Highlights: Thelema Rabelais 2021 Stellenbosch, South Africa

The Rabelais was originally the Thelema Cape Winemaker’s Guild red that we put in auction each year, says Thomas Webb. ‘My dad was a member of the guild from the early days, and we made it from our top Cabernet Sauvignon. We used to put a bit of Merlot in it. My dad resigned from the guild in 2009 and we had already prepared our 2007 vintage CWG red, so we decided to put it under the normal Thelema label and call it Rabelais.’

‘Stylistically it has always been our best Cabernet Sauvignon. From 2015 we started using a splash of Petit Verdot in the blend. It adds high acid, dark fruit and violet perfume.’

‘It’s a wine we are incredibly proud of.’

‘We still like lean, dry wines. We want intensity, but we don’t want heavy weight on the wine. We want something that is light on its feet and harmonious.’

Thelema Rabelais 2021 Stellenbosch, South Africa
14% alcohol. This is Thelema’s Flagship red wine made from the best Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot on the estate. It’s juicy and alive with bright red cherry and blackcurrant fruit, showing amazing focus with good acidity. Combining concentration and freshness, this has some notes of mint and chalk, as well as a twist of rosemary and thyme, but with the main focus being the vital, energetic blackcurrant fruit with some red fruit tartness. Very fine, and potentially long lived. There’s no fatness here at all: it’s fully ripe, but there’s no hint of overripeness. Think great Barolo crossed with great Bordeaux. 96/100