The winery is led by Rüdger van Wyk – one of the few black men who worked tirelessly to break through into the South African wine industry. van Wyk earned a job as an apprentice for Kanopop and one of South Africa’s greatest winemakers, Abrie Beeslaar. Beeslaar taught van Wyk his tireless approach with the three words he wanted him to focus on most, “excellence, excellence, excellence.”
A few years removed from that apprenticeship, van Wyk is one of those students that quickly became the master. He quickly earned a job working for Jose Conde at his family’s winery. That’s when things started really taking off. He won South Africa’s prestigious “Diners Club Young Winemaker of the Year” honor and has seen his Stark-Conde wines featured in Wine Enthusiast’s ‘Top 100 Wines of the Year’ list and gotten mid-90s from both Parker’s Wine Advocate and Wine Spectator… all before his 30th birthday.
It seems to just be the beginning for Rüdger van Wyk and Stark Conde. Last year, Wine Spectator put the 2017 Stark Conde Cabernet Sauvignon in their Top 100 wines of the year list, a first for the winery and the winemaker with the Wine Spectator. But that wine only had 91 points!
This year, with a much easier growing season and an ideal, bountiful harvest, the sky appears to be the limit. Only one critic has gotten to it so far, and yet the 2018 Cab Sauv already has a 94-point review from Decanter, Europe’s toughest wine critic.
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94 Points, Decanter Magazine
“Reserved and understated with a structured dark berry fruit core palate with vibrant fresh acids and a cool, tart, saline finish.”