ARISTEA WINE PRESS

 

Michael Olivier
Febuary 2019

Wine of the Day: Aristea Cabernet Sauvignon 2016

Aristea Wines appeared on the scene about a year ago, the result of a partnership between well-known Cape winemaker Matthew Krone, whose family have been winemakers for over 300 years and Martin Krajewski, an Englishman who owns vineyards in France; Clos Cantenac in St-Emilion and in 2016 Château Séraphine in Pomerol. Matthew has specialised in making MCC sparkling wines of which two are to be found in the Aristea range, a rosé and a blanc. Today, I talk Aristea Cabernet Sauvignon 2016.

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Derek Smedley MW
January 2019

Méthode Cap Classique Rosé 2016  -  92/100 

Drink from 2019-22. There is an attractive fragrant mix of summer fruits and red berries. The start of the palate is fresh, crisp; the mid palate richer with wild strawberries and cherries. An underlying streak of freshness brightens the back palate, the finish is persistent with good length.

Méthode Cap Classique Brut 2015 - 92/100            

Drink from 2019-22. Fragrant fresh, the nose has an aromatic mix of flavours, the palate creamy rich with biscuits and ripe apricots. Tangerine freshness balances the richness, the fresh fruits lingering on the long elegant, fragrant finish.

Chardonnay, Stellenbosch 2017 - 91/100

Drink from 2019-22. Both nose and the start of the palate have a rich mix of fruits with some fleshy greengage and apricot on the mid palate, the depth of flavour is balanced by tangerine and apple. Bright and fresh at the back the finish has vibrant length.

Sauvignon/Semillon, Elgin 2017 - 92/100

Drink from 2019-22. The nose has crushed blackcurrant leaves, the fruit fresh with a mix of citrus fruits on the start of the palate. More tropical fruits and peaches in the middle. There is more depth of flavour, the back palate lighter, the finish racy with citrus and mineral.

Cabernet Sauvignon, Stellenbosch 2016 - 92/100

Drinks from 2019-26. Blackcurrant and cherries, the nose has a concentrated mix of flavours, the palate is sweet with ripe fruit, fleshy and supple. There is a chocolatey mid richness, the tannins are ripe and integrated. Underlying bilberry balances and refreshes the back palate with a rich mix of black fruits filling out the finish.


 

Jeanri Van Zyl

Chardonnay:

A delicate wine which expresses the more ‘feminine’ qualities of the variety. Hints of kumquat interwoven with a tinge of nutty oak. Lively acidity and lingering finish.

Sauvignon Blanc-Semillon:

My favourite! Absolute unique nose of white marshmallow and spice that keeps changing in the glass, making for a highly engaging wine. This wine has a surprisingly rich mouth-feel, and rewards with a crisp finish. Complex and beautiful.

Methode Cap Classique Blanc:

Intriguing nose reveals brioche with burnt butter on the nose. On the glass the wine reveals a fine ‘weave’ of tiny bubbles, a delicate mousse which tickles the palate. A lively acidity makes for a truly mouth-watering finish. A fantastic aperitif!

Methode Cap Classique Rose:

Crushed red berries on the nose bursting with lively bubbles. The palate smacks of black raspberry and rewards with an acidity which seems to mimic those of the aromas. A clever, well-rounded bubbly.

Cabernet Sauvignon:

A sturdy wine with classic pencil shaving aromas on the nose. The palate reveals an equally pleasant dusty undertow, interlaced with plums, and black fruit. The finish is long and juicy.


 

Dr Winifred E Bowman ,
Cape Wine Master

Aristea Chardonnay 2017:

Classically styled and pure with an expressive citrus expression. Oak judged perfectly for complexity, structure and underlying nutty richness and a gorgeous texture & balance. Just exhilarating !

Aristea MCC Brut 2015:

Firmly structured with delicious lemongrass and hint of fleur de sel. The balance is impeccable with those strings of lazy bubbles just melting in the mouth. Good balance and depth of flavour with a long baked apple-cinnamon cake after taste. 

Aristea Sauvignon/Semillon 2017:

The purity in the flavours of this wine is just striking. It is expressive with luscious, spiced stone and citrus fruit and a mouth-filling, assertive, but ever so elegant and harmonious, unflagging finish, tinged with crushed herbs. It is a great expression of this style of wine.

