Thelema Rabelais 2012

thelemaWine of Origin: Stellenbosch

Cellarmaster: Gyles Webb

Winemaker: Rudi Schultz

Background: Thelema Mountain Vineyards bottled their first commercially available wines back in 1987, and has been a success story ever since keeping their first customers returning regularly to stock up as well as gaining many new followers each year. Thelema is nestled on the top of the beautiful Helshooghte Mountains and is a family owned business  (McClean and Webb  Family Trusts) with Gyles Webb and his wine making team overseeing the production of wines from both this estate and the Sutherland range from their Elgin farm. Recently Gyles and his winemaker, Rudi Schultz presented a vertical tasting of their flagship red, the Rabelais. Originally starting out in 2007 as a blend predominantly from Cabernet Sauvignon (80%) with Merlot, Petit Verdot was gradually introduced from the 2008 vintage and from the 2010 vintage replaced the Merlot as the only blending partner with the Cabernet Sauvignon.

Named after the Renaissance monk. Francois Rabelais, who rose to fame for his multi volume novel Gargantua and Pantagruel in the late 1500 hundreds, not only had a love for literature but wine as well! At the end of his novel the character Gargantua offered his aide and confidante, Friar Jean all the country of Theleme by the Loire River and the friar in turn founded an abbey bearing his own mind and thoughts and by doing so instituted a religious order contrary to all others. Rabelais believed this idealized the conception of a new world order encouraging principals of equality and open-mindedness. Thelema’s saying of “Fay ce que vouldras” (do what thou wilt) was inscribed on one of the abbey’s cornerstones as a reminder of Rabelais belief in the responsible participation in God’s community on earth…..and ideal closely shared by all at Thelema with their goal to make the best possible wines unique to their farms.

The 2012 vintage is from 80% Cabernet Sauvignon with 20% Petit Verdot and after fermentation the wine was matured for 20 months in 225litre French Oak barrels (80% first fill) prior to bottling.

Result: Deep crimson in colour, with aromas of black berries and ripe plum with hints of savoury tomato leads onto the palate where you experience the full, rich silky black fruit flavour along with lovely minerality leading to a well-defined finish.

When to drink: now till 2024

Drink with what: Spiced Barbequed Lamb ribs!

Expect to pay: R448.00

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