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From the archive: Stellenbosch: home of Cape Cabernet

Offering a ‘bridging’ style between the structured clarets of the Médoc and the fruity wines of Napa, South Africa’s premier Cabernet Sauvignon region should be world renowned. So why isn’t it? Christian Eedes investigates, and recommends 12 to try...

Just a 50km drive from Cape Town, and with the natural beauty, food, people and cellar doors to rival any wine tourism region on earth, Stellenbosch is the biggest drawcard for wine lovers visiting South Africa. And if the district has a trump card in its varietal deck, then it’s undoubtedly Cabernet Sauvignon. But while Bordeaux, Napa, Margaret River and Coonawarra are synonymous with this noble grape, can the same be said for Stellenbosch?


Scroll down for Christian Eedes’ top 12 Stellenbosch Cabernet Sauvignons to try


For one thing, the region hasn’t been making benchmark Cabernet Sauvignon for that long. Kevin Arnold, cellarmaster of Waterford Estate, situated on the Helderberg, one of Stellenbosch’s most significant mountains, says the 1960s and ’70s were a pivotal time in the variety’s rise to prominence as a premium grape. until then the workhorse grape Cinsault had held sway with the big merchants, being used for everything from rosé and reds, to sweet and fortified wines.


See Christian Eedes’ 12 Stellenbosch Cabernet Sauvignons to try


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