The 4th Cabernet Franc Challenge once again highlighted quality wines produced by some of South Africa’s most passionate winemakers.  Showcasing all price classes and styles, the range will suit discerning palates and satisfy every type of wallet. 52 wines were entered in this year’s Challenge.  The awards ceremony took place on 16 April at Franschhoek Estate and regular star performer in this competition, Holden Manz Estate.

The judging panel was once again headed by Cape Wine Master and international wine judge, Christine Rudman who commented; “The panel was in complete agreement that the line-up of wines showed an improvement on last year, an astonishing quality jump on what was already at a high standard, resulting in a record number of Golds being awarded. Of particular note was the lithe elegance, the harmony and balance of the wines, with careful use of oak. Despite showing great presence and being impressively complex and multi-layered, they had enough succulence to make them delicious to drink even young. Yet the vintage class showed just how well they could age.”

The Top 6 wines for this year’s competition are in alphabetical order:  Hillcrest Saartjie Cabernet Franc 2017, Holden Manz Cabernet Franc 2017, Lisha Nelson Cabernet Franc 2017, Mulderbosch Vineyards with their 2015 and 2016 Cabernet Francs and Raats Dolomite Cabernet Franc 2016.

The Top 6 will be exclusively available from Wine of the Month Club as a mixed pack after the awards are made public.

The Top 3 Blends were Landskroon Cabernet Franc/Merlot 2017, Morgenster Lourens River Valley 2012 and My Wyn Les Grandes Horizontales 2015.  The Vintage Category winner is Ormonde Private Cellar Ondine Cabernet Franc 2014.

From the 2018 Challenge onwards, the panel selected a Value winner, a wine which offers the best value for money and this year it goes to Bushmanspad Estate Cabernet Franc 2015, which retails at R130 per bottle.

Continuing her summary of this year’s judging experience, Christine said;  “The majority of the wines came from the 2015 and 2016 vintages, both acknowledged as particularly good for red wine. As in previous years, Stellenbosch supplied most of the Golds, just under half, which is understandable as it has the most Cabernet Franc plantings. The rest came from Franschhoek, Paarl, Wellington, Elgin, Darling and Robertson. “

The Top 6 Challenge winners can be tasted at this year’s Cabernet Franc Carnival which takes place at Avontuur Estate on Saturday, 18 May.  Christine Rudman will present three tutored tasting sessions , which must be pre-booked via the Carnival ticket site as only 20 seats are available per session.  For more information about the Carnival and the tasting sessions visit

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