Aristea Cabernet Sauvignon 2016:

A triumph! It is classic and refined with a core of cassis fruit wrapped around superbly judged tannins. Balanced and poised - beautiful now, but will give pleasure for many years.

Aristea MCC Rosé 2016:

A pure delight and explosion of everything berry and spice with the bubbles and fresh flavours pirouetting across the tongue. It shows great depth with a long spicy strawberry finish. This wine will put a smile on your face!


 

John & Lynn Ford,
Menu – Cape Town’s weekly journal of Food, Wine & Lifestyle

We were recently invited to taste the new release Aristea wines over dinner at the Alphen Hotel in Constantia and began the evening with an Aristea MCC blanc 2015 which is a fine blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. It has sophistication with brioche on the nose and some perfume, salty citrus with clean and fresh long flavours, minerality and good mousse. It spends 3 years on the less and a small proportion of chardonnay spends some time in wood.

The first wine at dinner as a Sauvignon blanc/Semillon 2017 made with fruit from Elgin and we can pay it no better compliment than to say one person compared it to a Graves and another ‘Haut Brion’ and it certainly is quite French in character. It isn’t a wine that you want to pull apart and over analyse; it is full, well balanced, well integrated and layered wine with beautiful golden stone fruit, good minerality, deliciousness and staying power.  It is aged in wood for 10 months and the wood supports, not dominates.

The next wine was Aristea Chardonnay 2017 which showed beautiful fruit on the nose, golden loquats and greengage plums, whiffs of wood smoke and vanilla oak, sweet, spicy and well balanced with golden fruit on the long, long palate.

Then the Aristea Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 - which is made from fruit sourced on long-term contracts from four Stellenbosch producers in Golden Triangle of Cabernet. Tension is the buzzword in red wines at the moment and this wine certainly has it. Rich cassis berries and cherries on the nose and palate with liquorice, wood, perfume and incense. It needs time to settle and the good fruit acids will carry it forward for many a year.

The last wine was the Aristea MCC rose 2016. It has whiffs of fine smoke and is full of lively strawberry and red berry flavours and is a blend of 60% chardonnay and 40% Pinot Noir left longer on the skins, which shows on the long flavours, which delight.  A wine to enjoy all summer long.


 

Emile Joubert,
The Wine Google,
Cape Town

Don’t mention the ‘T’ Word

 Things were going just fine until someone at the table deployed the T-word. I looked down into my glass filled with bright, pale wine which happened to be an agreeable blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon, and wondered what this pleasant liquid had done to deserve having clichés like “tension” attributed to it.

 But then again, these were the new vintages from the house of Aristea, a set of South African wines, which are rapidly gaining classic status in the international marketplace. And so fine they were that one should not really blame commentators bandying useless terms such as “tension” about, as the tasting experience was of the adjective-depleting kind. Although that other fuzzy and useless descriptor “nervous” did not, fortunately, make an appearance.

 Aristea’s Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon 2017 is a new addition in the Aristea range, which hit the scene last year with two slam-dunk wines: Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. The Aristea goods have caused various wet spots of excitement within the international market place, with the UK and America clamouring for the stuff.

 Having previously commented on the Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay, the Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon blend was of special interest to me in ascertaining whether the class of those first two Aristea wines was being continued.

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Matthew Jukes,
Money Week October 2018

You may remember that I went nuts about the inaugural, 2016 vintage of Aristea Chardonnay this time last year.  Twelve months on and this pioneering enterprise have released five brand new wines.  The new 2017 vintage of Chardonnay is even finer than its predecessor as is the 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon, which embeds even more depth of fruit into its core. 

Alongside these two beauties, there is a daring 2017 Sauvignon Blanc / Semillon blend, which sets the bar staggeringly high, and two fascinating sparklers. 

 Martin Krajewski’s (of Château Séraphine, Pomerol and Clos Cantenac, Saint-Emilion fame) Cape odyssey has rocketed away from the blocks and winemaker Matt Krone’s (twelfth generation wine dynasty), ably assisted by French winemaking guru Florent Dumeau, is already working wonders. 

 The 2015 Méthode Cap Classique Blanc is a dreamy wine with luxurious fruit but it is my featured Rosé, which blew me away.  I am immensely fussy about sparkling rosé and this wine is not just an impressive South African fizz, it is also a world-class rosé and it’s stunning value wine to boot. I would urge you to taste them all and you will see why Martin was so confident of success when he set up this inspirational new label.


