WITH an unwavering focus on crafting superlative Bordeaux blends, the wines of De Toren have become coveted worldwide, raising the profile of high-end South African wines across the globe. The Black Lion 2017 ventures into new territory.
In 2008 the winemaking team was set a challenge – one with no restrictions on viticulture or limitations on cellar practice or costs, and with the singular goal of quality, how would they craft the best wine in the world? It was a hypothetical exercise that found expression in a pair of remarkable limited-release wines, bottled under the apt label of Expression Unique.
The Black Lion was the De Toren team’s first official foray beyond the boundaries of Bordeaux. Far from expressing a regional style, this 100% Shiraz sets the benchmark for the cultivar. Grapes for The Black Lion are sourced from the Swartland (for structure), Stellenbosch (fruit and freshness) and the Helderberg (finesse), with the combination of terroirs adding immense complexity to the wine. In the bottle, the whole is far greater than the sum of its parts.
This opulent Shiraz is crafted from specially selected vines. Merely four single bunches are grown per singular vine to produce only the most expressive grapes from distinctly unique terroirs. Each bunch is individually nurtured and manicured by hand. The Black Lion is hand-crafted in a separate cellar-within-a-cellar at De Toren and here it is also fermented and aged in New French Oak barrels for a period of 18 months in total.
Due to the favourable weather conditions of the season, the 2017 vintage has been identified as one of the most promising years to deliver some of the country’s most phenomenal wines ever, and is being defined by industry influencers as “exceptional, splendid and extraordinary”.
Each bottle is presented in a striking black wooden case that can only be opened by its unique accompanying key. This bespoke packaging is rounded off with its individual, handwritten bottle number. Little wonder it has been hailed worldwide as one of the finest ultra-premium wines to emerge from South Africa.
De Toren Private Cellar is on Polkadraai Road in Stellenbosch, open Mondays to Fridays from 8am till 4pm. Tastings are by appointment only. Available weekdays, every tasting is an hour and half and includes a tour through the vineyard, cellar, maturation room, and finishes off with a tasting of the luxurious wines. To book a tasting email [email protected] or call the office for more information: 021 881 3119.