2015 Graceland Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon

$31.40 btl / $376.80 cs (case of 12 x 750ml)

Having friends in high places sometimes leads to great wine. Peter Oliver of Oliver and Bonacini Restaurants introduced The Small Winemakers Collection team to Paul and Susan McNaughton, owners and operators of Graceland Vineyards in Stellenbosch, South Africa in 2001.

Peter and Paul were classmates and best friends in Cape Town, South Africa, where Peter Oliver is originally from. They went their separate ways when Peter moved to Montreal to attend McGill University, later becoming one of Canada’s most successful restaurateurs, while Paul stayed in South Africa and married Susan, a former fashion model. They purchased Graceland Vineyards, an 18 hectare farm on the slopes of the Helderberg, known as the red wine zone of Stellenbosch, in 1990.

Graceland is a small winery where the entire family plays a role: Susan has been the driving force as viticulturist, winemaker and marketer; Paul attends to the finances and administration and everyone, even the children lend a hand in the cellar. When the dogs start to eat the grapes off the vines, they know it is time to pick.

Susan took over the role of full-time winemaker in 2002. She is directly involved in every aspect of the winemaking process. The wines from Graceland Vineyards are truly hand-crafted, with Susan’s personal touch in every bottle – including hand wrapping in tissue paper! This is artisanal wine at its finest. The McNaughtons decided to incorporate Baron Jean Baptiste Regnault’s famous painting of the tastefully intertwined ‘Three Graces’ from the Louvre on the front of the bottle. Legend has it that they were the physical embodiment of Beauty, Joy and Charm which symbolize the essential characteristics of Graceland wine.

The 2015 Graceland Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon is elegant and mouth-filling with notes of blackcurrant, cranberry, cassis, spice, layers of chocolate, pleasant fine tannins with understated structure. This is a well-defined, European style Cabernet. The wine spends 22 months in barrel, 30% new oak, bottled unfined; unfiltered. Harvested from vineyards at differing elevations, vineyard ages and soil structures enhances the wine’s complexity.

Price: Case of 12 at $376.80 ($31.40 per bottle)

Drink: Now or over the next 10 years

Type/Variety/Body: Dry red, 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, Full-body

Food Pairing: Rack of lamb, steak, roasts, hearty stews, grilled burgers with aged cheddar

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