Stellenbosch and its nine wards have basically made Cabernet Sauvignon its very own flagship grape over the past thirty or forty years. Indeed, it is when we open some of these older wines from the 1980’s or 1990’s that we see just how well suited the various terroirs of Stellenbosch are to making premium ageable Cabernet Sauvignon. Within the region, there are undoubtedly a handful of top producers who regularly push the boundaries of quality and finesse and Thelema Mountain Vineyards most definitely falls into this category.
Located high on the slopes of the picturesque Simonsberg Mountain in the heart of Stellenbosch, Thelema Mountain Vineyards can be considered an absolute Cape classic. With vineyards grown at elevations of between 370m and 530m above sea level, Thelema is one of the highest and coolest estates in the area with 100 percent of the fruit used coming from their own vineyards. But 2019 was an unusual year with severe weather fluctuations during bud break and flowering, followed by cool windy conditions which contributed to less and more uneven bunches and certainly smaller berries making for wines with intensity and a surprising amount of elegance at lower alcohol levels.
Thelema Mountain Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 2019, WO Stellenbosch, 13.5% Abv.
1.6g/l RS | 5.6g/l TA | 3.66pH
The 2019 vintage Thelema is a plush, dense offering with dramatic fleshy layers of red and black berry fruits and aromatics that show true Cabernet Sauvignon nuances of red currants, earthy cassis, hints of violets, sweet grilled herbs, sweet tobacco, capsicum and black tea. The nervy herbaceous notes are balanced by fleshy red and black fruits, spicy black plum, sweet yellow capsicum, coffee bean spice and a strong undertone of graphite and stony minerality. Medium bodied with a velvety texture, the wine has plenty of freshly tilled earth savoury complexity, a subtle integrated oak spice and powdery dry tannins on the elegant finish. Still showing plenty of youthful restraint and reserve, this is a classically constructed Stellenbosch Cabernet Sauvignon that will reward at least 10+ years ageing in the cellar before drinking.
(Wine Safari Score: 93+/100 Greg Sherwood MW)