The classic wine grape Cabernet Sauvignon is thought to be the offspring of a red (Cabernet Franc) and a white (Sauvignon blanc) grape variety.
Words by Greg Landman. Photography by Jurie Senekal.
A group of wine lovers recently delved a bit deeper into this discovery at a tasting and blending presented by Nederburg cellar-master, Andrea Freeborough. Considered the world’s most renowned grape variety for the making of top-quality red wine, Cabernet Sauvignon has long been associated with France’s famous Bordeaux wine region, with the first major plantings dating to the 1800s.
“The extremely high likelihood that the parentage of Cabernet Sauvignon is in fact the grape varieties Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc was discovered in 1996 by a research group at the University of California at Davis, led by Carole Meredith and John Bowers. They speculated that it might have simply been a product of spontaneous crossing of the two grape varietals from adjacent vineyards via wind pollination,” Freeborough explained.
To show the difference between the parent varieties, as well as the influence of terroir on the flavour profiles of the wines, guests were offered two Cabernet Franc 2016 tank samples to taste, one from the Stellenbosch region and the other from Paarl. Two distinct Sauvignon Blanc 2017 samples were also included in the tasting line-up. These came from Stellenbosch and Darling vineyards.
After the tasting, guests were randomly divided into teams for an interactive wine blending experience in Nederburg red wine cellar, guided by Freeborough and Nederburg assistant red-wine maker, Heinrich Kulsen. Teams were tasked with creating their own red blends, using three different Cabernet Sauvignons and one Cabernet Franc, all from the 2016 vintage, with each offering a unique spectrum of taste.
The five members of the winning team were Georgio Meletiou from Tsogo Sun, InstaEatsCT’s Dean Horwitz, Jasna Zellerhoff of Fashionjazz.co.za, Shaun Terry of Harbour House and Neill Bryant; each walked away with a fabulous prize. It included an optimally matured bottle of Nederburg II Centuries Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 and a beautiful glass decanter.
After all the action, guests were treated to a relaxing lunch in the historic Nederburg manor house, home of The Red Table restaurant.