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Cabernet Sauvignons under R210 - 13th June '23

On the 13th of June we decided to look into Cabernet Sauvignon, under R210. Last year we looked at under R150, wine sure has changed in price in less than a year. I decided to spice this one up a bit by adding a Spanish Cabernet just for a look into Cabernet from another warmish country in Europe. The wines were all tasted in one flight, and were served at the same temperature. A full set of notes were provided detailing chemical analysis, viticulture of the grapes, winemaking practice and the winemakers comments on the wine (notes are available upon request). A list of all the Cabernet Sauvignon’s under R210 available from Checkers, Liquor City Lonehill, Makro, Norman Goodfellows, as well as Woolworths was compiled and handed to the tasters (also available upon request). The tasting order, comments and scores are listed below.

1. Faustino VII 2021 (Rioja- Spain)- R120

Colour- inky red-purple, with no gradation to a clear rim. Nose- forthcoming, coffee, spice, black cherries and berries, warm berry fruits. Palate- crisp acidity, cocoa, prune, black berry and cherries, mulberries, with lingering berry fruits.

Score- 16.00.

2. Snow Mountain “Klein Sneeuberg” 2020 (Winterhoek Mountains- Wellington)- R75

Colour-inky dark red heart gradating to a clear rim. Nose- mint, Eucalyptus, caramel, perfumed, spice, black berries. Palate- crisp acidity, spice, loads of black berries, cassis, mixed fruit jam, dried fruits, black berries linger to the finish!

Score- 16.29.

3. Boschkloof 2020 (Stellenbosch Valley)- R179

Colour- inky red heart, with no gradation to a red rim. Nose- cassis, black currant, black cherries, spice, leather. Palate- crisp acidity, firm tannins, cedar, coconut, mint, black cherries and berries, leathery, beautiful black fruit and cassis to the finish.

Score- 17.00.

4. Landskroon Paul De Villiers 2019 (Paarl Mountain- Paarl)- R179

Colour- inky red gradating to a red rim. Nose- Christmas cake, coconut, chocolate, green herbs, mint, lead pencil, black fruits. Palate- crisp acidity, green herbs, mint, dark chocolates, Christmas cake, lead pencil, beautiful minerality, amazing black berry fruit finish.

Score- 17.57 (this wine is in sixth place at Vats for 2023, tied with the Kleine zalze Vineyard Selection Chenin Blanc 2022).

5. Springfield “Whole Berry” 2019 (Robertson)- R199

Colour- inky red heart, gradating to a red rim. Nose- smoky, almost stinky, earthy, spicy. Palate- crisp acidity, smoked game meat, soft tannins, elastoplasts, prune, tar, chemical finish. Most people didn’t score this wine as they felt that the wine was faulty.

Score- 14.83 (lowest score at Vats for 2023, definitely faulty!).

6. Laibach 2019 (Greater Simonsberg- Stellenbosch) please note that the grapes are now going to Kanonkop and only the Ladybird range is made as Laibach, pity! R151

Colour- inky red heart with almost no gradation to a red rim. Nose- spice, chocolate, caramel, black cherries and berries. Palate- crisp acidity, soft tannins, lots of cassis, black cherry and berries, caramel, earthy, with lovely cassis on the finish!

Score- 17.00.

7. Simonsig Labyrinth 2018 (Greater Simonsberg- Stellenbosch)- R174

Colour- inky red heart with almost no gradation to a slightly burgundy/red rim. Nose- red cherries, cassis, black cherries and berries. Palate- crisp acidity, firm but soft tannins, cedar box, earthy, leather, masses of red fruits and cherries, which linger to the finish. Classic old style Cabernet, well loved!

Score- 17.43 (15th place for 2023, tied with Babich Marlborough Pinot Gris 2018 from New Zealand).

What a tasting, Landskroon Paul De Villiers 2019 edging out Simonsig by only 0.14 in score (Landskroon at 6th and Simonsig at 15th, the contest at the top is close). The Landskroon was loved by many with more 18’s than Simonsig. Tied in third place was Laibach and Boschkloof, at 17.00 which incidentally is 32nd place for 2023. All beautiful Cabernet’s, well made. Springfield the exception, but we all felt that it was a faulty bottle. The Spanish Cabernet, slightly thinner, but still a good Cabernet, for most at the tasting, it was their first Spanish Cabernet. Thanks to all who attended, for their input and comments!

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