2013 Vilafonté "Series M" Bordeaux Blend Paarl (Elsewhere $70)

SKU #1324995 95 points James Suckling

 This is a wine that shows an ethereal smokiness as well as herbs, oyster shell, jasmine and sweet spices. Sweet blackberry fruit. The palate is velvety and so elegant, mingling between peppery charcuterie and freshly picked forest fruits. Wonderful now. A blend of 45% malbec, 34% merlot and 21% cabernet. Why wait?

91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 The 2013 Series M is a blend of 45% Malbec, 34% Merlot and 21% Cabernet Sauvignon, and matured for 20 months in 17% new oak - the sixth year in the row that the leading grape variety has alternated. I much prefer the nose on the 2013 than the 2012: much more control and finesse, great detail and fine mineralité developing with aeration. The palate is medium-bodied with the Malbec very expressive and lending to Argentinean flair. There is good structure here, touches of spice sprinkled over the finish and a little surliness that will be abraded by time in bottle. Give it 4-5 years.

90 points Wine Enthusiast

 A blend of 45% Malbec, 34% Merlot and 21% Cabernet Sauvignon, there are some upfront notes of game, leather and cured meat that add interest to the black plum and cherry core. The palate is plush and broad, but not flat, with soft, approachable tannins and pleasant dark berry and plum flavors that are lifted by ample acidity. Drink now - 2020.

K&L Notes

Winery Notes: "Series M takes its name from the Malbec and Merlot which predominantly define the style of this wine. Series M is sensuous wine with a firm core structure for aging. Malbec provides its black fruit aromas and fleshy texture, Merlot adds softness and red fruit aromas, and Cabernet Sauvignon provides structure. This blend is 45% Malbec, 34% Merlot & 21% Cabernet Sauvignon. Deep red and black fruit leads this Malbec driven vintage of the Series M. A nose of blackberries, black cherries, raspberry and beef bouillon is followed by balsamic, dried flowers and chocolate with a beautiful perfume undertone. The palate is soft and inviting with fantastic weight. Vilafonté is the first American and South African joint wine-making venture. This ground-breaking project is a partnership between Mike Ratcliffe (Warwick Estate) and Zelma Long and Dr. Phil Freese (of Mondavi fame - two of the most heralded grape growers to ever come out of Napa Valley). The name Vilafonté is derived from the primary soil type of the 100-acre estate. Recorded as one of the oldest soil types in the world at 1.5 million years old, this character forms the foundation of these wines The age of the soil is important as it is deeply evolved and has been stripped of much of its inherent capacity, that encourages smaller vines, lower yields and highly concentrated fruit. Vilafonté produces only 2 wines: Series C (a Cabernet driven Bordeaux blend) and Series M (a Malbec/Merlot based Bordeaux blend)."

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Price: $49.99
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South Africa

- Now that it has adopted a multi-racial attitude, and now that the world has embraced its government and its exports, South Africa has become a major wine producer. Unfortunately, South Africa has had a difficult time joining the ranks of competitive winemaking countries. During the anti-apartheid sanctions in the 1980s, South African wine was dealt the huge blow when it was removed from the international market, and for political reasons it was quite difficult for wine producers to market wine to the black majority. Things are finally looking up for the wine industry here, and quality has never been higher. South Africa produces a grape cloned from Pinot Noir and Cinsault, called Pinotage, which is the country's unique varietal. Chenin Blanc (known as Steen) makes up one-third of its vines. Cabernet, Merlot, Pinot Noir and Shiraz are becoming increasingly popular as are Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay.
Alcohol Content (%): 14