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Vilafonte Seriously Old Dirt Cabernet 2019


Today’s wine is a discovery wine, but it’s also becoming something of a cult wine for those in the know. If you don’t know Vilafonte or winemaker Chris de Vries, you’re certainly excused. Before a few weeks ago, I wasn’t familiar with him either. But now that his wines are firmly on my radar, I’m telling you they need to be on yours too. Today’s wine is a great place to start.

The Cape Town born de Vries is a star in the making. This year, with him at the helm, the small private Stellenbosch winery earned the two top awards at the annual International Wine and Spirits Competition, securing both the 2021 Red Wine Producer of the Year award as well as the 2021 Outstanding Wine Producer of the Year. Their star is officially rising at a meteoric rate.

Though their “Series” wines are the big ticket, high priced skus, Master of Wine and Decanter Wine Awards Judge, Greg Sherwood says it’s the Seriously Old Dirt series that is responsible for Vilafonte’s newfound cult status. “The success and popularity of the Seriously Old Dirt label by Vilafonte has undoubtedly been one of the most significant success stories within the South African wine industry over the past 5 years.” He would take his praise one step further though calling it an “incredibly exciting brand that has been crafted with expertise and vision and constructed around the basic principles of accessible structure, youthful intensity and an underlying feel and character of uncompromising quality from premium Stellenbosch and Paarl terroirs”.

Using mainly clippings from their big brothers the Series M and Series C, the Seriously Old Dirt Cabernet blend is 86% Cabernet, and rounded out with plump, juicy Bordeaux varietals that add a lot of richness, depth and a whole lot of flare.

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94 Points (Wines of the Year) Decanter World Wine Awards, 2021
Exciting flavours of sweet mulberry, black plum, cinnamon and cedar. Super fresh and elegant, concentrated yet light on its feet.

93 Points, James Suckling
Aromas of redcurrants and dark earth follow through to a full body with plenty of dark-cherry and berry flavors and a long, flavorful finish. Creamy and round tannins, yet tight and focused. Bark and berry aftertaste. Drink or hold.

92+ Points, Greg Sherwood, MW
This wine casts an attractive plummy purple-black colour and offers up vibrant notes of candied Parma violets, crème de cassis, sun raisined black cherries and hints of blueberry confit with an overlay of graphite and cedar spice. There is a lovely youthful maritime salinity and black liquorice nuance that melts into notes of iodine and Chinese five spice. The palate is medium bodied, fresh and supple but slowly unfurls to reveal a solid frame of creamy mineral tannins, ample Cabernet Sauvignon extract and a long, pleasingly drying grippy structure that is bolstered by salty cassis, taut black orchard fruits, stewed black cherries and hints of complexing bay leaf herbal spice. The 2019 vintage yielded wines with freshness, structural classicism, mineral tension and harmony and this superb new release from Vilafonte speaks honestly of the vintage and continues to fly the flag for premium second wines that offer exceptional quality, value for money and age-ability. Drink this on release with some lovely slow roasted lamb or age for 2 to 3+ years to allow it to open its shoulders further. A great wine for the savvy fine wine drinker.


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