 

Steven Spurrier

MCC Cap Classique Blanc 2015 - 91/100

Pale gold, quite full like a mature Champagne, tiny but discreet bubbles, bready, biscuity nose, naturally rich but plainly dry, full and broad on the palate but shows good firm fruit, clarity and lifted acidity on the finish shows it will age well. 

 MCC Cap Classique Rose 2016 - 90/100

Fine pale rose, Cotes de Provence with an orange tinge, summer berries on the nose dominated by wild strawberries, discreet bubbles caress the palate which fills out elegantly while the smooth, creamy texture keeps the freshness leading to a harmonious finish that calls for a second glass. 

Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon 2017 - 91/100

Clear lemon yellow, fresh white berry Sauvignon Blanc fruit dominates the nose, white fruits evident on the palate, the Semillon rounding out the vibrant edges of Sauvignon, good expression of ripe fruit on the middle palate, nicely broad and fully flavoured with lemony acidity to refresh the finish. 

Chardonnay 2017 - 93/100.

Fine lemon yellow with good clarity and freshness, some florality and white fruits on the nose, evidence of stone fruits to come, already elegant and citrusy elements promise refreshing acidity, clear and clean,, very well balance with a persistent finish, a very well-made wine with a 5 year future. 

 Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 - 92/100

Very fine deep red still with a purple rim, a lovely looking wine, rich black fruits on the nose, cherries and plums, black currants but no briary blackberries, smooth and rich on the palate, oak blended in well and very satisfying flavours and texture from a warm year, tannins are there and the wine could age well, but exuberant fruit is attractive now. 


 

Tim Atkin MW

Aristea Chardonnay 2017 – 93/100- Stellenbosch (13.5%)

An impressive follow up to the debut 2016 release, this is modern, stylish, deftly judged Chardonnay where the oak, lees, acidity and fruit weight all combine seamlessly on the palate. 2019 – 2024

Aristea Sauvign Blanc/Semillon 2017 – 90/100 - Elgin (13.5%)

Another new addition to the Aristea line up from increasingly fashionable Elgin, this is Bordeaux influenced blend of Sauvignon with 25% Semillon. The oak is quite assertive but give it time to meld with the subtle lees and grapefruit and lemongrass flavours. 2019-2022

Aristea Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 – 90/100- Stellenbosch (14.0%)

It is quite a firm, muscular Cabernet with notes of fig and dried herbs and a leafy undertone. Maybe just needs time in bottle. 2020-2024

Aristea MCC rose 2016 – 91/100- Stellenbosch (12.5%)

A new addition to the Aristea range. MCC is one of the fastest growing categories in South Africa – this very pale pink fizz combines Chardonnay with 18% Pinot Noir. Light and elegant with subtle autolysis and rosehip and raspberry fruit. 2019-2023


 

Jane Masters MW

Aristea Methode Cap Classique Blanc 2015 - Western Cape

It is elegant and complex on the nose with ripe peaches, stone fruit and a toasty brioche character.  It is fine in texture with a soft creamy mid palate, fine mousse and refreshing acidity on the finish.  This is a fresh and elegant style perfect for drinking over the next few years.  Produced from a combination of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes picked in the cool early morning.  The whole bunches were slowly pressed and only the first fraction of juice used to produce Aristea.  After fermentation and malo-lactic in tank, the base wine was blended and bottled for a lengthy secondary fermentation and maturation in bottle for three years.

Aristea Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon 2017 - Elgin

Pale in colour, it has aromas of lime, lime blossom with fresh green leaves behind.  It is initially soft on the palate developing a crisp and mouth watering acidity with herbal flavours, blackcurrant, mellow oak and a mineral finish. The oak is unobtrusive and perfectly integrated. 

Aristea Chardonnay 2017 - Stellenbosch

It is smooth and medium bodied with butterscotch and spicy flavours complementing ripe white fruits. A citrus and sour Mirabelle plum acidity is combined with a lingering toasty finish to produce a complex and moreish wine. The juice was fermented and matured for 11 months in a combination of French oak barrels with 40% new, 30% second fill and 30% third fill.  Each barrel underwent malo-lactic fermentation and the lees regularly stirred.

