De Toren Z 2013  Front Label
De Toren Z 2013  Front LabelDe Toren Z 2013 Front Bottle Shot

De Toren Z 2013

  • WS91
  • WE91
750ML / 14.5% ABV
Other Vintages
  • TA93
  • TA91
  • WS92
  • WE92
  • WS90
  • WE92
  • WS90
  • WE92
  • WS88
  • WE91
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750ML / 14.5% ABV

Winemaker Notes

This "Right Bank-styled" Bordeaux blend debuted in the 2004 vintage as a complement to De Toren's legendary "Left Bank-styled" Fusion V. A higher proportion of Merlot makes this delicious red softer and more approachable in its youth than its blockbuster sibling. Vibrant aromas and flavors of plum, dark berries, black currant and spice combine with classic notes of tobacco and graphite with a hint of vanilla. A clean, balanced acidity integrates with mouth coating tannins that contribute to a long, sophisticated finish.

Blend: 42% Merlot, 21% Malbec, 16% Cabernet Franc, 12% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Petit Verdot

Critical Acclaim

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WS 91
Wine Spectator
Rich and polished, with a suave roasted cedar frame around a dense core of cassis and plum reduction notes. The long finish drips with fruit, but has a nicely embedded graphite spine for balance. Rock-solid. Merlot, Malbec, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot. Best from 2018 through 2023.
WE 91
Wine Enthusiast
Smoky, earthy notes of licorice root, chicory, pepper and leather spice up the black plum, berry and cherry fruit in this blend of 42% Merlot, 21% Malbec, 16% Cabernet Franc, 12% Cabernet Sauvignon and 9% Petit Verdot. The mouthfeel is plush and filling, with generous yet structured tannins and ample acidity that frame the rich dark fruits. Final flavors of cassis and char linger long on the finish.
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De Toren

De Toren

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De Toren, South Africa
De Toren Winery Video

De Toren proprietors Emil and Sonette den Dulk left Johannesburg in 1991 to establish their vineyards in the Polkadraai Hills of Stellenbosch. Situated on southern facing slopes overlooking False Bay, De Toren enjoys the cooling effect of constant ocean breezes. Taking a holistic approach to keeping vineyard soils healthy and balanced, viticulturalist Ernest Manuel employs sustainable farming practices throughout the property. Infrared Aerial Imaging is used extensively in order to monitor ripeness in various vineyard blocks and determine optimal picking times, although actual harvesting and production are done almost entirely by hand.

The winery is operated on gravity flow principles; a 4000 liter pressure tank in an elevator shaft (the "Tower" from which the winery takes its name) is cleverly used to exploit gravity in transporting wine between tanks and barrels without the use of mechanical pumps. As a result of De Toren’s innovative, minimal intervention production methods, their wines were among the first South African bottlings to qualify for IP (Integrated Production) certification by the Wine and Spirit Board.

The Den Dulks and winemaker Albie Koch seem to have found the key to success with their simple winemaking philosophy: gentle handling, no pumps, and minimum manipulation. Armed with this winning formula, the boutique farm has quickly risen to the ranks of South Africa’s winemaking elite with their duo of dazzling, stylish and complex five-varietal Bordeaux blends: the flagship Fusion V (which debuted in the 1999 vintage and has been hailed by Wine Spectator as "a consistently polished, outstanding Cabernet Sauvignon-based blend") and the Merlot-based "Z," introduced with the 2004 vintage.

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South Africa’s most famous wine-producing district, Stellenbosch, surrounds the historic town with the same name; fine winemaking here dates back to the late 1600s. Its valleys of granite, sandstone and alluvial loam soils between the towering blue-grey mountains of Stellenbosch, Simonsberg and Helderberg have the capacity to produce beautiful wines from many varieties. The climate is warm Mediterranean, tempered by the cool Atlantic air of nearby False Bay.

Perhaps most well-known for its Pinotage and Bordeaux blends, Stellenbosch also produces noteworthy wines from Syrah, Chenin blanc, Chardonnay and Sauvignon blanc. The district’s wards—Banghoek, Bottelary, Devon Valley, Jonkershoek Valley, Papegaaiberg, Polkadraai Hills and Simonsberg-Stellenbosch—all produce distinctive wines from vines with relatively low yields.

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One of the world’s most classic and popular styles of red wine, Bordeaux-inspired blends have spread from their homeland in France to nearly every corner of the New World, especially in California, Washington and Australia. Typically based on either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and supported by Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot, these are sometimes referred to in the US as “Meritage” blends. In Bordeaux itself, Cabernet Sauvignon dominates in wines from the Left Bank of the Gironde River, while the Right Bank focuses on Merlot. Often, blends from outside the region are classified as being inspired by one or the other.

Tasting Notes for Bordeaux Blends

Bordeaux Blends are dry, red wines and generally have aromas and flavors of black currant, black cherry plum, graphite, cedar and violet. Cabernet-based, Left-Bank-styled wines are typically more tannic and structured, while Merlot-based wines, modeled after the Right Bank, are softer and suppler. Cabernet Franc can add herbal notes, while Malbec and Petit Verdot contribute color and structure.

Perfect Food Pairings for Bordeaux Blends

Since Bordeaux red blends are often quite structured and tannic, they pair best with hearty, flavorful and fatty meat dishes. Any type of steak makes for a classic pairing. Equally welcome with these wines would be beef brisket, pot roast, braised lamb or smoked duck.

Sommelier Secrets for Bordeaux Blends

While the region of Bordeaux is limited to a select few approved grape varieties in specified percentages, the New World is free to experiment. Bordeaux blends in California may include equal amounts of Cabernet Franc and Malbec, for example. Occassionally a winemaker might add a small percentage of a non-Bordeaux variety, such as Syrah or Petite Sirah for a desired result.

GZT20483212_2013 Item# 196234

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