The Laurence Graff Reserve 2009
Diamonds are forever……the title of one of the most exciting and mystical Bond movies depicting the lavish lifestyle of 007 and his enemies in their futuristic world. It’s a great story from creator Ian Fleming. Diamonds, however, have been the real-life success story of Mr Laurence Graff, Chairman of Graff Diamonds International, who in 2003 bought the beautiful Delaire Wine Estate outside Stellenbosch.
The location of the farm on the crest of the Helshoogte Mountain pass is unique and offers panoramic views of the valleys below with backdrops of the mountain ranges looking towards Franschhoek. The high altitude vineyards on the farm offer excellent soils for the vines which also benefit from the cool sea breezes.
Laurence Graff’s ambition was to turn the estate into a premium winery along with a top restaurant and boutique hotel and so in 2009 the Delaire Graff Estate, after a complete rebuild, it was re-opened and the hotel and spa were completed in 2010.
The restaurant, designed by London architect David Collins, houses artworks by some of South Africa’s finest contemporary artists. These works were chosen by Graff who is a major collector of contemporary art. The Mediterranean-type cuisine created by executive chef Christian Campbell, offers delicious, fresh and vibrant dishes using local produce and are suited to the wines from Delaire.
Morné Vrey, Delaire’s passionate and energetic winemaker, is producing excellent wines from his state-of-the-art cellar which must be one of the most advanced cellars in the southern hemisphere.
Morné’s philosophy with winemaking is “let the grapes do the talking, never stop trying new things and play the right cards at the right time during the winemaking process, to end up with something great.” With both local and international experience there is no doubt that Morné is achieving this at Delaire.
However, Morné has always had a dream of producing an iconic claret-style wine from the estate and this he has finally accomplished from red varieties harvested from the outstanding 2009 vintage.
While we tasted through the 2009 vintage barrels, it became clear that Morné’s dream of producing something extraordinary has become a reality. The 2009 vintage, often thought of as the best of the millennium, produced Cabernet Sauvignon of unsurpassed quality. After the final blend of 92 percent Cabernet Sauvignon and eight percent of Bordeaux varieties, Morné created Delaire Graff’s flagship wine, The Laurence Graff Reserve 2009.
The wine was produced from grapes that originated from a 12-year-old vineyard on the estate. They were hand-picked and sorted. Whole berry fermentation and basket pressing ensured gentle extraction of fruit. The wine was matured in predominantly new French oak barrels for 15 months and a rigorous selection process followed identifying only the best five barrels out of 60.
The selected barrels were allowed to mature for an additional five months and thereafter blended with an additional eight percent of Bordeaux varietals to enhance the mid-palate, weight and texture. Only 1370 bottles of The Laurence Graff Reserve 2009 were produced. Every bottle is beautifully packed in an elegant wooden box and with a price tag of R1650.00 per bottle I imagine its buyers will be the serious wine collector and I am sure it will also find a place in the cellars of fine dining establishments.
The wine is full-bodied having savoury rich blackberry flavour along with lingering plums on a well-rounded and silky finish.
The complexity will allow the collector to mature the wine for at least another 10 years when the integrated flavours will be at their very best!
At the launch we enjoyed the wine with slow-cooked lamb shoulder, potato pavé, broad bean velouté prepared by Christian Campbell. Because the wine excelled so well both with the food and on its own, it means I am going to have to find a way to buy a few bottles before it sells out!
Expect to pay: R1650.00