CAB Franc Carnival 2019

The 2019 Cabernet Franc Festival took place at the picturesque Avontuur Estate for the fifth year in a row.

The entrance leading to the estate sets an expectation of class and elegance. The horses greet you along the way as well as the beautiful white roses next to the fences sets the ambience.

It is once said that Cabernet Franc is Cabernet Sauvignon’s more elegant and refined cousin, which is why Cabernet Franc deserves a celebration in its own right!

Although Cabernet Franc is known as the “French Grape”, one doesn’t have to go all the way to France to get it. South Africa boasts some exceptional styles of this amazing wine – from 100% Cabernet Franc to Cabernet Franc blends and in some cases even Cabernet Franc Rosé.

Cabernet Franc delivers a rare combination of fruit, spice and herbaceousness on the nose while the palate can accommodate a wide range of flavours, thanks to the structured tannins.

Participating wineries were:  Avontuur Estate,  Bushmanspad Estate, Doolhof, Delaire Graff Estate, Druk my Niet Wine Estate, Hillcrest Estate,  Holden Manz Wine Estate,  Keermont Wines, Landskroon Wines, Morgenster Wine & Olive Estate, Mulderbosch Vineyards,  My Wyn, Nelson Wine Estate, Onderkloof,  Ormonde Vineyards, Raats Family Wines, Rainbow’s End Estate, Spookfontein Wines, The Garajeest, Vrede en Lust and Whalehaven.


Youthful, dark red with perfumed blackcurrants, violets, lead pencil shavings and graphite on the nose. An elegant, slight mineral character is also present. The wine shows great elegance and softness with fine velvety tannins.

Doolhof Wine Estate lies in a beautiful valley between the Famous Bain’s Kloof and the Groenberg Mountains near Wellington. When Settlers first set sight on the Estate in the early 18th Century they noted the many hills and vales and aptly named it Doolhof, which means labyrinth in Afrikaans. Today, this labyrinthine topography is put to use in the placement of our vineyards, thereby taking advantage of the many micro-climates and terroirs which are ultimately expressed in the Doolhof Estate wines.


A concentrated dark ruby in colour, the Avontuur Wine Estate Cabernet Franc treats the nose to subtle floral aromas, with touches of purple fruit and appealing mint. Expect more of the same notes on the medium-bodied palate, which also shows rounded, ripe tannins and shades of spicy oak. It will continue to develop for 7 years after vintage.

Home of Fine Wines, Fast Horses and Gorgeous Food. As you arrive at this family-owned winery and thoroughbred stud farm set against the Helderberg in the quality wine growing area of Stellenbosch, the first things which catch your eye is the view towards False Bay and the green paddocks with their white fencing, filled with elegant race horses.


It has a bright core of juicy red fruit, with integrated fynbos and savoury notes, and a fresh, generous finish. This yields a medium-bodied wine with a bright core of red berries and an integrated fynbos and savoury palate. Fine and fresh tannins, generous length and distinct intensity balance the appealing red fruit of this expressive Cabernet Franc.

This precise vineyard management and the cool Elgin climate ensure perfectly balanced ripening and development of the grape’s natural flavour profile. In the cellar, the wine receives attentive small batch treatment, with judicious maturation in selected oak barrels.


This is a medium to full Cabernet Franc with muscular aftertaste. Raspberries and blackburrants can be found on both nose and mouth for a great fruity finish. An elegant wine character.

Spookfontein enjoys a beautiful setting with some of the best views in the area. Surrounded by natural Fynbos and rocky soil, the vineyards produce unique and rounded wines.  The cool breeze delivered via Walker Bay in the evenings creates wines of a completely different character than those one will find in the winelands. 


This wine is a perfectly balanced blend of Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Deep red wine with complex aromas of plums, violets and spice with a hint of mocha on the nose. This is a soft, rich and full-bodied wine with elegant tannins and dark chocolate. It has a long lingering finish on the palate.

Delicious, smooth, full of rich and wonderful black berries, it is truly a wine made with a huge amount of passion as Lisha made this wine as a tribute to her Father.


This is a wine with complex aromas of blueberries, blackberries and mocha on the nose. It is a massively structured and complex wine with intense flavours of all-spice and liquorice that lingers on the finish. This is one of the Top 6 winners for the 2019 Cab Franc Challlenge.

