This is the top Bordeaux blend from the luxury lifestyle retreat and wine haven Babylonstoren, an hour outside of Cape Town.I was sent this wine by Milly Wood of the Somerset Wine Company and it is a genuine tour de force. I am naturally wary of heavy bottles, numbered labels and the like, but it was clear as the very first molecules of scent triggered my olfactory system that this is a noble creation.
Made from 46% cabernet sauvignon, 18% merlot, 15% petit verdot, 12% cabernet franc and 9% malbec, this "Bordeaux blend" is one that all of the big boys in South Africa have a go at. Most overshoot the target with high-tone oak, heavy-handed extraction and heightened alcohol levels. This wine ducks all of these excesses with exquisite balance, mellow tones and perfect integration of tannins and oak. But what really impresses, other than the value (which, compared with Bordeaux, is incredible), is the flavour.
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There is no trace of the burnt rubber tang that haunts many South African reds. In its place the fruit is sensational. This fruit is tended by specialist viticulturists, in the same way that they tend their stunning kitchen and formal gardens. There is no substitute for epic fruit and this is why Nebukadnesar is such a wondrous wine.
Matthew Jukes is a winner of the International Wine & Spirit Competition's Communicator of the Year (MatthewJukes.com).
Matthew Jukes has worked in the UK wine business for well over three decades and during this time has written 14 wine books.
Matthew regularly lectures, judges, speaks at wine conferences and runs masterclass tastings for both corporate and private clients all over the world. Matthew is also the creator of his ground-breaking initiative, the One Day Wine School, an indulgent day of tasting and learning first performed in 2006.
He has been the MoneyWeek wine correspondent since 2006 and has written a weekly column for the Daily Mail’s Weekend Magazine since 1999. His four highly-acclaimed, annual wine reports – the Burgundy En Primeur Report, the Bordeaux En Primeur Report, the Piemonte Report and the 100 Best Australian Wines – are published on his website, www.matthewjukes.com.
Matthew is one of the world’s leading experts on Australian wine and, with Brisbane-based wine writer Tyson Stelzer, runs an annual competition in Australia to find ‘The Great Australian Red’. He was made Honorary Australian of the Year in the UK at the 2012 Australia Day Foundation Gala dinner.
Matthew is a winner of the International Wine and Spirit Competition's Communicator of the Year Trophy. His thoughts, recommendations and tastings notes are followed very closely by the wine world at large.
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