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08 Nov 2019
Posted by Wade


The second in Wade Bales’ ground-breaking Regional Series, the Stellenbosch Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 has just been awarded South Africa’s most sought-after accolade: John Platter’s 5 Stars.

The pioneering collaboration between 5 iconic Stellenbosch producers, each winemaker brought their best Cabernet and blended them together to create the ultimate expression of the Stellenbosch Region.

In Platter terms, 5 Stars equates to a rating of 95 or more points on the 100 scale and is thus considered “Superlative: a South African classic”.


The five winemakers are all from iconic Stellenbosch properties: Abrie Beeslaar of Kanonkop; Louis Strydom of Ernie Els wines, José Conde of Stark-Condé, Morné Vrey of Delaire-Graff and Nico van der Merwe, all at the top of their game and amongst the best craftsmen of Cabernet in the country.

Championing the project was Wade Bales, a wine négociant for more than 25 years who set them the goal to create a world class wine which best showcases the signature style of the region – in this case Cabernet Sauvignon from Stellenbosch.

Why? “In my view South African wine has been underrated and undervalued for years,” Bales said. “I wanted to be a part of changing that perception, of helping a broader audience understand the quality that our winemakers are capable of and making international consumers realise that South African wine doesn’t automatically belong in the  ‘cheap and cheerful’ category.

“I felt we needed to reposition our offering so that our wines can stand – proudly – shoulder-to-shoulder with any of the best wines in the world.”

Bales pointed out that the world’s greatest wines have a strong regional focus: New Zealand’s Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon from California’s Napa Valley, Cabernet blends from Bordeaux and Pinot Noir from Burgundy in France.

And that is how the collaboration occurred: the winemakers selected their best barrel samples and then – through rigorous screening, tasting and blending – created and bottled a single wine which best expresses the essence of the region.

Not much convincing was needed to get them to participate. All were involved in the meticulous selection and blending process, tasting multiple blends before consensus was reached. And since winemaking is often a solo pursuit, more than one of them commented positively about the cooperative spirit of being part of a team effort.

But they weren’t the only ones.

Greg Sherwood, Master of Wine, wrote the following tasting note for the Stellenbosch Cabernet Sauvignon 2017, scoring it an impressive 94/100 and describing it as a “new and exciting addition to the world of top Stellenbosch Cabernet Sauvignon”:

“This wine shows the vibrancy and intensity of the superb 2017 vintage. It is positively brimming with youthful aromas of sweet sandalwood, violets, Christmas cake, sun raisined black berries and a touch of sweet chew tobacco. The acids are crunchy and fresh, framing the sweet red and black bramble berry fruits in a confident fashion. Fabulous dusty Cabernet Sauvignon typicity that is seamlessly blended to offer up a very fine example from multiple Stellenbosch terroirs. However much I like this wine now, you just know that it’s going to be so much better in five to six years time. Buy now and pop in your cellar. A really delightful wine.”

Wade Bales, the five winemakers and the Platter Guide all believe that the Stellenbosch Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 is a South African classic that the country can be proud of and which can take its place at the international table, without being underrated or overlooked.

6 Bottle Collectors Wooden Box R2700  (R450 per bottle)

Limited to 12 bottles per customer.