Nelson’s Creek Wine Estate is situated on the Atlantic seaward side of the Paarl Mountain. This region, known as the ‘Agter Paarl’, can rightfully claim to be one of, if not the best, wine growing region in the world. Lisha Nelson is the eldest daughter of Alan and Marguerite Nelson. The wines are known as “Lisha Nelson Signature Wines”.


Well balanced Rose wine with a crisp acidity and lingering aftertaste complimented by strawberry and delicate floral flavours. Light and refreshing with a crisp natural acidity and sweet lingering aftertaste. It is complimented by strawberry and delicate floral aromas.

A 100% Cabernet Franc Rosé with a beautiful crisp natural acidity and a sweet lingering aftertaste. The Cabernet Franc grapes were harvested at full ripeness. The Rosé juice was removed from the skins after three hours of contact giving the wine it’s elegant soft pink hue. A long, cold fermentation was conducted to preserve the flavours produced by the grapes.


It has a well defined nose of black fruit and touches of bell pepper, quite herbal and more Loire- than Bordeaux-inspired in style. The palate is medium-bodied with crisp, quite rigid tannin. It feels quite structured and masculine in the mouth, a little austere at first but opening with aeration to reveal allspice and clove notes on the finish.

Pondok Rug – a ridge (rug) deriving its name from a shepherds hut (Pondok). Keermont Vineyards is a boutique wine estate set in the naturally-formed amphitheater between the Helderberg and Stellenbosch mountain ranges. They aim to grow wines that reflect the natural wonders of this beautiful place.


Vivid red in colour with aromas of cedar and spices. Savoury, meaty and smokey flavours on the palate. Good acidity and a rustic layered tannin structure.

Whalehaven is situated in Hemel-en-Aarde Village at the gateway to the Hermanus R320 Wine Route. Named after the Walker Bay whale sanctuary that shelters migrating southern right whales from Antarctica during the cool winter months, Whalehaven produces a range of wines that appeal to all palates.


A well-balanced wine with superb mouth feel, and aromas of violets and lavender with clear flavours of red fruit, dark cherries and sweet spice. A great wine with a long lingering finish.

Whalehaven in the Overberg Wine region, is a boutique winery which offers us an array of delightful hand-crafted wines. The grapes, largely French varietals, are sourced from Stellenbosch but bottled at the Whalehaven winery.


A medium bodied wine with an abundance of red forest berries and tobacco aromas. Rich, ripe mouth feel filled with raspberries and fruit pastilles. Soft, savoury tannins on the palate with a well balanced finish. An excellent example of single varietal Cabernet franc.

Established in 1995, Whalehaven is the third oldest winery in the region. The cellar has been wholly owned by the Bottega Family since 2003. The labels have recently undergone a major redesign and the first of these wines are now starting to find their way to foreign shores.


Landskroon Wine Estate has created a wonderfully affordable and tantalising wine for you enjoyment with the Paul Hugo Red. It is a blend of Cabernet Franc, which forms the bulk of it, with other classic noble varieties, Shiraz and Merlot, added to the mix. The result is a fun-filled wine with loads of juicy fruitiness. Whether you enjoy this wine slightly chilled on a hot day, or a little warmer on a cold evening, it will pair a dream with spicy seafood, cheeses and braaied meats.

Paul and Hugo de Villiers are the owners of this beautiful estate located on the south-western slopes of the Paarl Mountain which is well known for its big reds and port. Paul believes the soil and climate of Landskroon are perfect for producing Shiraz, which happens to be his favourite grape variety.


Medium bodied wine with plum and red berry flavours. Wine has well integrated and soft tannins. Hints of spice. 55% Cabernet Franc, 30% Merlot, 15% Shiraz.

Landskroon is a family farm with a long history, stretching back to 1689 when Huguenot refugee Jacque de Villiers arrived in the Cape. Just 3 years later, the farm was granted to a Swedish immigrant from Landkrona (meaning ‘little bear’) – hence the current name of Landskroon – by Governor Simon van der Stel.


Complex flavours of dark fruit and oak. A full bodied wine with elegant and well integrated tannins. 52% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Cabernet Franc, 18% Merlot. It shows well-incorporated fruit and oak flavours on the full-bodied palate, as well as beautifully rounded tannins.

