Cavalli Estate ranks among best performers in Tim Atkin report on South African wine

Monday, 2 September, 2019
Cavalli Estate near Stellenbosch has been lauded by respected British Master of Wine Tim Atkin with the release of his much-anticipated report on South African wines this week. Demonstrating the quality of terroir at an estate that's been open to the public for just five years, Cavalli's Colt Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 and Warlord Bordeaux Red Blend 2017 each garnered a Medal of Excellence.

The wines scored 90 and 92 respectively, in Atkins' assessment of just over 2 000 wines this year.

"I am excited and thrilled by our ratings," declares Craig Barnard, who has headed up the winemaking at Cavalli Estate since 2014. "They are true testament to our team's hard work.

"The assessment reinforces our belief that we can produce top quality Cabernet Sauvignon and Bordeaux blends from this young estate, and it reaffirms our decision to invest further in our vineyards, with an aim to become one of the Helderberg’s and ultimately South Africa’s top Cabernet producers."

Tim Atkin is an award-winning wine writer with over 30 years' experience and a strong international following. He is also a co-chairman of the International Wine Challenge, the world’s most rigorously judged blind tasting competition.

For South African producers, Atkin's perspective is highly prized.

"Tim visits South Africa a number of times per year and therefore has an intimate understanding of South Africa’s wines and what we have to offer," says Craig. "Having an internationally acclaimed Master of Wine review and score your wine, is an important gauge when it comes to how the international wine specialists view your wines."

Significantly, Atkin highlighted the 2017 vintage as he considers "one of the best ever Cape vintages".

For Craig, the top-performing Colt Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 and Warlord Bordeaux Red Blend 2017 epitomize the capability of the Cavalli terroir to produce world-class wines.

"They show that Cavalli is serious about building a serious red wine portfolio with Cabernet Sauvignon as the backbone."

The nose of the Colt Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 shows loads of dark berries and plums with prominent mint, eucalyptus, cigar box, roasted coffee and liquorice. A velvet palate complemented by elegant tannins helps to showcase the brighter red fruits. The wine was matured for 18 months in selected French oak barrels.

Warlord Bordeaux Red Blend 2017 comprises 55% Cabernet and 24% Malbec with the remainder made up with Petit Verdot. A dark, intense ruby-coloured wine, it shows complex smoky and savoury notes in the aroma with shades of dark and red fruits, vanilla, dark chocolate and liquorice. Aging of the wine for 24 months in selected French oak barrels has made the palate bold and round, with grippy yet elegant tannin. It recalls plum, mulberry and blueberry as primary fruit flavours.

Together, the wines are part of a portfolio with focus on Cabernet Sauvignon in the reds and Chenin Blanc among the whites.

"The Cremello, a blend of Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay and Verdelho is a fantastic example of the kind of versatility and quality that comes from the estate," says Craig. "The Filly Chenin blanc is also a great representation of the variety as well as proving that next to Cabernet, Chenin Blanc will enjoy a prosperous future at Cavalli."

Since opening to the public five years ago, Cavalli Estate has evolved into a versatile lifestyle destination that deftly combines its award-winning wine with food and art.

It gets its name from the Italian for ‘horses’, a nod to the world-class equestrian facilities part of the striking 100ha property. Sharing the space are amongst others the 27ha of vineyard; extensive fynbos gardens designed by Keith Kirsten; the award-winning Cavalli Restaurant run by acclaimed Chef Michael Deg; the Cavalli Gallery of contemporary and iconic art; and, a luxury boutique. 

Cavalli Estate is situated off the R44 between Stellenbosch and Somerset West. For more information call 021 855 3218, send an email to, visit  or make contact via @CavalliEstate #CavalliEstate

Cavalli Restaurant is open from Wednesday to Saturday for lunch and dinner, as well as Sundays for lunch only.

Wine tasting is offered from Wednesday to Sunday, 10am-6pm. Tasting fee of R60 for five premium wines, R40 for 'Passions' wines. For bookings or further information send a mail to

#CavalliWine #TimAtkin

High Tea is offered in The Conservatory from Wednesday to Sunday; Stable tours, on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays while carriage rides across the estate are available on request. The Cavalli Private Collection of South African Masters is frequently rotated in the portico situated within the main gallery and two memorabilia rooms showcase a remarkable collection of rugby and sporting memorabilia.

The gallery at Cavalli is open from Wednesday to Sunday from 10am to 6pm.​ For enquiries, call 021 855 3218.