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Vilafonte Series M 2011

Bordeaux Red Blends from South Africa
  • WS92
  • WE91
  • RP90
750ML / 14.5% ABV
Other Vintages
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  • JS95
  • RP91
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  • WS93
  • WE92
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750ML / 14.5% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Series M takes its name from the Malbec and Merlot which predominantly define the style of this wine. Series M is sensuous wine with a firm core structure for aging. Malbec provides its black fruit aromas and fleshy texture, Merlot adds softness and red fruit aromas, and Cabernet Sauvignon provides structure.

Critical Acclaim

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WS 92
Wine Spectator
Ripe and focused, with a solid core of dark currant, crushed blackberry and steeped plum fruit, studded with anise, charcoal and dark tobacco notes. The lingering charcoal edge gives the finish grip. A very solid red. Malbec, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Drink now through 2017.
WE 91
Wine Enthusiast
Sweet baking spice and fudgy brownie abound in the bouquet of this ripe, jammy red blend, framing the dense black berry, plum and boysenberry core. The mouthfeel is plush and velvety, with a soft grip and fruit-skin flavors that linger through the solid finish alongside hints of espresso and toasted allspice. Drink now–2019.
RP 90
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2011 Series M has an opulent bouquet with crème de cassis, boysenberry and violet scents. The palate is medium-bodied with smooth tannins, good depth of fruit, fleshy and rounded in the mouth with soy-tinged strawberry and maraschino toward the finish. Fine – although the Series C has the edge this year.
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Vilafonte

Vilafonte

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Vilafonte, South Africa
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Vilafonté is the first American and South African joint wine-making venture within the global wine community. This ground-breaking red wine project is a partnership between a well respected group of 'quality driven' wine specialists from South Africa and the United States. The name, Vilafonté, derives from the primary soil type of the 100 acre estate, whose character forms the foundation of the wines.

Zelma Long is Head Winemaker for the Vilafonté project. Zelma is one of America's best known winemakers. One of the first women to study enology and viticulture at U.C. Davis, she began her winemaking career at Robert Mondavi Winery, rapidly working into the Chief Winemaker position.

Vilafonté's General Manager is Michael Ratcliffe. Mike qualified as a business major before attending the University of Adelaide. Mike is Managing Director of his family estate, Warwick which is recognized as one of South Africa's foremost wine estates.

Phil Freese is head 'wine-grower' and creator of the Vilafonté vineyard which he calls "Different by Design". Phil spent 13 years as Robert Mondavi’s Vice-President of Wine Growing. Phil designed the first Opus One vineyards, and initiated the remote sensing project with NASA that has spawned a new wave of tools for viticulture analysis and quality enhancement.

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South Africa

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With an important wine renaissance in full swing, impressive red and white bargains abound in South Africa. The country has a particularly long and rich history with winemaking, especially considering its status as part of the “New World.” 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, South Africa is increasingly responsible for high-demand, high-quality wines—a blessing 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 brisk ocean breezes necessary for steady ripening of grapes. Similarly, cooler, high-elevation vineyard sites throughout South Africa offer similar, favorable growing conditions.

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 red-fruit-driven, spicy, earthy 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 close behind.

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Bordeaux Blends

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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.

In the Glass

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. Wines from Bordeaux lean towards a highly structured and earthy style whereas New World areas (as in the ones named above) tend to produce bold and fruit-forward blends. Either way, Bordeaux red blends generally have aromas and flavors of black currant, cedar, plum, graphite, and violet, with more red fruit flavors when Merlot makes up a high proportion of the blend.

Perfect Pairings

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 Secret

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.

STC946751_2011 Item# 217068