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Graham Beck Cabernet/Shiraz 2002

Other Red Blends from South Africa
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    Graham Beck

    Graham Beck

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    Graham Beck, South Africa
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    Graham Beck wines is now entering its third generation as a family winery. It was established in 1983 when entrepreneur Graham Beck purchased Madeba farm outside the Western Cape town of Robertson with a fervent ambition to establish a world-class winery in this region. The success of the Robertson winery has been extended to the second Graham Beck cellar in Franschoek, one of the oldest winemaking regions in South Africa.

    The vineyards are located on four diverse farms in the Western Cape province, enabling the Robertson and Franschoek Cellars to have access to grape varietals grown in the climactic conditions and soils to which they are best suited. Marco Ventrella, Graham Beck's viticulturist, oversees the 4 farms. However, each farm is individually tended by its respective vineyard manager.

    An extensive renewal program has resukted in premier red and white varietals on all of the farms. Great care has been taken to match the obliging micro-climates and rich variety of soils with the most suitable varietal. This ensures that the winemakers have access to optimum quality fruit from which to make their specific wines.

    South Africa

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    The South African wine renaissance is in full swing. Impressive red and white bargains abound. South Africa has a long and rich history considering its status as part of the “New World” of wine. In the mid-17th century, the lusciously sweet dessert wines of Constantia were highly prized by the European aristocracy. Since then, the South African wine industry has experienced some setbacks due to the phylloxera infestation of the late 1800s and political difficulties throughout the following century. Today, however, it is increasingly responsible for high-quality wines that are helping to put the country back on the international wine map. Wine production is mainly situated around Cape Town, where the climate is generally warm to hot, but the Benguela current from Antarctica provides the brisk ocean breezes necessary for steady ripening. Similarly, cooler high-elevation vineyard sites offer climatic diversity.

    South Africa’s wine zones are divided into region, then smaller districts and finally wards, but the country’s wine styles are differentiated more by grape variety than by region. Pinotage, a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsault, is the country’s “signature” grape, responsible for earthy, gamey reds. When Pinotage is blended with other red varieties, like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, or Pinot Noir (all commonly vinified alone as well), it is often labeled as a “Cape Blend.” Chenin Blanc (locally known as “Steen”) dominates white wine production, with Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc following behind.

    Other Red Blends

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    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 create complex wines with many different layers of flavors and aromas, or to create more balanced wines. For example, a variety that is soft and full-bodied may be combined with one that is lighter with naturally high acidity. 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.

    CVI196905_2002 Item# 74051