Aristea Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 - Stellenbosch

Intensely coloured, it has aromas of dark fruits, blackcurrants, smoky creosote notes with a meaty edge.  It is smooth on the palate with a juicy acidity.  Fine in texture, it is medium bodied with flavours of fresh blackcurrants, crushed raspberries, dark chocolate and vanilla leading to a succulent and moreish finish. After fermentation, the wine was racked into barrel for malo-lactic and matured for eighteen months, using a classic combination of a third new, a third one year old and a third two year old French oak barrels.


 

Jane Anson,
Decanter Magazine

Aristea MCC Brut 2015 - 94/100

Extremely delicate on the attack, the mousse is quite up front, could be a little more persistent, but the fruit and the fragrance is utterly gorgeous, and it grips right through the palate. The Chardonnay takes the lead over the Pinot in terms of mouth-feel, perhaps helped because they use a little barrel fermented Chardonnay as the expedition liquor after 36 months on the lees. The flavours gently layer up, with honeysuckle, citrus zest and crushed almond biscuit alongside a tighter slate twist. The complexity becomes clearer as it travels along and this is an impressive wine.

Aristea MCC Brut Rosé 2015 - 91/100

A little shorter 24 months on the lees for the rosé compared to the white, to avoid heaviness. This is much fresher, fruitier with rosehips and redcurrants, a few softer notes of frangipane. Not quite the same persistency through the palate, but a hugely attractive and softly-spoken sparkling rosé, with a mouth-watering finish. Low SO2 in both of the MCCs. 91/100

Aristea Sauvignon Semillon blend 2017 - 90/100

Anyone used to Bordeaux or New Zealand Sauvignon needs to sit with this for a minute and let its own character get established. Far less grassy than a typical sauvignon blend, has a real sense of place, I feel like there are wild flowers growing among these vines, leaving their trace in the glass.  First vintage of this, and there is a wild edge to the nose that will be interesting to see how it plays out over other vintages (I believe the grapes were whole bunch pressed, so that may account for the slightly herbaceous edge that is enjoyable but striking). Great persistency, acidity feels well managed, as it gives lift but no tightness, and I get attractive bursts of saline minerality through the close of play. 100% french oak, 500l barrels all 2nd 3rd fill except one new for the sauvignon (maybe I would switch that to the sémillon?). 

Aristea Chardonnay 2017 - 96/100

There has a gorgeous reductive flinty nose that swirls out of the glass, giving way to a one-two hit of well-defined citrus and white flowers on the attack. The texture gathers weight and the wine expands outwards through the palate. Clever winemaking also - they use 5% of the base from the MCC to give a shot of freshness. Really gorgeous smokiness coming in on the finish, with a whisper of cold ash and wood smoke next to the richer citrus core that lifts it and cuts off any sweetness. There is a juicy finish, apricot pit comes through after a few minutes in the glass, really a gorgeous and well put together wine. Best one in the line up for me.

Aristea Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 - 95/100

They did have the other components of a Bordeaux blend but at the moment of ageing they decided not to use the merlot or cab franc, just wanted the expression of this Cabernet Sauvignon, and I'm totally glad they did. It has the extremely aromatic yet savoury edge of a great Cabernet, and across the palate it plays with spiced almonds, rich cassis, bilberry and tar. I like that it accentuates the purity of fruit, there is a power here, it's a slow build in a good way, liquorice comes in on the finish, but this is not a chocolate cab, it majors instead dark cassis with touches of hawthorn. Rich tight, controlled, great quality. A softness comes in on the finish showing the tannins are well worked and ripe.


 

JULIA HARDING MW,
JANCIS ROBINSON

Sauvignon/Semillon 2017 – 17.0/20

Quite a strong influence from the cedary oak at this early stage but it does not overwhelm the tangy, grassy and citrus fruit. On the palate, there is a light but attractive bitterness with adds to the freshness of the acidity. Good fruit depth to handle the barrel fermentation and a subtle creamy texture. Good length with a slightly chewy finish. Lots of freshness from start to finish. (JH)

 Chardonnay 2017 – 16.5/20

Fragrant with creamy citrus and a hint of oak spice, nicely restrained on the nose. The oak is a little more obvious on the palate, as if the fruit couldn't quite stand up to it – at least not as well as in their Sauvignon/Sémillon blend from Elgin. Certainly has very good freshness on the finish. (JH)