Landskroon is situated along the south-western slopes of Paarl Mountain. The farm was originally granted in 1692 by Governor Simon van der Stel to Jan Holsmit, a Swede, who immigrated to South Africa from a little town, Landskrona, near Stockholm. In 1874 Paul de Villiers, great great grandfather of the present owners, bought a portion of the original Landskroon.


Deeply coloured, wonderfully dense yet with a vibrant rim showing the wine has life. The palate has great length, a core of bright red fruit, and abounds in subtle savoury notes. It is certainly ripe in style, but retains an austere note that reminds one this is indeed classic Cabernet Franc.

Mulderbosch Cabernet Franc 2015 and 2016 was rated amongst the Top 6 winners for the 2019 Cab Franc Challlenge.


The nose shows dark fruit, earth and spice plus just a touch of herbasceousness. The palate is surprisingly rich, the finish is super-dry and the overall impression is of a wine that is polished in the best sense.

When Larry Jacobs first bought the Mulderbosch farm in 1989 it was called ‘vuilplasie’ meaning ‘dirty little farm in Afrikaans. Positioned in the Stellenbosch Hills, it has garnered a reputation of fine wines. Winemaker Mike Dobrovic joined Larry, they cleared the property and began planting the first vineyards. They built a cellar and Mike created the first wines of Mulderbosch; Sauvignon Blanc, Blanc Fumé and a Chardonnay.


Lovely deep red colour, with hints of chalk, wild blossoms and spicy notes on the nose. Intense earthy, black current and hints of herbs on the palate. A medium bodied well integrated wine with soft tannins and memorable persistence.

The young winemaker at Hillcrest in the Durbanville,  Arno Smith, has taken his love for Saartjie – a very special Jack Russell – to great heights. She is on the bottle of a range of a single vineyard wines Hillcrest have launched that bear her name. She is named after a fierce old aunt of Arno’s, who used to observe quietly from a distance all that was going on and then when she needed to intervene would do so with great gusto—just like Saartjie—or so he says.


Attractive red colour. Vibrant red berry fruit on the nose. Medium bodied, elegant with a melange of red fruit flavours and well rounded tannins. Bordeaux blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc & Petit Verdot.

Millions of years ago the deposition by water of silt, sand and mud formed the Malmesbury series. Rising magna baked the underlying shale to “Hornfels” a hard fine grained brittle rock. Over time folding, weathering and erosion exposed the bedrock where the vineyards are now planted. Cool ripening conditions in conjunction with the geology have a created a “terroir” unique to Hillcrest Estate.


Bright ruby red with dark violet reflexes. Dark berries and spices on the nose. On the palate juicy dark cherries, ripe blackcurrants and blueberries followed by black pepper, dried coffee beans and spices. Fine tones of cedar wood and a touch of vanilla. Complex and well balanced.

Located at the top of the Franschhoek valley, Holden Manz wine estate comes with majestic mountain views, while overlooking the vineyards below it. This is one of the Top 6 winners for the 2019 Cab Franc Challlenge.


The Cabernet Franc 2015 is rich on the palate and smooth in texture. It is an elegant wine that shows elegance yet complexity. A handsome wine, bold and true, inspiring a raw complexity that exudes elegance and heart. This honest Cabernet Franc will gain notes of wisdom and depth when kept as a classic addition to any collection.

The Garajeest is a wine brand that walks to the beat of its own drum. This wine embodies fascination with life, vines and verse and inspired the concept ‘lyrics and legends’.


The 2016 has soft tannins with a long finish. The palate is rich and full in texture with sensual aromas of raspberries and spice.

‘Bruce’ Cabernet Franc is inspired by icons that embody a time and movement that resonates with the unique taste profile of each vintage. The music comes to life as the wine is enjoyed, swept up in an era of true talent and passion-filled freedoms. The Garajeest creates wines that are cultivar expressive and terroir driven, with minimal intervention in the cellar.


This is a beautifully balanced Cabernet Franc with concentrated dark and red berry fruit with hints of plum and spice all being complimented by a soft juicy palate.

