Grapevine Archive for 1985

Thu 12 Apr 2012

Easter in the Cape

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The stunning landscape at Warwick Wine Estate

Easter in the Cape is traditionally a time that South African winemakers kick back and relax after the trials and tribulations of harvest have finally settled down. 2012 is a little different as harvest started late and Easter came early so most quality-orientated winemakers had to forego the joys of the Easter long weekend for the wine cellar to care for their baby vintage.

It is at moments like this where the privilege of seniority becomes most tangible. It is in the context of this seniority and as Managing Director of Warwick Wine Estate that I found myself enjoying the Easter weekend with the Ratcliffe family in the African bush North of Pretoria surrounded by nature and a lot of wild animals – family notwithstanding.

I also found myself with the enviable task of working through a case of Warwick Cabernet Sauvignon 1985, a gem from the cellar which is holding up beautifully. After smashing open the wooden case with perhaps a little too much gusto, my sister Jenny Ratcliffe-Wright and I pronounced that the wine was spectacular. There is something particularly exciting and satisfying about drinking a wine of this age which has developed so much complexity.

It is also satisfying to know that there would probably be a lot of Wine Society members who have this wine in their cellar as it was one of the very first vintages that we sold through the Society. My advice if you have this is to give in, open a bottle and then drink it all. It is in peak condition and a tribute to the winemaker – who coincidentally happens to be mom – ‘The First Lady‘.


Mike Ratcliffe
Managing Director Warwick and Vilafonte

Categories : South Africa
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