The grapes for this vibrant single vineyard wine were hand-picked, sorted, basket pressed and then fermented in small batches before being matured in small French oak barrels for 20 months. The wine was bottled without fining or filtration. The aromatics are piquant, spicy and thoroughly enticing with hints of fragrant black berry confit on slightly burnt brown breakfast toast supported by emerging notes of bruleed coffee beans, inky iodine, sweet cherry tobacco, cola, salty cassis and a pronounced under vein of graphite. The palate is super elegant from start to finish, suave, supple and impressively harmonious with a fine textural breadth and depth of black and blueberry saline fruits, soft, sleek silky tannins and all the tell-tale weightless concentration that has come to define this vintage’s greatest red wines. Seamless, precise and incredibly well made, this is sultry, seductive Stellenbosch Cabernet Sauvignon at its best. Drink now or cellar for 12+ years. (8,175 bottles produced.) – 96/100 Greg Sherwood MW
Producer Information: Stark-Condé
South African patriarch Hans Schroder (b. 1938) was raised in Stellenbosch but spent much of his adult life abroad. In the 1960’s while attending university in Japan, Hans met and married fellow student Midori Maruyama. At the time, their marriage contravened the apartheid regime’s Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act so the young couple settled in Japan. They remained in Tokyo for the next 30 years where they raised three daughters—Marie, Lisa, and Miki. Fast forward to the late 1980’s — the end of apartheid was inching closer and Nelson Mandela’s release was imminent. Hans and Midori decided it was time to return to South Africa and be part of the positive change. They purchased the Oude Nektar farm in 1989 and focused on growing grapes. Cellar master and son in law Jose Conde’s started experimenting with Cabernet in the early 2000’s. With a Father in Law producing some of the best Cabernet grapes in the region, the recipe was perfect to produce some show stopping wines.
The grapes are grown in the Jonkershoek Valley, with its high elevation terrain, ample winter rainfalls, and the cleansing Southeaster breeze that blows through the valley, this area has perfect conditions for the production of premium grapes. The Stark-Condé vineyards are farmed organically and winemaking is kept as simple and natural as possible. With a limited production of just over 8000 cases, Stark-Condé remains committed to producing hand-crafted premium wines.
Today, the dedicated team at Stark-Condé includes vineyard manager Andrew Klink who has spearheaded the conversion to organics, and winemaker Rüdger van Wyk who creates fine wines using minimal intervention in the cellar.