Delaire Graff Botmaskop 2016
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Still a little tight when I tasted it, with quite a bit of tannin showing, this Cabernet Sauvignon based red Bordeaux blend is dense and serious with savoury concentration beneath. 2020-26. Alcohol: 14.8%
Delaire, known for its high altitude vineyards, excellent soils and cooling sea breezes, is situated on the crest of the panoramic Helshoogte Mountain Pass, overlooking the Banhoek Valley. The 44 hectare vineyard is framed by the mighty Simonsberg and Groot Drakenstein Mountains. With its rugged mountain slopes, Delaire experiences variances in altitude which range from approximately 300 to 500 m above sea level. This creates microclimates conducive to making multi-layered, complex wines. Winemaker Bruwer Raats says, "We farm with nature as our partner and here on Delaire, we are blessed with mainly Hutton and some Clovelly soils".
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.
With hundreds of red grape varieties to choose from, winemakers have the freedom to create a virtually endless assortment of blended wines. In many European regions, strict laws are in place determining the set of varieties that may be used, but in the New World, experimentation is permitted and encouraged. Blending can be utilized to enhance balance or create complexity, lending different layers of flavors and aromas. For example, a variety that creates a fruity and full-bodied wine would do well combined with one that is naturally high in acidity and tannins. Sometimes small amounts of a particular variety are added to boost color or aromatics. Blending can take place before or after fermentation, with the latter, more popular option giving more control to the winemaker over the final qualities of the wine.