Stark-Condé • Stellenbosch • José Conde
Stark-Condé Stellenbosch Cabernet Sauvignon 2016
The grapes for this wine are from 4 different cabernet vineyards and our best merlot, 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 quite a lot and that, together with the differences in elevations and clones, gives a variety of different flavour profiles to the grapes. The merlot and 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, the musts were inoculated with commercial yeasts. A range of yeast was used, several domestic and an imported Bordeaux yeast. About 20% also 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 malo-lactic fermentation and barrel maturation. Only 300l French oak was used, of which about 35% were new. Bottled with a light filtration after 22 months barrel maturation.
2013 was an excellent Cabernet vintage producing wines with bright red fruits and excellent acidity and with a very nice balance between power and elegance. The wines have remained tight despite nearly 2 years in barrel and I believe it will be a vintage with good aging potential. Continuing a trend of the past couple of years, we are using all the Bordeaux blending varieties in this wine with a relatively high proportion of Petit Verdot which I find work’s well in our area and adds an intriguing perfumed note.
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