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Back L to R Chris van Reenen, Marthinus Rademeyer, Jean Slabber.
Back L to R Chris van Reenen, Marthinus Rademeyer, Jean Slabber.

Bonnievale accolades shine a light on Cabernet Sauvignon excellence


Issued by Yolandi DeWet PR - Sep 17th, 14:37

A string of recent awards for Bonnievale Wines has highlighted not only the winery's skillful viticulture and winemaking practices, but the region's premium quality Cabernet Sauvignon too. 

Cabernet Sauvignon is the number one grape variety in the world and most widely planted red variety in SA, making it one of the most hotly contested arenas in wine. Growers and wineries that excel with it are regarded to be at the top of their game.

There was, therefore, good reason for Bonnievale Wines' ebullience; while Stellenbosch is a prominent centre of excellence for Cabernet Sauvignon, it's not exclusively so.

First, at the recent Robertson regional division of the South African National Young Wine Show, the Bonnievale Wines' unwooded Cabernet Sauvignon won best in class for the second consecutive year. The wine then went on to receive the Castle Wine and Brandy Company Trophy as overall, unwooded category winner at the national event.

The achievement follows on the heels of the recent Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show, where the Bonnievale Barrel Select 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon received Gold and the Old Mutual Trophy for Discovery of the Show/Best Value.

"Bonnievale Cabernet Sauvignon has come of age, and at a very important time too," says Bonnievale Wines Executive Director: Marketing and Sales, Carina Gous. "As industry producers have come under increasing pressure, an increasing number of vineyards have been traded by farmers for more profitable crops. Exceptional quality never goes out of fashion, which is the reason behind exciting developments at Bonnievale Wines to be revealed soon."

Among the current portfolio's top performers is a Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot blend in the River Collection range. A 100% Cabernet Sauvignon was recently added to the range due to consumer demand and the winery's success with the cultivar.

Bonnievale Wines Production Manager Marthinus Rademeyer says the largest part of producing top-quality wine comes down to what happens in the vineyard to ensure healthy grapes.

"Bonnievale Cabernet Sauvignon can be characterised by its good, red berry, fruit-driven character with a good, ripe tannin structure," says Marthinus. "Even early on the wine is elegant without dry tannin – the result of perfect vine management and harvesting at optimal phenolic ripeness."

In the cellar, hygiene is a primary focus especially for a cultivar harvested late in the season, as well as gentle handling of the fruit. Once made, all the Cabernet Sauvignons are tasted by a panel of winemakers.
Among the panel that evaluates Bonnievale Cabernet Sauvignon is former Distell Group GM – Wines, Callie van Niekerk who now consults for Bonnievale. "For me, the Cabernet is in the more modern style – a wine that shows fruit and berry-driven aromas, good colour and soft and fine tannin on the finish," he says.

KWV wine buyer and viticulturist Anneke du Plessis hails Bonnievale Wines for its accolades. "This achievement is clearly a result of dedication and focus on wine quality, and the possibilities within the Bonnievale wine region," she says.

"The KWV Wine team is proud of the achievement and happy to be part of the winery's bulk wine business, plus the direction in which Bonnievale Wines is moving with its wines."

The full complement of Bonnievale Wine Group's Cabernet Sauvignon comprises 58 vineyard blocks varying in size from 0.64ha to 7.17ha. A total of 30% is eight years old and younger, with new plantings underway. The variety makes up the largest planting of the Bonnievale winery's red cultivars and the fifth largest across the portfolio.

"A considerable advantage for the area in producing quality Cabernet Sauvignon is that during the latter part of harvest as well as ripening, the day temperatures are enough for optimal physiological ripening of grapes, but the gradually cooling nights have a significant cooling effect on vineyards and fruit," says Bonnievale Wine Group viticulturist Sakkie Bosman.

"A cornerstone of Bonnievale's success is the good and close relationship between producers and the wine team," Sakkie adds. "Considering that wine is made in the vineyard, much credit goes to growers who deliver the style and quality required."

The Bonnievale Wine Cellar was established in November 2006 after a three-way merger of Bonnievale, Merwespont and Nordale wineries, sparking more than a decade of growth for its member wineries.

Then, in December 2018, a merger with Wandsbeck Wines added diversity of cultivars, style, and terroir, and created the Bonnievale Wine Group.

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