As I penned the finishing touches to my tasting notes on the De Toren Z 2018, an email from the estate fortuitously popped into my inbox announcing that the highly rated De Toren Z 2017 vintage was about to run out! But fear not! The 2017 might have been the highest rated Z vintage to date, but the 2018 is a more than worthy follow up expression.
The 2018 vintage was much smaller than average. Extreme drought, which some considered the worst in a hundred years, made the growing season particularly difficult. A cold winter saw bouts of damaging frost which reduced yields early in the season. When the summer did come bringing the usual heat, it also brought the drought and water shortages. Although, one advantage of the dry weather was that it helped prevent the spread of vineyard diseases. However, despite the tough conditions and hugely reduced harvest, some very good wines like the De Toren Z were made.
De Toren Z 2018, WO Stellenbosch, 14.72% Abv.
2.5 g/l RS | 5.1 g/l TA | 3.55 pH
A blend of Merlot: 54%, Cabernet Franc: 17%, Cabernet Sauvignon: 12%, Malbec: 12% and Petit Verdot: 5%. Always an expressive and more opulent blend, this De Toren Z 2018 combines the rich, fleshy, exotic plummy characters of Merlot with the more structured, black fruited nuances of prime Stellenbosch Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine displays lofty aromatics of raisined black cherries, wet tobacco, damson plums and dusty graphite with a sweet sandalwood kiss. The palate is rich and generous with a well honed balance, a full and broad mouthfeel and seductive notes of mocha-laced blueberry, graphite and vanilla pod spice. This characteristically dark horse will undoubtedly challenge the established thinking that Cabernet Sauvignon must lead. The Merlot driven De Toren Z blend is certainly one of the great revelations of the past decade of South African premium red winemaking delivering pure hedonistic palate pleasure with a right bank Bordeaux philosophy. Drink from release and over the next 8-10+ years. (RRP In UK circa £39pb.)
(Wine Safari Score: 94/100 Greg Sherwood MW)