** NOW IN STOCK AND SURE TO VANISH FAST! **
"If you want to know what textbook Stellenbosch Cabernet tastes like - blended with 15% Petit Verdot, Petite Sirah, Malbec and Cabernet Franc, I'll grant you - this is a very good place to start. Focused, perfumed, balanced and very fine, this has wonderful freshness and elegance. Drink 2022-29. 94 points". Tim Atkin MW, SA Special Report 2019.
We've carried out a video tasting for this one - click here to watch (4 mins 40 secs).
Stark-Condé Wines is located in the picturesque Jonkershoek Valley in Stellenbosch. It is a dramatic valley with steep changes in vineyard elevation from 150 to 600 metres making for a range of sites with distinct characteristics. At Stark-Condé, they stick to traditional winemaking methods: open tank fermentation meticulous sorting of grapes hand-punchdowns basket pressing and maturation in small French oak barrels.
The grapes for this wine are from 4 different Cabernet vineyards and their best Malbec, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot vineyards, all at a mix of different elevations. Although all are on the decomposed granite soils typical of the hillsides in Jonkershoek, the soil textures vary markedly and this, together with the differences in elevations and clones, gives a variety of different flavour profiles to the grapes.
2017 was warm and dry, thus producing very small berries with great concentration of flavour. The wines are boldly fruited and very plush with velvet-like tannins.
The Cabernet Franc grapes were picked in late February, the Malbec early March, and the Cabernet Sauvignon grapes and the Petit Verdot were harvested in mid-March. The grapes were picked into small lug boxes and cooled overnight to about 14 degrees before being hand-sorted and crushed into small open-top fermentation vats. After being cold-soaked for a couple of days, some of the musts were inoculated with a mix of domestic and imported Bordeaux yeast. About 40% underwent fermentation with the natural yeasts. The fermentations were hand punched-down every 4 hours for the first half of fermentation and every 6-8 hours until dry. At dryness, the wine was basket-pressed and racked to barrel for malolactic fermentation and barrel maturation. Only 300-litre French oak barrels were used, of which about 30% were new. Bottled without fining and with no filtration after 20 months barrel maturation.
For extra info, here's Stark-Condé's own data sheet/fiche technique (click link below).
Stark-Conde Cabernet Sauvignon, Stellenbosch 2017 - fiche technique
This wine is a blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Petit Verdot, 4% Petite Sirah, 2% Malbec, 1% Cabernet Franc.
Blackberry fruit aromas with tea-leaf and cedar notes. The palate is rich and polished with dark fruit and mocha flavours and a finely balanced acidity. Long finish with the fine tannins typical of a Jonkershoek Valley wine.
ABV = 14.0%.