Thelema, Cabernet Sauvignon 750ml 2017

South Africa, Stellenbosch
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Critic Score


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Tasting notes:
'This is a fabulous expression of pure Stellenbosch Cabernet Sauvignon in a style true to the 2017 vintage. The aromatics are perfumed and seductive showing nuances of tart black cherries, crushed black berries and warm brown toast spread with black currant jam. But it’s the saline cassis lift that melts into notes of kelp, graphite, sweet cedar, cigar box, crushed violet petals and iodine that really add some thrilling complexity. Like many 2017s, the palate fruit and concentration is sleek, elegant and super light on its feet without compromising any focus or intensity. The tannins are powder soft, sweet and ripe leaving the crisp bright acids to act as the main backbone and frame to the wine. Lovely cool fresh tart black berry preserve and black cherry fruits are so vital and pure, lingering long on a truly classical, Bordeaux-styled left bank leaning Cabernet finish. A very impressive wine in its youth that will undoubtedly age with great harmony and finesse if cellared for 15-20+ years.' – Greg Sherwood MW, 95+/100

'Always-impressive crafting & balance. 2017 intensely perfumed & flavoured, cassis & spice, hint of graphite supported by fine-grained tannins, toned 18 months (as all these reds unless noted) in 45% new oak. Refined & elegant, with musculature for a long life, like 2016 (4.5 stars, 94 pts). Also in magnum.' – Platter's Guide, 5* (95/100)

'This wine already shows good balance and integration, with direct, medium-intense dark fruit aromas partnered with beautiful aspects of crushed violets, iris and lavender. Those earthy characteristics are joined by notes of licorice, whole baking spice and black tea on the palate, grounded by just-ripe black cherry and plum fruit. It’s medium-plus in weight, with a plush, velvety texture that’s surprisingly harmonious and attractive at present. Overall, it’s a beautiful package that should show its real stuffing in a few more years’ time and through the long term, though it will be hard to resist in its youth.' – Lauren Buzzeo (tasted and scored En Primeur), Wine Enthusiast, 92–94/100

'Two mountain slopes next to Thelema's neighbour, Tokara, supply the fruit for this impressive Cabernet, which expresses everything that's good about the 2017 vintage. Dense, sinewy and refreshing, with a youthful core of cassis and dried herbs and underlying minerality. Drink 2022-29.' – Tim Atkin MW, SA Special Report 2020, 92/100

'Gyles Webb swapped accounting for winemaking in the early 1980s and this family-owned Stellenbosch farm has long been a Cabernet powerhouse. Dark fruit, vanilla and earth on the nose, while the palate is rich and full with pure fruit and a creamy texture. Drinking Window 2020 - 2027.' – Decanter, 92/100

Alc: 14.5% | RS: 2.3 g/L | TA: 5.6 g/L | PH: 3.52

About Thelema Mountain Vineyards:
The name Thelema comes from the Abbey of Thélème, a place dreamt up by François Rabelais. He was a monk, a doctor and a writer in sixteenth-century France and his utopian Abbey went against the religious ideals of the day. Rabelais’ motto was ‘laughing and drinking are the proper characteristics of man...for by wine we become divine.’ Since Rabelais spent a lot of time thinking about and writing memorable quotes on wine, Thelema saw it fitting to name their vineyards after him.
More Information
Alcohol 14.5%
Technical analysis RS: 2.3 g/L | TA: 5.6 g/L | PH: 3.52
Variety Cabernet Sauvignon
Blend information 100% Cabernet Sauvignon
Rating GS 95+
Drink to Drink or cellar
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Shipping information

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  • Cape Town & surrounds: 1 – 2 working days
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More wines from this producer

AG: Antonio Galloni of  |  AM: Allen Meadows of  |  CE: Christian Eedes of  |  DEC: Decanter  |  GS: Greg Sherwood MW  |  JS: James Suckling  |  JR:  |  JD: Jeb Dunnuck  |  NM: Neal Martin of OM: Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show  |  PG: Platter's Guide  |  ST: Stephen Tanzer of  |  TA: Tim Atkin MW  |  VIN:  |  WA: Wine Advocate  |  WE: Wine Enthusiast  |  WM: Report  |  WS: Wine Spectator