Produced from one of the most spectacular single vineyards in the Cape winelands, I was fortunate enough to visit this special site in March 2023 just as winemaker Rudger van Wyk was preparing the Oude Nektar 2019 for release in the local South African market. I am of course a big fan of the Oude Nektar 2015 and 2017, and now in its sixth vintage post replanting after the vineyard was destroyed by fire in 2009, the 2019 is beginning to show the true potential of this high-altitude Jonkershoek Valley vineyard. Having tasted the phenomenal 2017 again recently, this 2019 is certainly a vintage that will rival the great 2017 bottling which is starting to close down for a few years of slumber.
The 2019 is an expressive blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Petit Verdot (a small barrel selection of non-Oude Nektar estate grown Petit Verdot was blended into the wine) from clones 169 and 23, planted on 101-14 rootstock, yielding 5.5 tons of fruit per hectare.
Based around the highest elevation vineyard on the estate, which at 550m is arguably one of Stellenbosch’s highest Cabernet vineyards, the Oude Nektar site has very stoney decomposed granitic soils, and an ideal aspect toward the afternoon sun. Although this vineyard gets a cooling breeze, it averages 45 minutes more sunlight each day which allows for a slower ripening period. This 2019 blend was matured for 20 months in French oak barrels (70% new) before being bottled with no fining and no filtration.
Stark Conde Oude Nektar Cabernet Sauvignon 2019, WO Jonkershoek Valley, 13.5% Abv.
There is no doubting that the Oude Nektar 2015 and 2017 were soaring creations of note. But when you taste the 2019 block buster from Rudger van Wyk, you realise that this is yet another epic wine where the vintage and vineyard held hands to give the winemaker something really very special to work with. The aromatics are classical and beautifully straight laced with notes of rose petals, violets, pencil shavings, grilled herbs, black berries and raspberries bursting to the fore before hints of smoky fireplace embers, sweet tobacco leaf, iodine and graphite nuances. An intense full-bodied palate is simultaneously lithe and light on its feet with a striking elegance and a vibrant core of earthy black currant and black cherry fruits embraced by silky soft powdery tannins. An impressively regal Cabernet Sauvignon with a sensual core of fruit, bright integrated acids and a supple, harmonious saline finish. A beautiful wine with class written all over it. Drink from 2025 to 2045+. (Only 3,275 bottles produced.)
(Wine Safari Score: 97+/100 Greg Sherwood MW)
The Stark Conde wines are exclusively imported into the UK by Museum Wines. The Oude Nektar 2019 is available on limited allocation by special request. Contact Daniel@museumwines.co.uk for further information. Retail price is circa £60pb.