A collaboration by leading Cape wineries has followed the footsteps of a South African icon, producing a Cabernet Sauvignon from an exceptional vineyard that no longer exists. Its grapes hail from the same region that produced the internationally celebrated 1966 GS Cabernet Sauvignon.
While the GS and newly unveiled The Master’s Vineyards are unrelated in many ways, both highlight the calibre of terroir of the Durbanville Wine Valley (DWV) – where wine has been made since the end of the 17th century. The 1966 GS Cabernet Sauvignon was described by Wine Spectator magazine as “the one true classic wine ever produced in South Africa”. In 2015, UK authority Jancis Robinson awarded it a perfect score of 20/20.
A year later, Durbanville Hills and Diemersdal teamed up to make a tribute wine, with the support of the region and industry suppliers. The result is a wine that matured for 24 months in French oak barrels and was bottled in 2018, in the similar Claret-style as used in 1966.
“The realisation of this wine is an exceptional milestone for us as a wine region,” says DWV manager Natasha de Villiers. “In spite of the extreme challenges the wine industry has had to endure, perseverance has won the day and spectacularly so.”
UK Master of Wine Tim Atkin reviewed the Cabernet Sauvignon from the 2016 vintage, describing it as “a superb wine, with cassis and tobacco notes, subtle oak and pithy, refreshing acidity”. He adds: “Only 1 200 bottles [produced], alas.”
To its benefit, Durbanville’s cool climate provides most wine grapes with a long ripening period that allows for a pace of fruit development necessary to produce outstanding quality. This is revealed particularly in Durbanville’s reputation for champion Sauvignon Blancs. It is underrated as a red wine area.
“When the elements come together, the wines from Cabernet Sauvignon excel,” says Natasha. “As such, it’s perhaps disappointing that more of this historic collaborative wine couldn’t be made!”
Fruit for the 2016 Durbanville Wine Valley The Master’s Vineyard’s Cabernet Sauvignon was harvested in two batches and came from Morgenster Farm. It’s south-facing slopes and Red Hutton soils are ideal for quality wine production, but tough economics resulted in the uprooting of vines and a change of crop.
Nonetheless, the rarity and significance of the wine was embraced by the valley and led to a determined collaboration. The task of making the wine was shared by Diemersdal and Durbanville Hills – each world-renowned for quality, skill and leadership. Label printing was sponsored by Ram Labels; corks, by Amorim; bottles, by Diemersdal; and, custom wood-cases by Connoisseur Mouldings.
The Master’s Vineyards name for the range signifies the mission that unifies the region’s wineries in honouring and aspiring to the work of Durbanville’s winemaking giants, Natasha explains.
The Durbanville Wine Valley lies some 20 minutes from the Cape Town CBD and is home to some of South Africa’s most well-known wineries. They include Altydgedacht, Bloemendal, Canto, D’Aria, Diemersdal, De Grendel, Durbanville Hills, Hillcrest, Klein Roosboom, Loch Lynne, Maastricht, Meerendal, Nitida, Groot Phesantekraal and Signal Gun.
Durbanville Wine Valley is equally well-known as a hub for outdoor enthusiasts; for offering the broadest range of wine-and-dine experiences; and, for catering to diverse needs, from those of families to solo adventurers. In addition, it offers all this year-round – irrespective of season.
The 2016 Durbanville Wine Valley The Master’s Vineyard’s Cabernet Sauvignon is sold by three-bottle case, at a price of R950/case.
The wine is available from selected wineries of the Durbanville Wine Valley and online at www.winefly.co.za.