Awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their April 2020 edition expert tasting of Global Bordeaux blends (see blue link below).
Mulderbosch Faithful Hound 2016 - April 2020 Decanter review
Founded in 1989, multi-award winning Mulderbosch Vineyards is one of South Africa’s foremost wine producers. As advocates to the Integrated Production of Wine (IPW) code, they manage their vineyards limiting the use of herbicides, fungicides and pesticides. They use a restrained approach in the cellar to produce distinctive and characterful wines that represent the Stellenbosch terroir. Chenin Blanc is the Cape’s signature variety and they have the largest planting of this variety in the world. In 1996, Mulderbosch was one of the very first producers in the Cape to ferment Chenin Blanc in barriques. The resultant wine garnered an avid following and Mulderbosch has since become synonymous with the variety.
The Faithful Hound is a blend of five varieties; all are estate grown grapes except the Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon which come from neighbouring vineyards carefully chosen for their consistency and quality. All vines are trellised, using Vertical Shoot Positioning and moveable foliage wires. The basic geological structure is decomposed granite, with soils comprising varying levels of gravelly clay. Leaf removal at an early stage of the grape's life generally ensure the pyrazine or ‘green’ flavours often encountered in Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc are avoided. Moderate cropping levels of between eight to 12 tonnes provide the vines with a natural load that encourages slower accumulation of grape sugars and thus allows for riper flavours at lower Brix levels. Mechanical under vine weeding takes place as herbicides are no longer used at Mulderbosch.
2016 saw a hot and dry growing season, which reduced disease pressure in the vineyard and resulted in excellent concentration in the fruit.
The grapes were meticulously sorted prior to being destemmed. The fermentation process was initiated by naturally occurring yeast, and finished by a selected strain, added during the course of fermentation. Gentle extraction and long maceration time are the hallmarks of the winemaking style, followed by barrel maturation. The wine spent 16 months in French oak barriques, of which 30% were new and the remainder in 2nd- and 3rd-fill.
Cabernet Sauvignon 33%, Cabernet Franc 20%, Merlot 19%, Malbec 17% and Petit Verdot 11%.
Beautifully textured, the fleshy ripe fruit is balanced by an smoky, savoury character showing pronounced cassis, dried figs, dates together with hints of clove and chocolate. Classically styled, pronounced cassis is followed by dried figs, dates, hints of clove and notes of forest floor on this complex bouquet. Underpinned by serious structure, the fleshy ripe fruit finds balance with an earthy, savoury character. A poised and elegant wine. Perfect with grilled steak and charred tomato salsa.
ABV = 13.5%.