Blended to Perfection from Stellenbosch and Durbanville

With the Bordeaux wine region commissioning the planting of new varieties more suited to a changing climate, the profile of the traditional South African Bordeaux-style blend might soon have to be revisited. Currently, this blend is cobbled together from Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec. And this format has not only led to some of the Cape’s most celebrated wines but also its most commanding brands. Think Rubicon from Meerlust and Paul Sauer, courtesy of Kanonkop. In icons, we trust.

Welgemeend, out Klapmuts way, made the first Bordeaux-style blend from vintage 1979, with Stellenbosch’s Meerlust introducing Rubicon out of the 1980 harvest. Delheim, perched on the Simonsberg above Muratie, caught-on one year later, the Delheim Grand Reserve 1981 popping the estate’s cherry in joining the quest to establish these styles of wines in South Africa.

Exactly one day before this compulsory state of house-bound solitude, Nora Thiel, daughter of Delheim’s late pater familias Spatz Sperling, sent me back to Cape Town with a bottle of Delheim Grand Reserve from the comet 2015 vintage. Whether this was a gift out of sympathy or generosity, I don’t know. But it did give me a chance to give the wine a decent going-over, and in the process to long for the rugged slopes of the Simonsberg from my urban state of capture.