Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

There's Heaven in Helderberg

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

There's Heaven in Helderberg

Article excerpt


HELDERBERG - remember the name. That's because Helderberg Winery Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 is something special and it's reduced to PS7.99 in Marks and Spencer until Valentine's Day.

I'm not normally a sucker for wine labels but the packaging on this South African red, made by acclaimed winemaker Max Kent at Stellenbosch producer Boekenhoutskloof, is a work of art - as is the bottle's contents.

Beneath the simple but classy black and white label, lies a cabernet sauvignon of finesse and depth - which scooped a silver during the first round of judging at this year's International Wine Challenge.

The excellent nose is akin to a good claret - bursting with the grape's characteristic blackcurrant aromas supported by cherry and vanilla. The taste is equally impressive and beautifully balanced with oak complementing the intense dark fruit flavours.

There's blackcurrant and plum along with vanilla, spice, herbs and just the right amount of acidity and tannin that will allow this wine to mature over the next few years. But it's so good now there's little need to wait.

Last week, I made the case for the rehabilitation of chardonnay - the one time white wine darling of the world. Despite the decade-long backlash, chardonnay remains the second most grown white wine grape.

Cabernet Sauvignon has suffered no such negativity and according to a recent University of Adelaide study is now the world's most planted grape.

Yet it's a relatively modern variety produced by a chance cross-pollination between cabernet franc and sauvignon blanc grapes in 17th-century south west France. The result was an easy to grow, hardy grape that offers a skin-full of flavour and tannin and that's now cultivated in almost every major wine region in the world.

It's blended with merlot and cabernet franc to make Bordeaux's world-famous clarets and it puts the oomph into Italy's Super-Tuscans.

The Helderberg was one of five cabernets of varying styles that I tried this week - along with a cabernet blend and a Piedmont red. …

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