MCC Blanc 2015 – 16.5/20

Wide-girthed heavy bottle. Pale gold. Yeasty, biscuity aroma, big bubbles, full-flavoured with a touch of spice on the palate. More flavour than elegance but has more autolytic character than many non-champagne traditional-method wines made from champagne varieties. Balanced on the mid palate but the dosage shows a little on the finish. (JH)

Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 – 17/20

Attractive flower label. Deep crimson with ruby rim. Rich, spicy black fruit and with the attractive herbaceous (but not green) character of SA Cabernet, just a little bit minty. The palate is already starting to show some complexity of leathery spice, even tar, but blackcurrant fruit is still to the fore. Just a hint of oak sweetness. Firm but rounded tannins and surprising freshness on the finish. Classic Stellenbosch Cabernet with enough fruit to fill out the structure and dominate the oak influence. Long, elegant finish and a step up from the 2016. (JH)

 MCC Rose 2016 – 16.5/20

Pretty orangey-pink. Lots of red fruit on the nose and just a touch of bready autolytic character - though more than I would have expected after 24 months on the lees. Powerful in its fruit and seems better balanced than the white on the finish than the 2016 white MCC, even though the dosage is a little higher here, as if a slight tannin texture helps with the harmony. Big bubbles and plenty of fruit on the palate. Fills the mouth and would be great for anyone who finds some champagnes too austere. There is a richness rather than a sweetness on the palate. (JH)


 

MICHAEL OLIVIER

Michael Olivier's Aristea Advent Calender

Always exciting when a new range of wines appears on the market.  Even more exciting is that the winemaker of the range, Matthew Krone, is an 11th generation winemaker. In recent times, the Krone family have made major contributions to the wine industry. 

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EMILE JOUBERT,
THE WINE GOGGLE

A Taste of Three Worlds in Aristea Wines

In vino veritas, and the truth is that South Africa is a grand and sought-after wine country. From all corners of the globe, individuals and corporates with a shared love of wine and the wine business are jetting in to the winelands to get a stake of the action. They see potential, they goofy-foot an energetic wave of optimism when too many locals remain shrouded in the mists of gloom.

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Caroline Rillema,
Caroline’s Wines,
Cape Town

ARISTEA CHARDONNAY 2016

The Chardonnay is beautifully elegant, poised and clean. The quality of the oak is exceptional and well-managed and nicely integrated into the wine and does not dominate the subtle fruit notes. All-in-all a really fine Chardonnay almost Northern Hemisphere in style.

ARISTEA CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2015

The Cabernet Sauvignon has loads of red and black summer berries and a hint of spice on the nose and palate. Hints of tobacco also come through on palate, behind the lovely blackcurrant fruit. Supple tannins on the plush fruit core. Very nice oak, once again.


 

Jane Masters MW,
OPIMIAN WINE

15 December 2017

An even newer kid on the block, Aristea is a project created by Opimian supporter and friend Martin Krajewski from Clos Cantenac in Saint Émilion, together with Matt Krone from the Cape and winemaking consultant Florent Dumeau. 

These are the first Aristea wines ever produced, which I tasted with Martin in June this year. They were subsequently launched to the wine trade and press in London and are already creating quite a stir amongst the critics; deservedly so!

ARISTEA CHARDONNAY, STELLENBOSCH, 2016

Pale in colour, Aristea Chardonnay is an elegant, refined and complex wine with doughy, bready notes combined with subtle white fruits. I was immediately blown away when I first tasted Aristea in Bordeaux with Martin in June. Re-tasting in September for this cellar offering simply confirmed my first impressions. Soft ripe fruits, peaches, vanilla yoghurt and lemon curd flavours all linger on the palate. Chardonnay grapes were harvested by hand into small lug boxes on January 29th, 2016, and chilled overnight. Half of the fruit was whole-bunch pressed, the other half de-stemmed and pressed. Fermentation in barrel with 40% new oak was followed by malolactic fermentation and a further 11 months aging in oak with regular stirring of the yeast lees.

ARISTEA CABERNET SAUVIGNON, STELLENBOSCH, 2015

Dense plum in colour, showing some development around the rim, Aristea Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 has aromas of cooked blackcurrants and smoke with a leafy herbal edge. Warm in character, it has a distinctly leafy Cabernet Sauvignon flavour, which complements the ripe fruits. Soft and rich with good tannin structure, it is a full-bodied wine, concentrated and supple with smooth rounded edges. The Cabernet Sauvignon grapes come from selected parcels of old vines in Stellenbosch. The wine underwent malolactic fermentation in barrel and matured subsequently for 18 months using 33% new, 33% second fill and 33% third fill oak barrels.

