If you were asked to identify the world’s most luxurious wines, the cognoscenti among you might cite something suitably French, involving the word “Chateau”. The bottles would be extremely rare, or extremely old, or both. American aficionados would probably look to the Napa Valley’s low-production cult hero Screaming Eagle. But would it surprise you to learn that extremely hand-crafted, limited-edition wines hailing from the ocean-facing slopes of a Stellenbosch estate are also starting to lay claim to the accolade?
De Toren Private Cellar is fast cementing its reputation as a global contender. One of the first-ever South African wineries to produce Bordeaux-style wines and make use of a gravity-fed cellar, the estate is renowned for meticulous attention to detail when it comes to nurturing its vineyards to grow the perfect berries, and for making wine through the softest and gentlest of processes.
Its spectacular wines have been awarded the honorary titles of South Africa’s Best Bordeaux Blend and South Africa’s Most Luxurious Wine, respectively. De Toren has been ranked as one of the Top 10 Red Wine Producers in South Africa by the South African Wine Index. Further afield, De Toren was twice nominated as New World Winery of the Year by Wine Enthusiast Magazine, and was awarded The Highest Ever Rated Wines by the reputable USA publisher, a global authority on wine and one of the top 10 wine magazines in the USA.
It was the vision and mission of De Toren’s winemakers to produce vintages that would place at the apex of the industry, anywhere in the world, and the estate’s methods and production philosophy have been carefully engineered to achieve this. And this year, De Toren has garnered yet another slew of highly regarded international awards, reviews and accolades, putting it firmly among the best.
For 2020, De Toren Private Cellar has once again ranked between 91 and 94 points out of a possible 100 points for all its wines by Wine Enthusiast magazine. Esteemed UK wine critic, Tim Atkin has scored the 2017 vintages of the De Toren Fusion V and the De Toren Z at 95 and 93 out of a possible 100 points, respectively. One of the most respected and influential voices in vino on the planet, Atkin is a British Master of Wine, an award-winning wine journalist, broadcaster and commentator, and a judge of several international wine competitions. He is co-chairman of the International Wine Challenge, which is one of the biggest and most rigorously judged blind tasting competitions in the world.
Back on South African soil, the De Toren Z and De Toren Fusion V received remarkable 4.5-star ratings in Platter’s 2020 South African Wine Guide, respectively scoring 93 and 94 points each.
The secret behind these remarkable wines is extreme care. From the way the grapes are organically farmed, with only women allowed to tend the berries, to the way the berries are then sorted and pressed; to how the wine is blended and bottled, every step of the De Toren process is carefully crafted by hand.
Intentional low-production is an important facet of the estate’s winemaking approach, where the focus is on hyper quality and superb craftsmanship over quantity, in order to make investment blends. The limited-edition Book XVII and The Black Lion vintages are expressed in a mere 1400 bottles each year. These highly collectible wines are created with an aging potential of 40 years or more and for the most part are fully reserved on pre-release by ardent private collectors. Each bottle comes in a bespoke wooden presentation box that is sealed by a signature key. In addition to Book XVII and The Black Lion, and only in years marked by an exceptional vintage, De Toren will release limited-edition and super-exclusive Director’s Reserve blends that are marked by their singularity.
Speaking of the estate’s approach to luxury, De Toren winemaker Charles Williams states: “Luxury, for us, is all about hand-manicuring our vines, going to the nth degree to protect the quality of our grapes during ripening, picking and pressing, and making investment Bordeaux blends that our collectors will prize – whether they drink them straight away, or in the years to come. We’re very proud to produce showcase wines here at De Toren, wines that demonstrate South Africa’s winemaking abilities to the world!”
For more information, visit https://de-toren.com/.