Unveiling an Icon
Laurence Graff Reserve 2017
Venerated for the production of the Icon Wine Range, Delaire Graff Estate proudly introduces the 2017 vintage of its flagship claret, the Laurence Graff Reserve.
Delaire Graff Estate – widely recognised as the ‘Jewel of the Cape Winelands’ and named one of the Top 50 Wineries and top in Africa by the World’s Best Vineyards – has consistently confirmed its reputation as a world-class wine producer, having repeatedly achieved First Growth Status from Master of Wine (MW) Tim Atkin, as well as earning notable accolades from the Great Wine Capitals Global Network and World’s Best Vineyards. The estate has achieved top results in an array of significant varietal-specific awards, as well as being nominated by Wine Enthusiast as a Winery Experience of the Year in the Wine Star Awards.
The prestigious Delaire Graff Icon Range strives for a reputation for longevity. From the beginning, these wines are crafted with intentional practice, the vision of perfection deciding every step of the process. This practice demands a restrained hand, a deceptively simple subtlety to the intervention guiding the natural process to find harmony in the wines’ expressive balance. A truly iconic wine, classically elegant yet with a gravitas that pays tribute to its namesake, the Laurence Graff Reserve 2017 stands as the pinnacle of Cabernet Sauvignon.
To Laurence Graff, founder of Delaire Graff Estate, a rough diamond is nature’s legacy, waiting to reveal its tale in the hands of the master craftsman. In much the same way, grapes on the vine hold a story that can only unfold at the hands of a master winemaker whose respect for the heritage of the craft defines his ambition. Executed with patience, careful restraint and clear vision, the Laurence Graff Reserve is testament to its maker’s demand for perfection and its namesake’s passion for the exceptional.
The Cabernet Sauvignon is grown on a single vineyard nestled along the front of the magnificent Delaire Graff Restaurant and Tasting Lounge. Sitting on the crest of the panoramic Helshoogte Pass, the estate enjoys a combination of mountain and maritime influences that allows the Delaire Graff wine team to create richer, more intensely flavoured grapes and finely nuanced wines that are consistently building on the region’s global reputation. Meticulous care is taken during harvest and sorting to ensure only the finest berries are used. This care limits the production size and translates to a wine that continues to exceed all expectations, and which is pre-sold on allocation before the official release date.
Having received five stars from John Platter’s Wine Guide and a near-perfect 98 points from Tim Atkin MW, the Laurence Graff Reserve 2017 is characterised by the year’s perfect growing conditions for Cabernet Sauvignon. So much so that Morné Vrey, winemaker at Delaire Graff Estate, describes it as “an iconic vintage that I will remember as one of the best of my career”.
VINEYARDS & VINIFICATION
Planted in 2001, the vineyard in which the Laurence Graff Reserve grows is expressive of its regionality and lies on the slopes overlooked by Delaire Graff Restaurant and Delaire Graff Wine Lounge. It is the mother block of the French clone 169, known for its softer, more elegant expression of red fruit. For Cabernet Sauvignon, the intriguing earthiness and elegant tannic structure are the hallmark of the Banghoek’s rich ‘bottergrond’ soil. Planted on these lower slopes of the valley where the rich red soils run deep, the vineyard yields smaller berry size with more intensity of flavour. Add to this subtle nuances of mint, remnants of the indigenous fynbos that blanket the mountainside, and one can distinctively identify the fingerprint of the region.
Produced with meticulous care, patience and restraint. Grapes were handpicked at 25.5 balling and hand sorted. Whole berry fermentation and basket pressing ensured gentle extraction of fruit. The wine was matured in 60% new French oak for 18 months. A rigorous selection process identified the five best barrels – one from each of the five coopers used in the Delaire Graff cellar – each barrel bringing forth a specific desired characteristic in the wine.
The nose is characterised by freshness and spice, vanilla pod, dark chocolate and hay aromas. Silky and smooth on entry, the Laurence Graff Reserve has a flinty minerality with subtle tannins and huge length and persistence. Warm aromas of vanilla pod and dark chocolate entice the palate, creating anticipation of the basket of dark remnants of the soil’s identity. Refined and elegant, it is a timeless reflection of the most esteemed of noble varietals.