Warwick was the first farm in South Africa to produce a single vineyard Cabernet Franc in 1988. This SW facing single vineyard was planted in 1995, making it 19 years old when the 2014 vintage was harvested. The CF 1 clone on 101-14 rootstock planted in this vineyard is known to produce wines with spice and berry aromas with good balance.
The rows are planted at a density of 3100 vines per hectare and are planted along the contours of the slopes. Large decomposed granite rocks set in deep clay soils dominate this site. The vineyard does have drip irrigation, however this is only used after harvest or during exceptionally dry vintages.
The 2014 growing season started with a cold and wet winter, the wet-test winter on record at Warwick. Initial vineyard growth was slow due to late cold fronts in August, followed by cool, wet weather at the beginning of the growing season. The growing season started with bud break, two weeks later than the previous season. Cold, wet weather during early spring caused initial slow shoot growth but picked up after the first warm days in October. Flowering and berry set was even as a result of below normal rain in October. A warm but wet November stimulated growth and extensive canopy management was needed to ensure the vines remained balanced.
The 2014 vintage started two weeks later than normal, but due to a warm February mo n t h the Cabernet Franc vineyards were harvested only one week later than normal.
Grapes where hand harvested on Warwick Estate at sunrise into lug boxes. The cold bunches were destemmed and berries hand sorted before being transferred to a stainless steel tank. Cold soaking for five days preceded fermentation. The tank took 10 days to ferment followed by post fermentation maceration of 14 days. The must was then transferred to stainless steel tanks for malolactic fermentation before barrel ageing.
Aged in 225L French oak barrels for 22 months. 40% new. Coopers – Demptos, Boutes, Tarensaud, Sylvain.
A Cabernet Franc usually has more approachable tannin than a Cabernet Sauvignon, when drunk young. Many people drink our Cabernet Franc on release, but then, please do decant it to allow its personality to truly escape from the bottle. Those who apply more patience will be rewarded with up to 15 years of elegant development in the bottle, with a wonderful savoury character developing that is as delicate as it is powerful.