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“The balance, and the refined elegance of this blend, with its long finish, is the result of a growing season that goes down in my books as textbook perfect. A properly wet winter, some spring rain and a dry, mild summer allowed for longer hang-time, followed by quick picking. There’s superb balance between sugar and natural acidity. With all the grapes being of Helderberg origin, we were able to achieve consistency in style. Cabernet Sauvignon was everything we wanted it to be - and more - so we gave it dominance in the blend. Adding Cabernet Franc from a younger vintage in the final blend contributes a freshness and element of surprise.”
- Frans K Smit, Cellar Master, Spier
THE WINE & THE MAKER
Frans Smit and his winemaking team have harnessed 3 centuries of winemaking history, transforming Spier from a small cellar in the Eighties into a top award-winning Stellenbosch producer. Crafting blends of distinction, and identifying regional vineyards that are some of the Capes best kept secrets. ‘Respect what the vineyard hands you’ is his mantra.
FKS: ‘This wine has the long-legged capacity to be a big future player. It’s a rare pleasure to uncork the occasional bottle. Every time, I’m amazed. Although big and structured, this wine has a gentle alter ego. The tannins aren’t hard – they leave a subtle, sweet sensation. It’s thanks to the terroir, really. The fruit hails from the Helderberg ̶ by far the best South African terroir for this style of red blend.’
SOIL & TERROIR
FKS: 'The benign west- and northwest-facing slopes of the Helderberg is the place where all the vines were grown, and all within a 10km radius. Decomposed granite soils retain water well, allowing for slow ripening and heightened mineral complexity. The area benefits from the cooling effect of the nearby Atlantic. The season was also beautifully mild. So the fruit matured without any necessity to pick in a hurry, developing excellent flavor concentration and velvety tannins.’
FKS: ‘We worked every inch of these vineyard blocks, putting so much time and care-taking into each vine row. Our team was constantly in attendance. Making a wine that yields this kind of character is labour intensive. After hand-picking and carefully packing the berries into small 10kg lugs, they were then sorted by hand, crushed and pumped into a mixture of 500L roller barrel and small steel tanks. Fermentation and post-fermentation took place in these barrels and tanks, where the juice remained on the lees for 3 – 6 weeks, or until I was 100% satisfied with the tannin levels. We then racked and transferred the wine to small French Oak barrels for maturation to begin.’
FKS: ‘Malolactic fermentation took place in the small French oak barrels, followed by an extended period of maturation. Around 24 months after picking, I made selections from these already well-rounded blends. They were then returned to the barrel for a further 6-8 months, before the final barrel selection – the big moment when we get to pick the best of the bunch.’
A royal berry red with ruby red on the rim.
NOSE & PALATE
A discernable blackcurrant and dark fruit presence on the palate, with the barest traces of cigar box. You can almost taste the tannins in this blend. They’re firm and assertive, but also rounded, sweet, soft and very amiable.
EAT & DRINK
This wine will show best at 10 years after harvest, and will complement rich red meat dishes like ribeye, beef roasts and smoky barbeque fillet steaks.