The 5th Cabernet Franc Challenge impressed with 52 entries (the same number as in 2019), with many wines entered by previous participants and a few new wineries who took the plunge this year. Winners were announced in the Top 6 Category, the Blends Category and the Vintage Category. A Best Value Winner was also again selected by the organisors. Thirty-Six additional Gold medals were awarded across all categories as well.
The Top 6 winners (in alphabetical order) are: Anthology Cabernet Franc 2017, David Finlayson Camino Africana Cabernet Franc 2017, High Constantia Cabernet Franc 2012, Rainbow’s End Limited Release Cabernet Franc 2018, Rietvallei JMB Cabernet Franc 2016 and Whalehaven Cabernet Franc 2015
Cape Wine Master and head of the judging panel since the start of the competition, Christine Rudman commented about the geographical spread of entries; “Once again Stellenbosch, with the most plantings, dominated, but Franschhoek and Paarl had a significant number of entries. The rest came from Robertson, Darling, Elgin, Bot River, Constantia, Cape Town/Durbanville, Wellington and Coastal. Of the 31 producers represented, 13 entered more than one wine, showing a growing Cabernet Franc specialisation.”
The vintage winner for this year is My Wyn Cabernet Franc 2012 from Franschhoek, which was supported by excellent Gold Medal entrants in this category. The panel was particularly impressed by the 6 older wines (vintages 2012 – 2015), proving just how well Cabernet Franc with good credentials can age. The wines were delicious, in perfect drinking condition, yet still had a cellaring future.
Three winners emerged in the Blends Category. They are Landskroon Paul Hugo Red 2018, Morgenster Lourens River Valley 2011 and Warwick Trilogy 2016. The Best Value Award was given to Ondine Cabernet Franc 2015 by Darling stalwart Ormonde Vineyards, which retails at R115 per bottle.
The judging panel was made up of Christine Rudman, Lizette Tolken, Greg Mutambe, Fiona McDonald and Malu Lambert. Christine explains a bit more about the judging procedure: “Judging out of 100, the panellists were given no origin or vintage information, except being told the category – older wines, blends, main entries. The only discussion permitted was after the tasting, where general comments were asked for.”
“In the main judging category, the panel looked for attributes that define the variety, giving it uniquely its own personality. There were fewer herbaceous notes across the range than in 2019, a reflection of the vintages, mainly 2017, with some 2018 and 2016. The best wines had balance, elegance, suppleness and complexity, showing layers of fruit and tertiary perfumes and flavours,” she commented.
The judging took place at Cab Franc Carnival 2020 sponsor and venue host Vrede en Lust Estate in Simondium on Tuesday, 17 March. The results were independently audited and verified by Cecil Kilpin & Co. The Top 6 can be tasted in two tutored tasting sessions at this year’s Cab Franc Carnival, which takes place at Vrede en Lust Estate on Saturday, 22 August from 11h00-16h00. Tickets for the event and the intimate tutored tasting sessions can be purchased from www.plankton.mobi.