This elegant red wine displays a fabulous brightness and a weightless concentration of red and black berry fruits that are embroidered with classical fragrant notes of red cherry, rose petals, violets and marzipan underpinned by mouth-watering acidity.
Indeed all the amazing old historical South African red wines of the 1950s and 1960s exploited this incredible synergy between the elegance, finesse and lithe, supple purity of Cinsault and the plushness, power, flesh and textural concentration of the Cabernet Sauvignon. Once these varieties join hands in union, the whole is immediately incrementally greater than the sum of its individual parts. Having tasted and reviewed every wine Ian has ever made, this incredible Oupa Willem 2018 release represents a new pinnacle of quality in the next chapter of Naude Family Wines. Drink now or cellar for 20+ years. Wine Safari Score: 96/100 Greg Sherwood MW
CLIMATE / SEASON
The 2018 harvest had numerous challenges and resulted in one of the smallest crops in more than a decade. This was because of the prolonged drought – the worst in over 100 years – accompanied by water restrictions and frost damage early in the season. This also meant that winter arrived later, but it was cold enough to break through the dormancy. The fluctuation of temperature was also noticeable from day to night, which also impacted the winemaking. The harvest happened mid to end April instead of end March/beginning April, leaving us winemakers in anticipation for a further 14 days or so.
The dry weather had some advantages as vines were healthier, with little or no pests and diseases. The berries started to bud much later and were much smaller than usual, which affected the total tonnage of harvested grapes. This led to smaller, more refined, more concentrated winemaking and intense flavours. We also noticed the uneven flowering and berry set was common due to the windy conditions, cold periods and precipitation in most of the areas. After slow shoot growth initially, vines picked up the pace as temperatures rose towards the end of November. Although December and January were hot, with temperatures reaching 35°C, none of the usual heat waves were present.
The rest of the growing season and harvest were notably cooler than normal. By the end of February, the nights became cooler, which was beneficial for colour and flavour formation in the cultivars that ripen later in the season. Vineyards were overall healthier, berries were overall more concentrated, and the wines made from this vintage more intense and unique due to the drought and poor weather conditions. This was a vintage that won’t soon be forgotten.
Total crop size: 2018 was 15% lower than in 2017.
WINEMAKING & VINIFICATION
Oupa Willem was my Grandfather. I never had the opportunity to meet him, but since a young age, others in my family have told me so many wonderful stories about him that I felt as though I knew him. One of my fondest tales about Oupa Willem was his favourite saying: his horse and dog always came first and the rest of the world second.
I have wanted to make a Cape Heritage blend where the cultivars were Cinsault and Cabernet Sauvignon for a long time. I have tasted and enjoyed many of these blends that date back to the ’60s / ’70s. They are still drinking beautifully and ageing gracefully. I believe we are losing out on our heritage by not sticking to these proven classic wines.
After making this blend, I wanted to give it a story and a character to personalise it. And my mind kept going back to Oupa Willem. I believe his spirit and his stories are inherent in this wine, and I hope he would be proud to know that.
Cinsault: 80% Cabernet Sauvignon: 20%
AGEING POTENTIAL 15+ Years