Nestled amongst the mountains of the Langeberg Range, Bushmanspad is the home of a comprehensive range of red and white wines to suit every palate. The climate of the Breede River Valley is ideal for growing the best quality grapes, yielding delicious vintages. The name of the farm relates to the time when the Bushmen came over the mountains to do trading in the valley, and the old trail and the kloof in the rocks above the dam still show records of those days.


Intense deep red, colour. Damp earth and mint chocolate on nose. Lovely earthy and tea leaf flavours with black Forest cake and black cherry. Typical vegetative and herbaceous aromas with mineralic and slight floral aftertone (violets and fynbos). Intense rich fruit and juicy palate, with layers of dark chocolate and a hint of coffee.

Rainbows End is a boutique family vineyard offering quality from beginning to end. The Malan family have adopted a combination of traditional and new-world wine-making techniques. Anton, the cellar master, and brother Francois, the viticulturist and winemaker, take part in the various phases of production. Bunch selection, picking at dawn, sorting and plunging in open fermenters are all scrupulously done by hand to create these unique Bordeaux style Stellenbosch wines.


Intense dark, crimson red colour. Choc-nut spice on the nose with ripe, seductive tannins, licorice and Bourneville dark chocolate. Ripe mulberries and a rich, velvety mouth feel with a moreish Nutella finish.

“Rainbow’s End” is the name of the Malan family’s wine estate near Stellenbosch. After driving off the beaten track and enjoying breathtaking views of Banghoek Valley and slopes of Jonkershoek Mountain, you will totally understand the chosen name for this Malan family estate. A pot of gold and a divine promise of sun after the rain are all concepts that come to mind when this name was chosen.


This delicious Rosé displays flavours of ripe strawberries, cassis and candyfloss with dark red berries and cream on the mid palate and a juicy, crisp and dry finish. The wine shows on the nose and palate fruity flavours of raspberry and strawberry. A bit of acidity is well combined with a little sweetness.

“After a hot harvest day, our pickers brought, to our surprise, another 4 tons of harvested Cabernet Franc grapes. All the tanks in the cellar were already filled to capacity and hence we were confronted with a serious bottleneck! The only available container was the wine-press. Consequently we started a new adventure; we launched the “Bottleneck” Rosé”.


The Cabernet Franc is a harmonious, balanced wine. The strong body is well combined with a spicy nose. The compote aromas combine very well with the wood aromas from the French barrels, which all together gives this wine its elegant character. Vibrant cinnamon and spice fill the nose with plums and cherry flavours on the palate. A full-bodied Cabernet Franc with a great structure of tannins that will lead to a mineral aftertaste.

Situated in the historical Stellenbosch wine region, the Onderkloof vineyards overlooks False Bay while embraced by the Hottentots Holland mountains. Hence the name Onderkloof which means “below the valley”. This dates from the 18th century when Dutch governor of the Cape Willem Adriaan van der Stel’s sheep grazed here.


The Cabernet Franc wine from this estate has an intense bouquet of herbs, pepper and red berries, reflecting the terroir of the Darling appellation.  Well integrated ripe tannins allow for a well constructed palate.

Ormonde Private Cellar is situated on the West Coast of South Africa, where the rugged Darling hills roll and fall along the contours of an ancient granite intrusion. These molten rocks, forced from the earth to 300m above sea level, guard the Atlantic Ocean while banks of fog roll to the foothills, blessing the vineyard with coolness and moisture. These deep soils provide the ideal cradle for grapevines. Each year select parcels of grapes are earmarked for special attention in the cellar. When the resulting wine is regarded as outstanding, it forms the strictly limited quantity of wine bearing the Ormonde label.


The nose shows dark and red cherry. Dark berries, spiciness and herbs linger on the palate. The wine has great purity of fruit with a hint of wet-stone minerality and a velvet soft finish. Blended with 95% Cabernet a Franc and 5% Malbec, this wine is ready to drink now but can benefit from cellaring for another 2 – 5 years.

Established in 2000 and located in the Polkadraai Hills of the striking Stellenbosch winelands, the Raats Family winery was originally a partnership between brothers Bruwer and Jasper Raats.


Exceptionally intense and complex on the nose with blackberry, black cherry and bramble in abundance and subtle hints of forest floor, dark chocolate, aniseed and spicy tobacco with the finish having the taste of fresh mint and cinnamon. Made of Cabernet Franc; Malbec; Petit Verdot and Merlot.

