Twenty-two years after their first vintage, the 2000 Cabernet Sauvignon, took out Best Wine at the Sheraton Wine Awards, the core formula of basket-pressed classics remains, coupled with an evolution of sustainable practices and some creative experimentation. Winemaker Conrad Tritt is straddling the boundary between upholding the Bordeaux stalwarts and dabbling in the realm of the contemporary minded customer. A block of Chenin Blanc that was planted right at the beginning has always been made in a dry style. A cane cut Chenin Blanc dessert wine followed around 15 years ago, followed by the Crémant de Grace Sparkling, and most recently a Pet Nat. The grape has adapted and flourished over a wave of style changes and drinking fashions.
More than anything, Cape Grace wines are built to age well. The museum selection of back-vintages is held and released carefully, with the future and the past always in mind. Likewise, Robert reports that from the very first bottle sold in their kitchen, he and Karen have kept a log, now a very useful database, of all their customers. Like the 2010 Chardonnay you placed aside for later, there’s nothing more satisfying than seeing and tasting the fruits of your labour in the light of retrospect. It’s this patience and forethought that has cemented Cape Grace’s endurance, and the reason it can still hold its own in a sea of over 150 regional cellar doors, which were not yet numbering 50 in the late nineties.