Swartland Cabernet Sauvignon alive and well with Org de Rac

Monday, 6 May, 2019
Org de Rac Domain
Cabernet Sauvignon is alive and well in the Swartland Wine Region. Org de Rac, the organic wine farm in the Piketberg region, brought home two 90pt scores from the recent Prescient Cabernet Sauvignon Report, one each for the Org de Rac Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon from the 2015 and 2016 vintages. The 2017 vintage scored 88 points.

According to Frank Meaker, cellarmaster at Org de Rac who has been making wine throughout the Cape for four decades and has extensive experience with Cabernet Sauvignon, the soils and the site of the Org de Rac farm lend themselves to brilliant varietal expression.

“When it comes to Cabernet we treat it like our environment, namely by keeping things as pure and natural as possible,” he says. “The soils are some of the oldest Malmesbury sandstone in the country, rich in iron and well-drained - we’ve had some offers from Stellenbosch producers wanting to buy our topsoil, it’s that great.

“The Cabernet ripens beautifully as we are sunny, but the Atlantic Ocean is only 50km away, ensuring that cool breeze the vineyards love. Thus, the bunches of Cab we get are text-book purple-black and tight, singing harmony in balance between acid, sugar and pH,” says Meaker.

In the cellar, pump-overs are done during alcoholic fermentation where-after the juice lies with the skins for three weeks, the extended maceration allowing texture and rounded tannins. “I give the wine a year in barrel - 300l for less wood-to-wine ratio - and the wood being a combination of new and used,” he says.

He describes the wine as classic, with black-fruit plushness complemented by a hit of spice and fynbos.

“It was Professor Abraham Izak Perold who in the 1920s recommended South Africa gets planting Cabernet, and the old guy made a good call,” says Meaker.“The noble Bordeaux variety gives killer wines in the Boland, where I have had the pleasure of making some of these. But the fact that we are seeing fine Cabernet Sauvignon also coming from diverse patches of earth, such as Piketberg, underscores the great pedigree of the grape. And I honestly believe that Org de Rac’s call to farm organically adds that extra je ne sais quoi to the variety - just check out how many of Bordeaux’s Châteaux have gone the organic route over the past few decades.”