2018 was a warm, dry vintage in the Cape, but Peter-Allan Finlayson has still managed to express freshness and perfume in this impressive Cabernet Franc. Slightly firmer and grippier than previous vintages, it has damson and black cherry fruit, a hint of capsicum and understated wood. 2021-28 92/100 Tim Atkin MW
Gabriëlskloof is a beautiful wine estate located near Bot River in the Overberg region east of Cape Town. It was purchased in 2001 by Bernhard Heyns, who had been on the lookout for the ideal place to plant vines. After planting, his first vintage was in 2009. We felt compelled to add Gabriëlskloof to our list because Peter-Allan Finlayson, Bernhard’s son-in-law, took over as winemaker from the 2015 vintage. The farm has 300 hectares, with 68 hectares planted to vines. The vineyards are farmed sustainably with the aim to move to organic farming in the future.
The fruit for this single vineyard Cabernet Franc is sourced from a mountainside site on the Gabriëlskloof estate. Prevailing southerly winds from the nearby Atlantic Ocean create a cool mesoclimate, promoting complex aromatics and fresh acidity. The vines are planted on Bokkeveld Shale and Table Mountain Sandstone, limiting vigour and resulting in intensely concentrated fruit.
The 2018 vintage was challenging in the Bot River, with drought as the predominant factor leading to smaller yields. The yield was down by 20% from 2017 to 2018. The dry weather throughout the season did have its advantages, as the vines remained healthy, with little or no pests and diseases and improved overall quality.
The fruit was hand-picked into small crates and transferred directly into the cool room, where it remained overnight. 80% of the crop was destemmed, with the remaining 20% left as whole clusters. The wine was fermented with indigenous yeasts and aged in 500-litre barrels for 18 months, with 30% new French oak used.