The second South African Cabernet Franc Challenge has just taken place and the winners were announced at an exclusive function at Avontuur Estate in Stellenbosch on 1 March.

The number of entries increased from 32 in 2016 to 50 in 2017, including 11 wines entered for the “vintage” class as wineries were keen to see how this varietal aged over time.

Cape Wine Master and head of the judging panel Christine Rudman was impressed with the increase in entries:  “This shows that winemakers are taking the varietal seriously and are keen to grow the category and show off their skill.  I would think that just about every producer of Cabernet Franc in South Africa is now represented, which is excellent news!,” she said.

The judging panel had a tough time selecting the Top 6 as the styles were very diverse and the quality was once again outstanding. One vintage winner only was selected as the wine was the clear winner.

As Christine Rudman commented. “An interesting change from the inaugural Challenge in 2016 was the different styles which came to the fore this year. Although the panel loved the wines featuring minerality and “dusty road” characteristics, we also tasted a few upfront and funky examples with loads of red fruit as well as the more varietal-typical wines with classic perfume notes of violets, scrub and red berries.”

The Top 6 in alphabetical order are:  Doolhof Wine Estate Single Vineyard Collection Cabernet Franc 2015, Kaapzicht Cabernet Franc 2014, My Wyn Cabernet Franc 2014, Nelson Wine Estate Lisha Nelson Cabernet Franc 2014, Rainbow’s End Wine Estate Limited Release 2015 and Warwick Estate Cabernet Franc 2013.

The Vintage winner for 2017 is Holden Manz Wine Estate Cabernet Franc Reserve 2012 which formed part of last year’s Top 6.

Wines entered into the challenge were tasted blind by a panel of judges and independently audited by Moore Stephens. The judges were:  Christine Rudman, Samarie Smith, Tinashe Nyamudoka, Mike Bampfield-Duggan and Izele van Blerk.

The Cabernet Franc Challenge Top 6 is now available exclusively from Wine-of-the-Month- Club at R1890.  Visit to place your order and have this impressive selection delivered to your door.  Stocks are limited as many of the wines are produced in small volumes, so order soon.

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