Throughout the world, stories are the threads that link the past to the present, connecting us to one another and to our heritage. These legends are woven together and create the tapestry of our history, rich and varied, both perfect and blemished. This is true for every continent, country, town and community, with each thread contributing to the magnificence of the end product.
Delaire Graff Estate continues to be a source of superb contributions to the vivid heritage of the Stellenbosch region. This week, the Estate unveils its latest gem – a tribute to the region of Banghoek and its deep history, following an exceptional year for Cabernet Franc wines in 2016. The Banghoek 2016 is a love letter to its namesake, showcasing a delicate mélange of history, structure, aroma, tannin and flavour of poised distinction. Graceful and elegant, The Banghoek is a blend of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot and Malbec, the more flirtatious of the noble varietals and an ode to our forebearers’ sense of adventure.
Located on the Helshoogte Pass in the Banghoek Valley, which was once a traditional trading route for the Huguenot settlers, Delaire Graff Estate is positioned below the Botmaskop Peak which formerly served as an essential lookout point in the Banghoek Valley for ships entering Table Bay Harbour.
Derived from ‘De Bange Hoek’ meaning ‘Scary Corner’, the Banghoek Valley is imbued with the spirit of the early pioneers who braved the heights of this mountainous pass to face what lay beyond: a valley inhabited by resident elephants, buffalo, lions and leopards. The audacious spirit of our fore-bearers gave seed to a region rich in viniculture that produces the finest Cabernet Franc in the country. Delaire Graff Estate is situated at a pivotal point within this region which offers an abundant source of legends.
Steeped in history, Delaire Graff has built upon the legacy of the land with sun-drenched vineyards, an unparalleled lodge and spa, award-winning restaurants and flagship boutiques. Each facet of the Estate honours the heritage of the Banghoek and Stellenbosch region. From the Cape Dutch-styled lodges to the French Huguenot-influenced architecture and the isiXhosa- inspired light fittings, colours and design touches, the Estate celebrates the old and new in the most spectacular fashion. Since it opened in 2009, ‘The Jewel of the Cape Winelands’ has become a legend in its own right.
This philosophy is carried through to the wine cellar where traditional winemaking methods and a delicate, handcrafted approach form the foundation upon which winemaker Morné Vrey creates the Delaire Graff portfolio of superlative wines. Grapes are picked by hand before being hand-sorted and basket-pressed for gentle extraction of the fruit. A 450-tonne gravity fed cellar allows for delicate manipulation of the wine during its journey from grape to glass. It is here that legends are made.
Aged in French oak barrels, the soft subtlety of The Banghoek 2016 is balanced by its refined structure. The region’s warm and sunny days are ideal for ripening red wine grapes, allowing them to reach their full aromatic potential. Crisp breezes from the Atlantic Ocean and cool evenings allow the grapes to retain acidity, freshness and tension. The granitic soil creates an environment of little water retention, meaning the vines need to strive to find underground water sources. Through this internal struggle, fewer bunches are produced, resulting in more intense fruit.
The combination of the environment and the soils of Delaire Graff Estate, together with the sensitive interpretation of nature’s assets, is the perfect blend for the creation of legends. Add to this the deep history of the region, Delaire Graff Estate’s pursuit of perfection and a philosophy that celebrates inspired synergies between these various threads and you will find vintages that showcase how extraordinary wines of the Cape can be. A legend in the making, The Banghoek 2016 is thus set to add another golden thread to the rich tapestry of stories for both Delaire Graff Estate and the Stellenbosch wine region. (R1 800 per bottle, cellar door.)
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