Having built-up a formidable reputation as a winemaker with various brands and wine styles over the past 25 years, David Finlayson from Edgebaston Wines has enough experience to know what he can do best. In terms of producing wine, his life-long connection with Cabernet Sauvignon is proving to deliver his most famous offerings, as recently shown in the Concours International des Cabernets, one of the world’s leading competitions committed to judging this variety and where Finlayson’s Edgebaston Cabernet Sauvignon 2019 won a rare gold medal.
At the most recent edition of the Concours des Cabernets, 223 wines made from Cabernets grapes and from 20 countries were tasted by sommeliers members of the Union de la Sommellerie Française.
“There is something personally rewarding gaining accolades with a grape variety that has been a part of your life for as long as one’s interest in wine has been there,” says Finlayson, who is part of the three-generation Finlayson family that continues to make its mark on the South African wine scene. “Growing up on various Stellenbosch wine farms, it was Cabernet Sauvignon that was always spoken of in revered terms by my grand-father Maurice and his sons Walter (David’s father) and Peter. Going on to study winemaking at Elsenburg and beginning to make wine, I realised at a young age the greatness of Cabernet Sauvignon as a variety, as well as the fact that it comes to the fore magnificently in the diverse terroir offered by the Stellenbosch region.”
Despite the reputation gained with his extensive and diverse range of Edgebaston wines, Finlayson admits to a special affinity for Cabernet Sauvignon. “The aroma of Cabernet fermenting during harvest is pretty much a part of my wine DNA, having been exposed to this from an early age,” he says. Over time and working with the variety you get to know its nuances, its manner and features, as well as those expressions of Cabernet Sauvignon from Stellenbosch which are unique in the wine world.
“That’s the most important thing about winning this gold medal and the Concours des Cabernets – this and other awards give recognition to Stellenbosch Cabernet Sauvignon, a segment of South African wine that has garnered a terrific reputation and with which we can take-on the world.”
Of the award-winning Edgebaston Cabernet Sauvignon, Finlayson says that it is all about terroir, elegance and purity of fruit. “No fancy tricks in the cellar, just let the grapes do the talking,” he says.
The vineyard from which this wine was made grows on Malmesbury Shale set above a deep red clay component. Sorting of bunches was done before destemming into 70-100 hl fermentation tanks. Remontage was twice daily and the various components lay on the skins for between seven and 14 days. The wine was matured for 14 months in French oak comprising a 20% new wood component, the balance made-up of 2nd and 3rd fill components.
With Stellenbosch Cabernet Sauvignon forging ahead as the Cape’s leading red wine offering, the role of legacy and heritage cannot be ignored. As Finlayson has proven, it’s in the genes.
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