Graham Beck wins top ten placements in leading SA categories
04 June 2012 by Graham Beck Wines
Graham Beck Wines has once again shown that not all that sparkles is Cap Classique; having placed in the annual top ten listings for two of South Africa's leading varieties, Chenin Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon.
At the Classic Chenin Blanc Top Ten for 2012 held in February, the Graham Beck Bowed Head Chenin Blanc 2010 was among the wines selected="true"="true"="true" in a category that has risen from the status of a ‘workhorse’ variety to a promising contender as South Africa’s signature wine. The name Bowed Head derives from the shape the body assumes when tending the venerable vines; knees on the ground and head bowed over, in due deference. The vineyard yields tiny quantities of concentrated grapes; this giving rise to a richer, riper style with nuances of pineapple, honeysuckle and cinnamon spice. A natural, fresh acidity promises the longevity of the wine.
Because Chenin Blanc “takes on everything you give it” says winemaker Erika Obermeyer in reference to using oak, larger barrels were used exclusively to add creaminess and palate weight. The elegant austerity and minerality shown in the wine is inspired by the wines of Loire; a particular passion of Erika’s.
In quick succession, another wine made by Erika, Graham Beck The Coffeestone Cabernet Sauvignon 2009, was chosen in the Christian Eedes Cabernet Sauvignon Report Top Ten 2012. The top mark of five stars awarded to the wine was decided by the judges unanimously, in the inaugural issue of a report that aims to “scrutinize the front-runners” of a variety in which South Africa “can compete with the world’s best” .
Cabernet Sauvignon is a favourite of Erika’s among the red varieties; a grape that she sees as a “challenge” in terms of showcasing its true-to-cultivar character and specificity. The Firgrove terroir, the source of The Coffeestone, has Erika’s highest esteem as Cabernet Sauvignon territory.
“The secret of the Firgrove terroir lies in its ancient coffeestone soils; very unique deep, granite gravel on weathering clay,” she says. “The very old bush vine vineyard we use for the Coffeestone wine is located in clear view of False Bay, from Hangklip to Simonstown, and cool breezes ensure a long and slow fruit ripening. Continual breeze controls the vigour of vineyard growth; the net result being small bunches of tiny berries with concentrated fruit, and structured but ripe tannins in the wine.”
Ripe berry fruits and tobacco spice characterise Cabernet Sauvignon produced from this terroir, and these are found in abundance in The Coffeestone. The judges for the Eedes report found “subtle notes of cassis, floral perfume and pencil shavings”; and yet exceptional fruit purity, “fresh acidity, and firm but fine tannins”. “Reigned-in power”, excellent structure and age-worthiness were noted; and the cellaring recommendation was up to 2024.
Bowed Head Chenin Blanc 2010 and The Coffeestone Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 are available from the Graham Beck cellar at a price per bottle of R110 and R180 respectively. Orders can be placed with Chantel Matheus; telephone 021 874 1258 or email . Specialist retail outlets include Norman Goodfellows, Makro Woodmead, Caroline’s Fine Wine, Wine Concepts on Kloof Street, Cellars Hohenort, Cape Grace, Mount Nelson, and Parklane Cellars in Pietermaritzburg.
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