Over the decades, Raats Family Wines have been instrumental in discovering areas were Chenin Blanc and Cabernet Franc are best suited, endeavouring to identify specific soil types that influence the variety and nurture vineyards, both old and young, with the utmost attention to detail, to produce outstanding wines.


The nose entices with its character of Cape fynbos, rosemary, lavender and thyme with spicy notes of nutmeg, cloves and star anise. Intense brooding blackberry fruit, graphite and a streak of minerality add to the complexity of the nose. The purely 100% Cabernet Franc has an ageing potential of more than 10 years.

More commonly known as a blending partner, Cabernet Franc more than holds its own as a single cultivar. It finds beautiful expression in this outing by Raats Family wines.


Deep ruby purple, with a beautiful youthful hue. The classical Cabernet Franc traits are evident in the lush cassis concentrated fruit and cinnamon, with peanut and clove-like spice also playing a part. Sumptuously smooth with some fine tannins to broaden palate weight. A delicious example of young Cabernet Franc. The rich red fruit flavours abound: black currants, cherries and plums. Undertones are of warm spice and tobacco.

The 300-year-old Morgenster Estate is situated near the foothills of the Helderberg Mountain in Somerset West and is renowned for its award-winning Bordeaux-style red wines and extra virgin olive oil. 


Aromas of dark berry and on the palate herbaceous and earthy. A full-bodied wine with great structure and a lingering aftertaste.

My Wyn is best described in the context of wine production as “small is beautiful.” From the smallest cellar, overlooking the Franschhoek Valley, Jacoline Haasbroek produces 2000 bottles p.a., enjoyed by a following from across the globe.


A blend of five different varieties, matured in French oak for 26 months. The ultimate in feminine complexity. Velvet on the palet, intriguing, promising a lingering experience. An affair that may last for only a single vintage. Bottled unfiltered.

My Wyn does not have its own vineyards, but buys in grapes from the same suppliers, year after year. My home is in one of the prettiest corners of Franschhoek – it nestles against the lower slopes of the Du Toitskop mountains with a view over the length of the Franschhoek Valley.


Good entry on the palate with dark fruit and cloves. Slightly perfumed with lovely aromas of berries, cinnamon and vanilla. Well structured. Tannins are smooth. Colour so vibrant and rich that captivate the essence of blackcurrant, nutmeg and tobacco leaf. Smokey undertones linger through green peppercorns and sandalwood.

In the Boland, amongst the endangered fynbos and several species of proteas, you’ll find a small 24ha boutique winery called Druk My Niet. This is where wine is made in the environmentally friendly way. The winery is situated in a biosphere reserve and they use only sustainable farming methods.


Made from 100 percent free run juice, this unique Rosé displays flavours of ripe strawberries, cassis and candyfloss with dark red berries and cream on the mid palate and a juicy, crisp and dry finish.

Surrounded by South Africa’s prominent Stellenbosch vineyards silhouetted against a mountainous backdrop sits the Delaire Graff Wine Estate. Owned by Laurence Graff, Chairman of Graff Diamonds International, the estate houses private lodges, a luxury spa, a South African contemporary art collection, a Graff diamond store, and Delaire Graff wines.

Finesse and balance, elegance with a unique style and class, Cabernet Franc has done well to showcase those strong Bordeaux roots that are so reflective in many of the styles of wines from our own home-grown winemakers. What a great festival to show-off Cabernet Franc in style!

Categories: Avontuur Wine Estate, Bushmanspad Estate, Cabernet Franc, Cultivar, Delaire Graaff Estate, Doolhof Wine Estate, Druk My Niet Wine Estate, Event, Hillcrest Estate, Holden Manz Wine Estate, Keermont Wines, Landskroon Wines, Morgenster Wine Estate, Mulderbosch Vineyards, My Wyn Estate, Nelsons Creek Wine Estate, Onderkloof Wine Estate, Ormonde Vineyards, Raats Family Wines, Rainbows End Estate, Region, Spookfontein Wines, Stellenbosch, The Garajeest, Vrede en Lust Wine Estate, Whalehaven WinesTags: , , , , , , , , , ,

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