All the stylistic vagaries of the modern era of winemaking in South Africa when Estelle Lourens of Uitkyk showed the 1982, 1997, 2001, 2007 and 2011 vintages of the Stellenbosch’s property Cabernet Sauvignon which is bottled under the name “Carlonet”.
The 1982 was light bodied with an acidity tending to tart but still pretty (score: 87/100). Lourens guessed that the alcohol by volume would’ve been around 12% and the total acidity 6g/l and probably natural. “The Cab was planted from top to bottom. The highest vineyards were about 400m above sea level and there’s just no way Cab can ripen properly at that height,” she said.
The 1997 with an abv 13.49% was medium bodied, balanced and immensely drinkable (88); the 2001 with an abv of 15% showed ultra-ripe dark fruit and was hot on the finish (85); the 2007 with an abv of 14.69% had a peppermint crisp character about it with notes of both mint and chocolate – this vintage was late and it appears the Cab never got ripe – Lourens admits she left the wine in barrel a little longer than usual in an attempt to soften up the severe tannins (83); and lastly the current release 2011 with an abv of 14.65% – red and black fruit plus attractive oak on the nose, rich and full on the palate, the tannins appearing quite heavily extracted. Sound but a bit foursquare (87).
Wine of the day in the form of the 2009 (abv 14.43%) was served at lunch – red and black fruit, some fynbos fragrance and attractive oak. Rich but balanced, with fresh acidity and firm but fine tannins, the finish long and gently savoury (90). This is generally considered a great vintage and I’m happy to say that Uitkyk didn’t miss out.