The Series C 2019 is a blend of 56% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 20% Malbec and 4% Cabernet Franc that was aged for 22 months in 74% new French oak barriques with the remainder aged in older, multiple passage barrels. A deep ruby-purple colour, this really is an impressively intense and striking blend that is seductive and alluring from the moment the cork is pulled. The aromatics offer glimpses of black cherries, earthy stewed black plums, black currants, fertile loam, tilled earth, freshly cut hedgerow together with hints of hoisin plum sauce and melted chocolate nuances. The palate is medium to full bodied but incredibly pure and polished with a confident, approachable accessibility, sleek rounded tannins and layer upon layer of seamless creamy black berry fruits, saline liquorice, sweet cedar spice and a subtle blueberry accent on the vibrant fresh finish. This wine does not try and hide its sweet seductive black fruits yet there is certainly a subtle subtext of earthy, stony minerality that runs in unison with all the vivid fruit concentration. But beware all the seductive sex appeal on this wine because only the foolish would drink all their bottles on release before allowing this serious blend to hit its straps after 8 to 10+ years ageing. A deliciously accomplished wine.
96+/100 Greg Sherwood MW
Producer Information: Vilafonté
Vilafonté is the vision of the three founding partners - Mike Ratcliffe, Zelma Long and Dr. Phil Freese. Through the collaboration of these three leading industry figures, Vilafonté (which was founded in 1996) became the first American and South African joint wine-making venture, and these days is considered one of the most pioneering wineries in South Africa.
The 42 hectare estate sits on the bench of the Simonsberg Mountains with its unique vilafontes soils. It is from these unique soils – which are between 750,000 and 1.5 million years old – that the winery derives its name. The first vineyards were planted in 1998 followed by a smaller section being planted in 1999. Vilafonté’s wines are exclusively produced from grapes grown on its own property, where the Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Malbec grapes predominate.
Vilafonté produces two main wines from its premium vineyard site. Series C takes its name from being a Cabernet dominant style. A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Malbec, this is a firm, powerfuland concentrated wine, rich in fruit at release and intended for long ageing. Merlot and Malbec dominate the style of the Series M, a wine that is sensuous with a firm structure for ageing with afleshy yet soft texture.
The recently second label is Seriously Old Dirt. The Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec grapes used to produce this blend are sourced from Vilafonté’s vineyards’ younger vines.