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Cabernet Sauvignon

Stellenbosch - South Africa


The King! A variety Mick and Jeanine never thought they would entertain making until a lovely little site on the Karibib Vineyard was made apparent. The vineyard sits at 1,000 feet in elevation in the western part of Stellenbosch. The southeasterly wind coming off of False Bay becomes a bit of an air conditioner helping to retain lovely acidity and prolong the growing season. 2019 was the end of the harsh drought that plagued much of the Cape and yet it was this year that really produced wines of great finesse and still with concentrated fruit notes. The vineyard responded well to the late fall cool temperatures and bit of rain due to microclimatic farming methods. During ripening it just has intense and correct flavors at a relatively low sugar levels, so Mick made a spur of the minute decision to pick a little bit and make his first Cabernet.

Going against what is considered ‘standard operating procedure’, he fermented the grapes 100% whole bunch. He and Jeanine love the tannin structure and aromatics this can give to a wine and thought why not try it on Cab? The grapes were pressed a little earlier than complete dryness to make sure the tannins didn’t get too aggressive and the ferment finished in tank. The wine was then matured in neutral 225L barrels for 10 months before bottling. The wine is bottled unfined and unfiltered, with nothing added during the winemaking process apart from a dash of sulfur.


  • Grapes: 100% Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Vineyard: Karibib Vineyard
  • Vine Age: 20-years-old
  • Soil Type: Decomposed granite and clay
  • Viticulture: Practicing Organic
  • Fermentation: Native – open-top stainless-steel (100% whole-cluster)
  • Skin Contact: 7 days
  • Aging: 10 months in neutral 500L tonneau
  • Alcohol: 13.3%
  • pH: 3.65
  • Total Acidity: 5.1 g/L
  • Total SO2: ≈60 ppm
  • Total Production: 300 cases
  • UPC: 6009803564638

Tasting Note

What’s exciting is how far is it from being green,” says Mick Craven. This is so true as conventional thought says that Cabernet Sauvignon must be ultra-ripe (north of 14% alcohol) in order to lose that ‘greenness’, especially with whole clusters! It couldn’t be more apparent than Mick & Jeanine’s fine example here. There is plenty of charm and a wine that you can cuddle up to but there is still power, firm tannins combined with bright acidity and an intensity of flavors.

Red and black fruits combine with graphite and fresh herb notes, leading to a mid-weight palate that is bright and lithe echoing the freshness on the nose. At 12+% alcohol maybe this wine has rewritten the Stellenbosch Cabernet textbook – or just harkened back to days of 30 or so years ago.

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