De Toren, Fusion V, Stellenbosch, South Africa, 2016 through Merchant of Wine.

De Toren, Fusion V, Stellenbosch, South Africa, 2016

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Overview of the Wine
De Toren proprietors Emil and Sonette den Dulk left Johannesburg in 1991 to establish their vineyards in the Polkadraai Hills of Stellenbosch. Situated on southern facing slopes overlooking False Bay, De Toren enjoys the cooling effect of constant ocean breezes. Taking a holistic approach to keeping vineyard soils healthy and balanced, viticulturalist Ernest Manuel employs sustainable farming practices throughout the property. Infrared Aerial Imaging is used extensively in order to monitor ripeness in various vineyard blocks and determine optimal picking times, although actual harvesting and production are done almost entirely by hand.

The winery is operated on gravity flow principles; a 4000 liter pressure tank in an elevator shaft (the "Tower" from which the winery takes its name) is cleverly used to exploit gravity in transporting wine between tanks and barrels without the use of mechanical pumps. As a result of De Toren’s innovative, minimal intervention production methods, their wines were among the first South African bottlings to qualify for IP (Integrated Production) certification by the Wine and Spirit Board.

The Den Dulks and winemaker Albie Koch seem to have found the key to success with their simple winemaking philosophy: gentle handling, no pumps, and minimum manipulation. Armed with this winning formula, the boutique farm has quickly risen to the ranks of South Africa’s winemaking elite with their duo of dazzling, stylish and complex five-varietal Bordeaux blends: the flagship Fusion V (which debuted in the 1999 vintage and has been hailed by Wine Spectator as "a consistently polished, outstanding Cabernet Sauvignon-based blend") and the Merlot-based "Z," introduced with the 2004 vintage.

In 2018 upon Emil’s decision to take a step back, Daniel Mueller, Cedric Schweri, Albie Koch and Cape Estate became the majority owners.

De Toren has been in conversion to become Ecocert Certified Organic, with 2019 marking the third year of the three-year required transition period. The winery has always believed in sustainable farming but the more research they conducted on soil health the more they became certain that organic production was the best course forward to ensure long term well-being. This shift will help to progressively stimulate the soil’s health which in turn enables greater plant growth, increased immunity and self-protection to produce even more balanced and complex berries.

Grape / Blend
52% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Malbec, 14% Cabernet Franc, 11% Merlot, 7% Petit Verdot

Origin
Stellenbosch, South Africa

Winemaker's Tasting Notes
The iconic Left Bank-based blend from De Toren, Fusion V is meticulously crafted from Bordeaux’s ‘Noble Five’ varietals and, with its complex flavours of liquorice, black cherry, cedar and dark berries, it offers a stylish departure for sophisticated oenophilic tastes.Soft as spun silk, with a lingering hint of sweet fruit on the back palate, this is a wine that will only improve with age.

95 Points - Tim Atkin
It's rare that I prefer a Stellenbosch property's top red in 2016 to 2015, but that's the case here on one of the most enjoyable, well-balanced Fusion Vs I've had in a while. Combining Cabernet Sauvignon with 48% Malbec, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Petit Verdot, it sees 20% new wood and is a wonderfully harmonious wine. Serious and concentrated with fine perfume, plum, cedar and liquorice flavours, silky tannins, mocha oak and a fresh, nuanced finish. 2022-31

94 Points - Decanter
Showcasing the Cape’s ability to turn out great Left Bank-style blends is this Cabernet Sauvignon-dominant wine from Stellenbosch’s De Toren Private Cellar. Fusion V, the boutique winery’s flagship label, takes its name for its selection of the best of Bordeaux’s ‘noble 5’ grape varieties that comprise the blend; 52% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Malbec, 14% Cabernet Franc, 11% Merlot, 7% Petit Verdot. A rich and concentrated wine filled with mixed red and black berries, hints of dark chocolate and an oak-spiciness around the edges. It has a lovely smooth texture and is extremely drinkable. A great recommendation from one of the sommeliers at The Butcher Shop restaurant and deli in Cape Town, where it's also available to purchase. Drinking Window 2019 - 2029

93 Points - Wine Enthusiast
Blackberry, plum and currant fruit aromas form the bouquet of this enticing red, with additional notes of cedar box, pipe tobacco and licorice root. The palate is smooth and velvety in feel, with moderate tannins that frame the plush fruit flavors and offer lingering grip and structure through the close. Final impressions of black plum skin and cigar box spice carry the finish. Cape Classics.

90 Points - Wine Spectator
Sleek and focused, with notes of nutmeg gliding along, showing red currant and damson plum fruit midpalate. The tannins are very well-integrated. A touch of sanguine adds complexity on the finish. Harmonious. Drink now through 2025.

90 Points - Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
A blend of 52% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Malbec, 14% Cabernet Franc, 11% Merlot and 7% Petit Verdot, the 2016 Fusion V checks all the boxes currently and will be a sleeper of a wine. Sandwiched between two excellent vintages for Stellenbosch, the wine offers dark berry essence, classic oak expressions and hints of cassis, dark plum and cherry in the glass. Full-bodied, the wine offers a seamless and balanced structure in the mouth with lifting tannins and energetic acidity framing the ripe fruit expression. The wine concludes with a long finish, and it drinks well now but will undoubtedly reward those who practice patience and maintain a cellar. It’s wonderful now, but I see it getting better at 15 years of age. Rating: 90+


Product size: 750ml

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