2017 De Toren Fusion V Stellenbosch Red Blend
This is a Bordeaux blend of 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Malbec, 15% Cabernet Franc, 13% Merlot and 5% Petit Verdot.
It has hints of red licorice, black cherry, blackberry, green peppercorn and cedar. Soft as spun silk, with a lingering hint of sweet fruit on the back of the palate, this is a wine that will only improve with age. Decant at least one hour before consumption.
Enjoy with anything off the BBQ or tender game like Leg of Lamb With Garlic and Rosemary.
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De Toren, Stellenbosch: one of the top names from Stellenbosch, and indeed from South Africa, full stop, that has propelled itself to this elevated position in less than 20 years.
In 1994 Emil and Sonette Den Dulk were searching for a special property in the Cape. They came to this spot and, looking out at Table Mountain in the West, across False Bay and east to the Stellenbosch mountains, they knew they had found what they were looking for. Their aim was to create South Africa’s first five varietal Bordeaux blend with a philosophy of gentle winemaking and detailed vineyard practices. 17 years later they would be nominated New World Winery of the year by the Wine Enthusiast magazine.
De Toren has 22ha on the Polkadraai Hills overlooking Stellenbosch at an elevation of 200-400m, benefiting from the cooling South-Eastern wind to form a microclimate perfectly suited to the elegant style they covet. 25 different clones of the five Bordeaux varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot, are matched to 10 different rootstocks and planted across fifteen different soil types. Each variety, clone and rootstock is matched to the soil type to gain as much complexity from the vineyard as possible.
Stellenbosch native Albie Koch is cellar master. Together with winemaker Charles Williams, he is committed to creating wines that are elegant, nuanced, silky soft and true to site. Attention to detail is obsessive: grapes are handpicked in the first two hours of daylight, and immediately taken to a cool room to preserve their flavor and freshness. Only these two hours are used for picking, the rest of the 10-hour harvest workday is spent inspecting and selecting the best grapes for the cellar. Every berry passes through 23 different checkpoints. Carefully controlled drip irrigation ensures that each vine is kept in that precarious state of struggle, allowing for concentrated, full-flavored, small berries to grow. Yields are very low. Each vine produces just over a kilogram of grapes. Before harvest even begins up to 40% of the bunches are removed, to ensure all the vine’s energy goes into producing small and concentrated berries. Using a combination of aerial imaging, detailed chemical analysis, and taste tests, the vineyard is divided up and harvested bit by bit, making sure only perfectly ripe grapes are picked.
Book XVII and Black Lion take the obsession further with even lower yields and their own dedicated winery within a winery.