It was the vintage that defied the odds. Despite being marked by the worst drought on record and facing a host of problems, owing to the water shortage followed by unseasonable weather conditions, Vilafonté released an exceptional expression of their Cabernet-driven, Bordeaux-style blend.
Considered by many to be one of the most important, premium South African wines, Vilafonté has carved out a unique space in our wine market. An eagerly anticipated release, each year sees the estates, dedicated members and wine enthusiasts marking their calendars for November 1, the annual release date.
Due to the strenuous growing season, the 2018 vintage delivered a smaller crop and, as such, a smaller and therefore even more limited quantity of Series C was bottled. However, this small crop had its benefits too, with the vines offering up unusually small berries which together with a compact, 25-day harvest led to elevated intensity, structure and concentration.
The blend consists of 58% cabernet sauvignon, 17% merlot, 14% Malbec and 11% Cabernet Franc; 69% of which was aged in new French oak barriques with the balance in older French oak.
Co-founder and managing partner of Vilafonté, Mike Ratcliffe, says it is a vintage like no other, noting that the cabernet sauvignon, the pillar of Series C, showed pedigree from day one of harvest.
It’s an elegant wine, with a quiet confidence that sets it apart from many other local Bordeaux-style blends. On the nose, the deep yet delicate perfume of violet mingles with that of black cherry, crème de cassis, juniper berry and underlying hints of star anise and vanilla oak aromas. The palate shows equal depth with a beautiful purity of fruit, a complex yet refined tannin structure, phenomenal balance and a long lingering finish.
Greg Sherwood of Wine Safari scored the 2018 Vilafonté Series C an impressive 96/100
A wine of distinction, previous vintages having been awarded among other accolades, “The Best New World Bordeaux Blend” by Six Nations and the highest rated red wine in SA by Robert Parker Wine Advocate. The 2018 is no exception, pre-release, it has been praised by critics as an exceptional vintage.
“This beautiful Series C is a tremendous piece of winemaking resulting from an ongoing mission of vinous refinement. When all is said and done and we eventually look back on the 2018 wines objectively, I predict that this Series C will stand among the top wines of the vintage. Drink on release or cellar with confidence for another 10 to 15+ years,” says Greg Sherwood of Wine Safari who scored the wine an impressive 96/100.
The tasting notes offer “Series C 2018 demonstrates; that if you want to be heard, whisper...” and while that may be true of the wine, its superior quality is sure to make a lot of noise.
• The 2018 Vilafonté Series C is available to in limited quantities for order online.