The latest Craven wines excite with their verve and keen sense of balance. As Stellenbosch revolutionaries, Mick and Jeanine Craven’s constant experimentation and their willingness to fight for great little parcels, have made them the poster couple for bringing whole-bunch, skin contact, early picking and all things geeky to Stellenbosch. These Young Gunners are the Stellenbosch champions of light, yet complex wines.
The Craven Clairette Blanche 2016 is their established white and comes off a small 35-year-old block in the Polkadraai Hills. It celebrates the delicate aromas and bright acidity of Clairette but with a gentle length on the palate courtesy of partial skin contact. In a word: ‘Smashable,’ says Christian Eedes.
Their confidence and clarity of vision are apparent in the two Syrahs on offer. Both are 100% whole-bunch fermented and made with a minimum-intervention approach. The Craven Faure Vineyard Syrah 2016 is a bit weightier and from rocky shale and granitic soil, whilst the Craven Syrah The Firs Vineyard 2016 is more delicate and linear in its presentation being grown on clay-rich soils. They both show remarkable detail and texture for wines of 12% alcohol and lower, with really fine, persistent tannins allowing for great purity of fruit. All Craven wines are bone-dry. While these are best enjoyed young, they will gain from an extra 6 months to a year in the bottle. Only available in small volumes.
Mick and Jeanine have experimented with a few new vineyards, including a Chenin and a Cinsaut, that look really smart. We look forward to greater volumes of the 2017s. Let us know if you would like to be added to our allocation list.
Craven, Faure Vineyard Syrah 2016 – R 220
From a vineyard on particularly rocky soil. Top notes of flowers and fynbos before red and black fruit plus white pepper. Pure fruit, fresh acidity and lovely crunchy tannins – everything that is good about the variety. – Christian Eedes, 93/100
Craven, The Firs Vineyard Syrah 2016 – R 220
From a Devon Valley vineyard on dark red clay. Lavender, dark fruit and pepper on the nose. Appears fuller than its Faure Vineyard counterpart despite an alcohol of just 11.87%. Succulent fruit, chewy tannins but perhaps the less detailed of the two. – Christian Eedes, 92/100
Craven, Clairette Blanche 2016 – R 155
Citrus and stone fruit on the nose and palate. Light, fresh and entirely smashable. – Christian Eedes, 87/100