The Greater Simonsberg appellation of Stellenbosch towers as a beacon of great South African wine, and especially red grape varieties. It is in this location that renowned family winery Delheim produced its latest flagship Grand Reserve 2017 Bordeaux blend.
Significantly, the 2017 vintage marks the 40th year that the iconic Grand Reserve – the apex of Delheim’s red wine collection – has been in existence. It is only made in years of exceptional quality with the maiden vintage released in 1981. Crafted vintage-to-bottle with the specific intention of being the most outstanding expression of the harvest, this stately wine is an eagerly anticipated collector’s item of the highest quality.
Over the last four decades, no matter the winemakers involved, the Grand Reserve has achieved its unwavering style because of its truly remarkable Simonsberg terroir.
It was originally created by Kevin Arnold, a youngster then, who has gone on to become one of South Africa’s elder winemakers. Kevin has been behind three of South Africa’s most iconic super premium red wines since the country’s return to the international stage – the Delheim Grand Reserve among them.
He joined Delheim in 1979 as winemaking assistant to the legendary Spatz Sperling, Delheim’s owner and pioneering winemaker in his own right, before taking over the helm.
Kevin credits a sojourn in California in 1981, as the first winemaker invited from South Africa to the Robert Mondavi Winery, for cementing the possibility his home country could produce a super-premium red.
That same year, he launched the Delheim Grand Reserve, which went on to win the prestigious General Smuts Trophy in 1986.
The mantle for the wine now falls to current Delheim winemaker Roelof Lotriet, who shares the same alma mater as Kevin of St Andrews School in Bloemfontein.
Remarking on the 40-year milestone, Roelof says such achievements are only possible with sound starting points. “The principles from the parable of the wise man building his house upon rock were instilled in me from young age. Delheim has made wine for 82 years. It has understood the value of good sites and specific terroir as a foundation of world-class wines.
“In the case of the Grand Reserve, Cabernet Sauvignon in this specific location has made the variety the wine’s dominant building block.” The 2017 vintage is rounded off with touches of Merlot and Cabernet Franc.
The Grand Reserve 2017 shows a complex nose of dark fruits dominated by blackberries and blackcurrant followed by notes of tobacco and tomato leaf, fresh lead pencil shavings and cassis. The palate is elegantly poised with dark red fruit and a smooth chalky tannin finish that’s true to the area.
Grand Reserve is designed for long-term ageing. Roelof recommends up to 15 years from vintage.
The Delheim Grand Reserve 2017 sells for R420. There’s free delivery on all orders over R1 200. Special birthday offer: Purchase a case of Grand Reserve 2017 online here, and receive a complimentary magnum of Delheim Grand Reserve 2015.