 

 

Neil Pendock,
Times South Africa

Bottle of the week: Aristea Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

Why? Stellenbosch calls itself the Kingdom of Cabernet and when you taste royal wines like this one, you can see they have a point. For it is made by Cape wine royalty in the shape of Matthew Krone of bubbly fame in partnership with Martin Krajewski, a UK investor with vineyards in Pomerol and Saint Émilion and Florent Dumeau, a famous Bordeaux consultant. The Krones have been making the stuff for 12 generations and it shows.

It’s something of a cliche to say the wine tatstes French, but it does.. By which I mean that less is more. No big and booming flavours with jammy overripe notes but rather elegance and understatement. Try a bottle with roast Karoo lamb chops as cooked by Nick Charalambous at Love Thy Neighbour, a Cypriot oasis on Bree Street. Cassis and cinnamon with a whiff of mint pairs remarkably well with the Karoo’s finest.

Most of the wine has been snapped up by the UK market but for those interested in tasting the counter charge to all those hipster Swartland Syrahs, this is a good place to start.

Rating: *****
 


John & Lynne Ford,
MENU CAPE

Aristea wines launch in Cape Town

Matthew Krone has been beavering away for the last few years making his own wines. We were invited with other members of the media and the wine industry, to the launch to taste two of them and to meet his partners in this venture called Aristea at Welgemeend Manor House in Gardens, Cape Town.

The partners are Martin Krajewski (wine industry legend from the UK, who also owns vineyards in St Emilion and Pomerol) and Florent Dumeau (renowned Bordeaux winemaker and wine consultant). He told us that they are 'three wine friends' from the UK, France and South Africa, who each already have their own wine brands / wine ventures and many years of accumulated winemaking experience. When he discovered that both partners were going to be in South Africa at the same time, he decided that this was the perfect time to launch two of the wines here.

First the Chardonnay. It is very Burgundian in style, with a little African sun added. Light wood is present but will soften; a subtle nose with a little stone fruit. The wine has a lovely silky mouth feel and flavours of limes, white peaches, butter and toast with a touch of marmalade on the finish. So good to drink.

The Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 has a tight incense wood nose, rather French in style, perfumed with violets, cassis and mulberries. Also soft and silky, rounded with a dash of spice, dark cherries, blackberries, some warmth and then dark salty liquorice. Drinking beautifully now, with good aging potential.

The labels are designed by botanical watercolourist Vicky Thomas. The blue spike of flowers on the labels is the Aristea - a flower that blooms in the Cape and Madagascar only after fire and devastation and for just one day.

 

Bottle of the Week: Aristea Chardonnay 2016

How much and where? R290; www.aristeawines.com

 Why? To launch a wine called Aristea (a type of Iris) at Welgegund, an old Cape mansion on the slopes of Table Mountain, is bringing it all back home as the plant grows only in the Cape and Madagascar. Rarely has a wine and a plant been so well matched: elegant and delicate with a spindly stretched out form. Etiolated, like a super model, to be served only in the thinest of glasses.

The grapes hail from Stellenbosch, ground zero for quality Chardonnay and the wine was fashioned by Matthew Krone whose family has been making the stuff for 12 generations. Mostly in Tulbagh on the dried-up fatal shores of the Swartland.

So it was a promising start when the launch was interrupted by a clap of thunder and a gust of wind that sent stemware crashing. A summer rainstorm in the midst of the worst drought in living memory.

Of course what’s most likely happening is the Cape is moving away from the Mediterranean model of winter rainfall to more of a tropical reality. So load up on these cool climate beauties while they can still be made.

Fragant flowers on the nose, the palate is creamy chalk with a lingering finish. Just like the succulent west coast oysters doing the cocktail party rounds this season. Matt has two partners in the venture: Bordeaux oenologist Florent Dumeau and UK vinous investor Martin Krajewski who knows his onions so well he sold a Bordeaux property to Jack Ma of Alibaba fame two years ago.

Aristeas pop up after bushfires rip through the hills and fields. A sure sign that nature regenerates and new beginnings follow disasters. A delicate light at the end of the very dark tunnel SA wine finds itself in at the minute.  

