Red, Ready, but will keep

2009 Max Miles Mossop

2009 Max Miles Mossop

Red | Ready, but will keep | Miles Mossop Wines | Code:  23505 | 2009 | South Africa | Cab.Sauvignon Blend | Medium-Full Bodied, Dry | 14.5 % alcohol

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New To BBX

Bottle 6 x 75cl 1cs

£125.00
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Scores and Reviews

WA

93/100

WA - The 2009 Max is a blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 21% Merlot, 8% Malbec and 21% Petit Verdot, the first and last from slate soils in the Bottelray sub-region of Stellenbosch. It comes from dry-farmed vines, undergoes a natural ferment with malolactic in barrel before aging over 22 months in 40% new French oak. It offers a focused, rather broody but pure bouquet of blackberry, black olive and red currant jus that unwinds nicely in the glass, but remains a little aloof. The palate is very well-balanced with fresh ripe black plum and creme de cassis on the entry. At its core are seamless tannins and a lovely caressing, slightly animally finish that purrs like an old Bentley. Superb!
Neal Martin - Wine Advocate #209 - Oct 2013 

The Producer

Miles Mossop Wines

Miles Mossop Wines

Miles Mossop Wines burst onto the South African wine scene in 2004 when his first wines were made. He is winemaker at fellow Stellenbosch estate, Tokara, where he’s afforded the freedom to vinify 10 tonnes of bought-in grapes for his own label every year.

The aim here is to achieve wines with finesse and elegance but which still display aspects of power and fruit concentration, having great texture while maintaining balance.

Max is named after Miles’s son and is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot and, more recently, Malbec. It is a truly handcrafted wine showing pure fruit expression and, more importantly, a sense of place.

The Grape

Cab.Sauvignon Blend

Cab.Sauvignon Blend

Cabernet Sauvignon lends itself particularly well in blends with Merlot. This is actually the archetypal Bordeaux blend, though in different proportions in the sub-regions and sometimes topped up with Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and Petit Verdot.

In the Médoc and Graves the percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend can range from 95% (Mouton-Rothschild) to as low as 40%. It is particularly suited to the dry, warm, free- draining, gravel-rich soils and is responsible for the redolent cassis characteristics as well as the depth of colour, tannic structure and pronounced acidity of Médoc wines. However 100% Cabernet Sauvignon wines can be slightly hollow-tasting in the middle palate and Merlot with its generous, fleshy fruit flavours acts as a perfect foil by filling in this cavity.

In St-Emilion and Pomerol, the blends are Merlot dominated as Cabernet Sauvignon can struggle to ripen there - when it is included, it adds structure and body to the wine. Sassicaia is the most famous Bordeaux blend in Italy and has spawned many imitations, whereby the blend is now firmly established in the New World and particularly in California and  Australia.

The Region

South Africa

South Africa

It has taken the majority of the last two decades for the South African wine trade to become the truly exciting place it is today. First of all, it wasn’t only apartheid that held the Cape’s most talented winemakers back, it was also the dominance of the state-controlled winemaking cooperative, the Koöperatieve Wijnbouwers Vereniging van Suid-Afrik (KWV). The KWV brought stability to many South African growers but its prices were based on quantity rather than quality. This encouraged the bulk production of inexpensive, inferior wines that did nothing to establish the region’s potential to impress at a higher level in virgin export markets. South Africa quickly gained a reputation for cheap and cheerful wines that lacked substance and often had a smoky character, which many experts attributed to virus-ridden vines.

It was following the privatisation of the KWV in 1997 that the South African wine industry really began to open up. Winemakers who had been frustrated by the cooperative’s restrictions were suddenly free to reduce yields and focus on producing smaller volumes of higher-quality wines; however, Rome wasn’t built in a day. It took some time for many of the larger wineries to appreciate that investment in the vineyards, and wineries could yield longer-term profits. A number of enthusiastic mavericks left their previous roles in larger corporates and took the risky strategy of setting up on their own; mavericks such as Eben Sadie, who was integral not only to establishing the Swartland as a new, cult Cape wine region but whose efforts have firmly planted South Africa on the global fine wine map.

Where Eben led, others followed, and in the mid- to late 2000s, high-quality winemaking became a key focus among the estates of the Western Cape. Historic properties such as Oldenburg in Stellenbosch which had old, disused vineyards were suddenly brought back to life by their new owners, and vast tracts of land were replanted on carefully chosen, virus-free rootstocks. Adrian Vanderspuy took over Oldenburg Vineyards in 2003 and immediately replanted the entire estate with new vines. Constantia Glen transformed its beautiful spot near Cape Town and also focused entirely on regenerating the vineyards; but vines take at least three years to grow to the point of producing quality wine, and so time passed. Both estates’ first vintage was in 2007.

Even more exciting for the South African vinous scene today are the young winemakers who have travelled the world to gain inspiration, and have since come home to establish their own unique projects. Not wanting simply to follow the Bordeaux model so assiduously created in Stellenbosch, Chris and Andrea Mullineux produce glorious Rhône-inspired reds and whites in Swartland, which are now widely acknowledged to be some of the best wines in the Western Cape. In short, much has changed since 1992, but South Africa’s winds are firmly blowing in the right direction with superb results now, and even more promise for the future.

Nature is certainly on South African wine producers' side, with plenty of sunshine in this warm Mediterranean climate, yet tempered by oceanic, onshore breezes. Climate plays a greater role in determining the style and quality of the Cape's wine, while the predominantly granitic (ie low pH) soils contribute to a generally fuller, rounder, low-acid mouthfeel.

Stellenbosch with 17,500 ha is the most important fine wine producing district, followed by Swartland with 15,000 ha and then Paarl at 18,000 ha. Worcester (20,500 ha), Robertson (13,500 ha), Olifants River (10,000 ha) and Orange River (5,000 ha) make up the difference. 

Newly-created wine regions include the coastal Elgin (near Cape Agulhas, Africa's southern-most tip), West Coast, Langloof, and Prince Albert (near the majestic Swartberg mountains).

The split of white to red wine production was 55:45 in 2005. The white wine grapes are dominated by Chenin Blanc (Steen) with 20 percent share, with Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier the great white hopes. The red wine grapes are led by Cabernet Sauvignon with 13 percent, with Merlot and Shiraz close behind. 

Pinotage, South Africa's indigenous grape varietal (a cross between Pinot Noir & Cinsaut -spelt “Cinsault” in the Southern Rhône) and its plantings are decreasing.

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