter of the 19th century. The transitional Tulbagh chair was made in the late 18th century, it has a plain back and a shaped top rail with half-round opening. The chairs on our wine label all pay tribute to the skills of the 18th century craftsmen and their achievements in creating beauty from natural sources, just like the pursuit of fine wine-making.

The Franschhoek Cabernet Sauvignon was sourced from four individual parcels adjacent to one another on a south-westerly aspect of the Franschhoek valley, where the soil is predominantly sandy loam over granitic bedrock.  Traditional picking dates were adhered to and the Cabernets came in showing healthy fruit and a very high skin to pulp ratio, resulting in wines with exceptional tannins and classic phenolic structures, yet still offering wonderful natural acidity.  A very small percentage Cabernet Franc from an old vineyard on the farm was again blended in, contributing subtle fragrance and finesse to the dark fruit spectrum.

The intention was to create a textbook claret and to respect the signature Boekenhoutskloof Cabernet style.  Classic dark berry fruit profile and a full, rich character and deep flavours offered by the vintage were captured.   Gentle vinification was selected to avoid huge, monstrous wines. Grapes were picked by hand into small lug boxes, bunch sorted with berry selection and gently destalked. The grapes underwent a cold maceration in traditional concrete vessels and then fermented at temperatures between 27° and 30°C with frequent pump-overs to extract aromas, colour and tannins. After alcoholic fermentation a prolonged malolactic fermentation occurred naturally in 225 litre barriques. The wine was matured in French oak from our preferred coopers, Sylvain and Saury.

The nose is subtle, yet perfumey with its complex bouquet of red currant, dark cherries and blueberry and enticing whiffs of bergamot and cedar. Red and dark berry fruit follows through onto a medium-bodied palate with flavours of fresh fig and nutmeg. The mid-palate is focused, silky and poised with a charcoal-edged texture and very fine-grained tannins, with perfect acidity to balance. The wine lingers with hints of clove, crushed gravel and cocoa powder on a mineral-tinged, pure finish.

95 Points - Platters Guide

Classic, complex 2018 surrounds elegant tannic backbone with stylishly draped blackcurrant, blackberry & warm tar. 80% new French oak adds vanilla & cedar notes, crisp acidity gives measure & pace. Dash cab franc added for freshness & texture, as in also-stellar 2017 (4.5 stars, 94 pts). Home-farm & 70% brought-in fruit.

Wine tasted by Cathy Marston.

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