Thelema Rabelais 2017 Stellenbosch


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The 2017 Thelema Rabelais Bordeaux blend sticks to its more recent successful recipe of 87% Cabernet Sauvignon with just a 13% splash of Petit Verdot to add extra interest. A fabulously deep garnet-purple colour, this expertly constructed work of vinous art slowly unfurls in the glass revealing complex notes of crushed black currants, earthy black plum, warm black berry crumble, sweet clove and cedar spice. There are also some distinctive dusty Cabernet Sauvignon aromas that mix harmoniously with notes of half-smoked cigars together with charged perfumed tones of violets, graphite and sweet black chai tea. Medium bodied and supremely tight knit and focused, there is a piercingly arctic fresh line of acidity that cuts through the plush textured fruit concentration like a surgeon’s scalpel through water paper. The intensity is awesome and the all round richness and opulence held tightly in check by the acids but also the super weightless, fine-grained polished marble tannins. The 2015 Rabelais was such an astonishingly great wine that it takes a modicum of courage to even suggest that this 2017 expression is every bit its equal and may well be superior. This great wine truly encapsulates the essence of where South African fine wine has come from but also where it is today. A wine that will give endless pleasure from release but has all the requisite building blocks to age gracefully for 20+ years. An exceptional must have Cape icon red. 97+/100 Greg Sherwood MW

83% Cabernet Sauvignon and 17% Petit Verdot. Matured for 20 months in French oak, 100% new. A subtle and enticing nose of red and black berries, violets, cigar box, pencil shavings and spice. The palate has great fruit density without being unduly heavy while the tannins are exceptionally fine. This is beautifully judged and shows great refinement.

95/100 –
5 Stars Platter Guide 2021

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Winemaking Approach




Producer Information: Thelema

Situated on the South Easterly side of the Simonsberg Mountain with elevations 530m above sea level with mainly south-facing slopes, possessing some of the highest elevations in Stellenbosch. The high altitude and the rich red soils are ideal for premium quality wine grape production. Through the understanding of this optimal climate and soil type, the Thelema Estate have firmly entrenched themselves as one of the leaders in Cabernet Sauvignon, placing Stellenbosch Cabernets firmly on the global wine map. Understanding that grape quality is the single most important factor in serious winemaking, their policy in one of minimum interference, allowing the wines to be a true expression of each vineyard.

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