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IGreg Sherwood MW

Van Biljon Wines – The Undiscovered Fine Wine
Gem in the Heart of the Polkadraai Hills of


This beautiful small boutique farm is situated in the famed Polkadraai Hills region of Stellenbosch,
sitting alongside famous neighbours like Reyneke Wines, Raats Family Wines and De Toren. While
most of these excellent wines rose to fame for originating in Stellenbosch, more recently, as
collectors and connoisseurs have started to scratch a little deeper into the finer details of the
individual wards and terroirs of the region, the Polkadraai has risen to new heights of fame
globally. Known for its deep fertile soils and well drained decomposed granitic soils and
moderating sea breezes off the False Bay lying to the South, the terroir has formed a perfect home
to the classic Bordeaux varieties of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit



As if the wonderful terroir wasn’t enough, the wines are made by one of the great winemakers of
the Cape, Chris Keet, creator of the legendary Cordoba Crescendo 1995 Cape Bordeaux Red that
lights up the Cape fine wine auction houses with big R8000+ prices (£400) when bottles
occasionally come on the market for sale. Chris is a master with Bordeaux varieties and
meticulously crafts an impressive Cape Bordeaux Blend using traditional winemaking techniques
combined with modern technology to produce wines with intensity, concentration, balance and

Tasting the Van Biljon 2017 and 2018 and the Keet First Verse 2018 Bordeaux blend with Chris Keet
at the winery in March 2022.

I first became acquainted with the Van Biljon CINQ after tasting the 2013 vintage which I rated
93/100 back in October 2016. Subsequent vintages like the 2014 seemed to just get better and
better, rating 94+/100 when tasted in October 2018. I sadly missed the epic 2015 vintage which
sold out very quickly to an airline group I understand but was thrilled to taste the fabulous 2017
new release again when Julia Van Biljon was over in London recently. This is definitely a wine that
flies under the fine wine radar but undoubtedly deserves to be far better know as it stands among
the great Bordeaux Blends produced in the Western Cape winelands.









Van Biljon Wines CINQ 2017, WO Stellenbosch, 14.4% Abv.
2.3 g/l RS | 5.8 g/l TA | 3.5 pH

The 2017 CINQ is a blend of 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Cabernet Franc, 11% Merlot, 6%
Malbec and 6% Petit Verdot and spent 18 months maturing in selected French oak barrels. This is a
seductive and enticing Cape Bordeaux blend that utilises all five red Bordeaux varieties to great
effect. On the nose there is initially a pronounced sweet cedar and sappy red fruited spiciness from
the Cabernet Franc before notes of dried herbs, chai tea, black currant and dusty graphite come to
the fore. The well-honed palate shows considerable elegance and harmony with a fine grained
textural balance revealing layers of spicy red and black berry fruits, notes of cherry tobacco and a
tart, tangy acidity on a long, weightlessly concentrated finish. Stony drying tannins lend a further
air of seriousness, structure and age ability on the long sleek finish. An attractive offering that
must rank among the finest releases from Chris Keet and the Van Biljon winery to date. Drink this
from release or over the next 10 to 15+ years.

(Wine Safari Score: 95+/100 Greg Sherwood MW)


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