One of Nederburg’s newly released apex wines, the Private Bin Two Centuries Cabernet Sauvignon 2018, is an expression of two clear priorities for the winery, says cellar-master Samuel Viljoen. “It’s aromatic, lithe and graceful but with considerable gravitas. More than that, it is emblematic of a new level of attention, not just in the cellar, but the vineyards, too.”
The first of these priorities is the stronger accent Nederburg is giving to Cabernet Sauvignon. “It was a natural progression. When we began consolidating the range, we looked at what we were doing best. Cabernet Sauvignon constitutes a big part of that. It’s the cellar’s hero grape now, and of course, this is our hero wine.”
The second is the focus on closer detailing in the vineyards and the cellar, thanks to ongoing investment in precision farming.
Both priorities, he believes, are yielding tangible benefits. “This wine, for example, scored 95/100 at the 2022 Decanter World Wine Awards and earned a gold medal at the 2022 The Drinks Business Global Cabernet Sauvignon Masters. It’s also eliciting very positive comments from tasters locally and abroad.”
He adds that a dose of good old fashioned, back to basic multi-crop farming has also proved highly beneficial.
“We’ve been cover cropping in the vineyards for many years now to build soil health and biodiversity. It helps reduce evaporation and regulate soil and ambient temperatures. It also helps to fix nitrogen, aerate, moisturise, and enrich the soil.
Nederburg and many of its close network of specially selected supplier growers sow oats, lupins, fava beans and vetch, amongst other crops. They are finding healthier soils that lead to more abundant cover crops, bring more beneficial insects that act as natural insecticides and pesticides.
“Quite simply, when you start with really healthy fruit enriched by life-giving soils, you begin from a better place.”
Grapes for this hand-harvested wine were sourced from two top-notch vineyard blocks, each with a track record for delivering outstanding fruit. One is a dryland vineyard in Philadelphia that is cooled by summer afternoon sea breezes, making for slow, balanced ripening. The other is on the mid-level slopes of Simonsberg Mountains in Simondium and produces intensely flavoured, small-berried but loose-bunched grapes.
Both are established in decomposed granite soils that have proved excellent for root development and that have lent a precision and elegance to the wine, he contends.
Each block was vinified separately. The assemblage spent 28 months in small French new wood.
A limited-edition offering, with only 2477 bottles available, the Private Bin Two Centuries Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 can be purchased through specialist retailers, selected wine bars and restaurants. In South Africa, it can also be accessed via https://store.nederburg.com/ or https://www.vinoteque.co.za/, and internationally via a network of agents (visit http://www.nederburg.com to view details).