International businessman Johann Rupert’s model wine-enterprise, named for his late brother, has 18th-century Franschhoek estate L’Ormarins as its mountain-silhouetted home. The venture encompasses an internationally awarded sextet of brands, and visitor attractions such as the 100+ year retrospective Franschhoek Motor Museum, linked to two tasting venues by bespoke trams. Grapes are sourced from the venture’s prime vineyards in Darling, Swartland, Elandskloof and the home farm, as well as other significant sites including old-vine parcels around the winelands. Vinified in custom, dedicated facilities such as the Cape of Good Hope Cellar, equipped with on-trend, amphora-shaped Italian concrete tanks. The team’s commitment to incremental improvements in both the vineyards and cellar is reaping rewards in the bottle.
Cleverly crafted 2018 gets its wide range of aromas & flavours from 3 different pickings of the Elandskloof vineyard & various yeast strains, its breadth & weight from six months on the lees, touch of sugar. Shade more impressive than 2017 (4 stars, 88 pts).
Still dark & intensely fruity after 6 years in bottle, with sweet vanilla from 100% new oak well integrated & adding to its charm, 2013 cab, cab franc & merlot blend (42/32/26) steps up on elegant but less well-knit 2011 (4 stars, 88 pts). 2012 untasted.
Lighter styling & less concentration in 2016 than 2015 (4 stars, 89 pts), & all the better for it. Icing sugar & strawberry candyfloss nuances, bone-dry finish, older oak supporting sweetly ripe but delicate fruit. From dryland bushvines in Swartland.
Exceptional 2013 truer to variety than ripe & brooding 2012 (4.5 stars, 90 pts), has franc’s lovely leafiness combined with plush fruit & impressively crafted tannic frame, all-new French barrique ageing effortlessly absorbed. Will reward decade-plus in the cellar. Wholeberry fermented & unfiltered, as all these except Optima. Also in 1.5 & 3L.
Modern, ripe but deftly extracted, 2014’s dense fruit is still tightly wrapped in fine tannins, finish is pleasingly dry. Naturally fermented Franschhoek grapes, like 2012 (93 pts). 18-24 months oaking (as all these), 90% new, gives structure for 10+ years cellaring. 2013 untasted. Also in 1.5 & 3L.