Rating: *****

 

Neil Pendock,
Times south africa

TIM ATKIN MW

Aristea Chardonnay 2016 Stellenbosch (13%)

An exciting new release from this recently launched venture in Stellenbosch, this was picked early in a hot dry year to retain acidity. Showing subtle, restrained oak, tangy acidity and yeasty complexity, it’s fresh and focused with citrus, orange zest and mineral flavours. Quite a début. Drink 2018-22

93/100
 

Aristea Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 Stellenbosch (14%)

You’d expect a man with two properties in Bordeaux to know how to make Cabernet Sauvignon and in Martin Krajewski’s case you’d be right. This first release is a very impressive idea, showing that the brand has enormous potential. Fine tannins, mint and chocolate notes, stylish oak handling and a twist of vanilla spice. Drink 2018-27

93/100

 

 

 
 

JANE ANSON,
decanter magazine



 

Aristea Chardonnay 2016

"Waits a heartbeat then kicks in, this is a soft and very lovely Chardonnay that builds in power across the palate without going too far, really attractive with plenty of rich white peach and subtle vanillin character. Barrel fermented in French oak, 40% new of varying sizes up to 500 liter with lees stirring."

92/100
 

Aristea Cabernet Sauvignon 2016

"100% Cabernet Sauvignon, well ripened fruit on the nose and beautifully fleshy plum colour in the glass. This has the fresh aspect of South African Cabernet without straying into green pepper, just a lovely emphasis of vibrant fruit and firm tannins. Needs a few minutes in the glass before the spicy side opens up and the juicy blackcurrant fruit begins to unfurl. Aged in one-third new oak barrels. 14% abv, well in balance. This is an enjoyable wine with a clear personality."

93/100

 
 

 
 

JANE MASTERS MW

Aristea Chardonnay 2016 

"Medium yellow in colour, vanilla, oaky and tropical fruits, spicy and complex with a mellow soft attack. Broad and layered texture, fruit and more vanilla, elegant, great balance with long spicy finish, completely integrated."
 

Aristea Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

"Intense dense plum colour, restrained, mulberry, some smoke, herbal with a soft attack of floral, lavender, fresh berry fruits, forest fruits and plums. A soft palate structure with good acidity and supple fruit with good grip on finish, potential to mature and will benefit and mellow with some more time in bottle."

 
 

 
 

MATTHEW JUKES

2016 Aristea Chardonnay

"The inaugural release from this fascinating new project is bold, mineral-soaked, stony and firm on the palate with an attacking nose and a strident lime-themed palate.  The oak is fairly intense with delicious butterscotch and nougat touches.  Richer and fuller than expected for the declared 13% alc. this is a classically assembled wine that has a severe, acid-driven tone underpinning and balancing the lushness of fruit." 
 

2015 Aristea Cabernet Sauvignon

"This is a very well-judged wine with more of a nod to the Old World than that of the New. Genuinely refreshing acidity and crunchy spice and earth notes for the perfect platform for the fruit to perform.  There is a nicely weighted palate with and good degree of calmness surrounding a dark, bloody, cassis centre.  Carefully judged oak completes the picture.  This is a wine that looks more to the Tuscan coast for inspiration than it does to Bordeaux and it achieves this subtlety with balance and aplomb. "

 
 

 
 

JULIA HARDING MW, jancisrobinson.com

 

 

ARISTEA Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

"Deep crimson. Classic leafy aroma of South African Cabernet that often reminds me more of Cabernet Franc on the nose. Cedary too and invitingly herbal and aromatic. That same herbaceous quality on the palate alongside cedar and cassis and a depth that is more suggestive of Cabernet Sauvignon. Very firm but very fine tannins and it is an impressive first vintage with good ageing potential. There's dark chocolate and oak spice on the finish, and just a little bit of alcoholic warmth at the very end. Definitely needs time."

16.5+/20
 

ARISTEA Chardonnay 2016

"Rich and sophisticated on the nose, with a lovely oak and lees character that promises much. The ‘merest’ hint of struck-match reduction works well but does not detract from the fruit. On the palate, plenty of oak spice in evidence but also a satisfying mealy fullness. Full bodied but avoids heaviness and savoury with a long finish. I tasted it again with some aged hard cheese from Sardinia and increased my score from 16.5 to 17 because tasting it with food really made the wine shine. It's a big Chardonnay but neither fat nor overdone."

17/20