All about Cabernet Franc…

One of our biggest success stories on the farm is when we decided to experiment with creating a single vineyard selection Cabernet Franc.

I never thought in my wildest dreams that my Saartjie Cabernet Franc will ever be named as one of the best in the country. So was absolutely blown away when I received news that my Saartjie Cabernet Franc 2017 was awarded a Top 6 spot at this year’s Cab Franc challenge. Ranking alongside some of the top wine producers South Africa has to offer.

When I decided to become a winemaker, I vowed to produce wines that could be enjoyed by a diverse group of wine lovers. I wanted my hand-crafted art to bring people together and to be the reason for happiness around the dinner table. You know, even for those rare occasions when wine is the only thing that will make you feel less sad.  So, to receive a mail to inform you that you have won an award… One of the greatest feelings in the world!!! It makes you forget about all the hard work you put into making wine, even though you absolutely love what you do!

Cabernet Franc is definitely one of my favourite wines to make so just a little info on this amazing varietal. Cabernet Franc originated in France. Records date back to the end of the 18th Century, although it was planted in Loire long before that time!  Across the world, Cabernet Franc is now one of the twenty most widely planted grape varieties. Cabernet Franc derives from its parent grapes, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Carménère.  So, there are similarities to these grape varietals

In 2004, we planted a 1000 Cabernet Franc vines on the farm and in 2008, started experimenting with Cabernet Franc as a single varietal. Bottling only one 225 L barrel and using the rest in our big Bordeaux Blend. Slowly but surely producing more and more as the popularity grew each year.

With the vines at Hillcrest situated on the slopes facing the Atlantic Ocean and being about 250 metres above sea level. The Cabernet Franc that we produce boasts with amazing structure and beautiful aroma compounds. Hints of crushed chalk and floral fields hits your nose at first smell with lovely spice and black current flavours to follow soon after. All of these aromas blast in your mouth with a subtle tannin structure and lasting after taste. Definitely the perfect wine to enjoy with food or just because!

I absolutely love Cabernet Franc and I will never stop striving to always produce top quality Cabernet Franc!!!

Cheers to Cabernet Franc…


Arno Smith


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