Craven Cabernet Sauvignon

Regular price $43.00

Winemaker: Mick and Jeanine Craven

Appellation: Stellenbosch, South Africa

Grape Varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon

The King! A variety Mick and Jeanine never thought they would entertain making until a lovely little site on the Karibib Vineyard was made apparent. During ripening it just has intense and correct flavors at a relatively low sugar levels. So Mick made a spur of the minute decision to pick a little bit and make his first Cabernet.

Going against what is considered ‘standard operating procedure’, he fermented the grapes 100% whole bunch. He and Jeanine love the tannin structure and aromatics this can give to a wine and thought why not try it on Cab? The grapes were pressed a little earlier than complete dryness to make sure the tannins didn’t get too aggressive and the ferment finished in tank. The wine was then matured in neutral 225L barrels for 10 months before bottling. The wine is bottled unfined and unfiltered, with nothing added during the winemaking process apart from a dash of sulfur.

Strong perfume of blueberries, kirsch, ,a hint of beetroot with a dash of white pepper, and crushed sage emerge from the glass. The palate is medium-bodied with fresh acidity bringing focused notes of darker fruit than the nose suggests and black olive flavors with a touch of cassis, closing with evolving and very fine tannins. This has amazing energy for 12.5% alcohol and in many ways is the antithesis of the 'norm' associated with Stellenbosch Cabernet.

Craven Wines is a winemaking collaboration between husband-and-wife team Mick and Jeanine Craven.  Mick is an Aussie currently working as lead winemaker at Mulderbosch during the day;  Jeanine is South African, and they met in California 'dragging hoses' in Sonoma for harvest in 2007.  After both having taken to the text books at their respective universities, they decided to hit the road, see lots of things, work in lots of places and try and learn as much as possible from this massive wine world.  After travelling across the world together for four years and learning about wines in Australia, Europe, the States and South America, the couple returned to South Africa in late 2011.  They feel Stellenbosch has such an amazing array of sites and terroir, and that it is perfect for what they want to do, which is making site-specific, honest wines.

"We chose South Africa, as we think there is a lot of potential here to make amazing wines. We live in Stellenbosch and our hearts are here in this town, which is why we only make wines from the Stellenbosch region as we want to be within a heartbeat of the vines.  We want to make wines which are interesting, both stylistically and by varietal, but also wines which have a sense of place and express where they come from. We have isolated particular vineyard sites, for their unique soils and micro-climates, where we work with the growers to ensure that we get the best results from the particular sites. All our wines will come from single vineyards around Stellenbosch."
- Mick Craven
In the vineyard the 'less is more' attitude is implemented.  They are 'working toward organics' but that term, according to Mick, makes him want to vomit as it is completely overused and rarely implemented.  If he were to label their farming it would be “fucking rad ass farming.” 

In terms of ‘winemaking’ Mick likes to keep things as simple as possible as well; He feels the best methods are being hands off, while still being very hands on.  In other words, paying serious attention to the wine but not manipulating it.  There is no use of cultured yeasts, enzymes, fining agents, etc. throughout the winemaking process.  They only use older, larger, oak barrels.  Essentially a minimal amount of SO2 (which is a dear friend) is the only additive.
- Credit to Jamie Goode