Ernie Els Major Series Cabernet Sauvignon 2017


Red berry fruits billow from the glass with classic cigar notes over elegant crushed dried herbs, black cherry and ripe plums with red cherry freshness. The entry is inviting, fresh with a vibrant youthful energy of bouncy red fruit and an earthy undertow. The tannins are still tight, medium bodied and fresh expressing the crystalline character of the 2017 vintage. As the wine evolves in the glass there is an attractive tension between red and black fruit with a hint of liquorice over a linear focused and dry finish. 


The previous growing season had its challenges, which seemed to roll over into the 2016/2017 growing season with the continuation of the drought. Winter 2016 was quite dry with even less rain than the previous year. Spring was an illusion as we basically went straight into warmer summer days. Bud burst was good due to sufficient soil moisture, but with the warmer spring/summer weather the soil started losing moisture quickly which naturally reduced shoot growth. The vineyard then naturally focuses its energy on developing and ripening the small bunches. Smaller berries led to more concentrated colour and flavour. The dry conditions also led to the vineyards and grapes being very healthy overall. With moderate, but warm days during December and January we saw the start of harvest return to its normal date. The uninterrupted warmth during harvest also helped the bunches reach optimal ripeness while the berries steadily developed its flavours over a slightly longer period of time. The white wines from the 2017 vintage appear astoundingly good, with great structure and good flavours.


The Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot vineyards grow on the warm north-facing slopes of the Helderberg region within the Stellenbosch appellation. The Hutton Clovelly soils contain a high gravel content which offers rich middle palate weight giving this wine exceptional depth and fruit purity. With an altitude of approximately 250 metres above sea level together with the cooling influence of the Atlantic Ocean just 15 kilometres away, this extends the ripening period by up to 3 weeks resulting in lovely phenolic ripeness.


Different hand-picked bunches of the various Cabernet Sauvignon clones, as planted on the estate, arrive at the winery. Great care is taken to ensure that all clones from various block are kept separate. The bunches are sorted, destemmed and berries are sorted again via an optical sorted. The whole berries are fermented in open top tanks. Premium selection grapes from selected parcels within the various clonal blocks are fermented in smaller open fermenters. Intermittent pump-overs and punch downs ensure that right flavours, aromas and tannins are extracted from the berries. All ferments are meticulously monitored during fermentation to ensure the right balance between flavours and tannins are achieved. After primary fermentation some tanks will undergo extended maceration if required. Each clonal batch of Cabernet is maturated separately (micro-vinified) in oak barrels before blending. All these different batches and the various characteristic of the Cabernet clones make up the final blend of Cabernet Sauvignon.


Cabernet Sauvignon 92.6%; Petit Verdot 7.4% Aged for 17 months in 300 litre French Oak barrels (20% new)

Alc 14.43% by Vol.
R.S. 3.2 g/l
T.A. 5.9 g/l
pH 3.63


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