Stellenbosch winery De Toren Private Cellar, one of the first South African estates to produce high-end Bordeaux style red wines has released the Director’s Reserve on the occasion of the International Cabernet Sauvignon Day which falls on 3 September.
De Toren Private Cellar is a boutique winery specialising in Bordeaux-style wines and is situated on the Polkadraai Hills, overlooking the picturesque Stellenbosch in the Cape, South Africa.
De Toren was one of the first-ever South African wineries to produce Bordeaux-style wines and the very first to ever make use of a gravity-fed cellar. The farm is renowned for meticulous attention to detail when it comes to nurturing its vineyards to grow the perfect berries, and for making wine through the softest and gentlest of processes.
Cabernet Sauvignon features prominently in the first signature blend, the De Toren Fusion V, that the estate ever produced and continues to craft to this day. With an initial release in 1999, De Toren Fusion V was the first South African wine to score 90+ points for its maiden vintage. It is hand-crafted from grapes that are hand-picked from the estate’s slightly warmer west-facing vineyards – thus remaining true to a “Left Bank” Bordeaux style wine.
The blend is dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon, and harmoniously supported by the four other Bordeaux “heavyweights” – Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec and Petit Verdot. The name, comprising the word Fusion accompanied by the Roman numeral V signifying Five, says it all. Big and bold, De Toren Fusion V fuses the five classic varieties of Bordeaux into a ruby-hued, full-bodied wine that is consistently scored highly by international wine critics.
In order to further highlight the importance that the estate places on Cabernet Sauvignon, De Toren is celebrating International Cabernet Sauvignon Day 2020 through a VIP release of the De Toren Fusion V 2017 Vintage Director’s Reserve.
Made exclusively in years regarded as an extraordinary vintage, the 2017 release is only the fourth such limited edition of the De Toren Fusion V Director’s Reserve in the estate’s history.
Additionally, 2020 marks the 20th year that Managing Partner, Albie Koch, has played an integral part of the De Toren team. Koch was appointed as the very first winemaker at De Toren and it was he who crafted the maiden vintage of De Toren Fusion V at the tender age of 22 and succeeded in putting the estate on the map both locally and internationally.
For the past 20 years he has been committed to creating wines that are elegant, nuanced, silky soft and true to the terroir at De Toren. De Toren flows from Koch’s winemaking and vineyard practices, his passion for the land and his connection to Stellenbosch. Approximately 10 years ago, Koch handed over the everyday winemaking reigns to Charles Williams, who currently remains the Cellar Master. Even though Koch’s role is still very much hands-on, he now oversees the main strategic areas of the estate, ranging from the vineyard to business management.
To celebrate this anniversary, the winemaking team has created a blend from the excellent 2017 vintage, showcasing just two of the “heroes” that combine in the estate’s acclaimed Left-Bank Bordeaux styled wine, De Toren Fusion V, namely, Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec. Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec are Koch’s favourite varietals and also the biggest components present in the De Toren Fusion V blends. This limited-edition red blend is a fusion of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon and 40% Malbec.
The De Toren Fusion V 2017 Director’s Reserve exudes flavours of red cherries, cedar and dark cherries deriving from the Cabernet Sauvignon. The Malbec lends aromas of vanilla and blueberry on the nose, accompanied by fine textured tannins on the palate. To make this wine, the grapes are basket pressed, matured for 24 months in first- and second-fill French oak barrels with an added touch of American oak to round it off. This wine is highly enjoyable today or in 20 years’ time as this robust beauty will mature exceptionally over the next two decades if cellared carefully.
Here are five interesting facts about Cabernet Sauvignon to mark the annual celebration of this varietal:
- The Cabernet Sauvignon grape is a hybrid of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc.
- It is fondly referred to as Cab Sav.
- Cabernet Sauvignon typically ages well because of a high tannin content.
- Cabernet Sauvignon pairs well with meat (anything from a sirloin or fillet steak), game meats, almonds, and prominent flavours like that found in cheeses such as mature cheddar, blue cheese and mustard, thereby enhancing the tasting experience. De Toren Fusion V 2017 Director’s Reserve, with its nuanced and complex flavours, pairs exceptionally well with tender grilled or roast lamb seasoned with garlic, rosemary and a hint of lemon.
- De Toren’s Cabernet Sauvignon grapes are grown in soil that is not only 450 million years old, but the type of terroir is particularly suited to growing this varietal (and the other classic Bordeaux wine grapes) – a contributing factor to De Toren’s quality.