Chateau Libertas might be a “paragon of value and drinkability” according to Platter’s 2012 but the truth of the matter is that this 80-year-old Distell-owned brand has been running out of puff. “Supermarkets started it using it as a loss-leader and discounting it heavily. We got stuck in Obikwa and Tall Horse territory,” says marketing spokesperson Jackie Olivier.
How to revitalise the brand? For one thing, a packaging make-over (see here) which will hopefully get punters to engage with the brand once again. For another, a vertical tasting going back to 1940 to demonstrate the excellent value relative to price that this brand has delivered over the decades.
Production of the fantastic 1978 amounted to 300 000 litres and the wine sold for all of R26 a twelve-bottle case. Volumes grew to an all-time high of 2.2 million litres in 2000 and now sits at 800 000 litres, the 2010 having a recommended retail price of R34 a bottle.
Predominantly Cabernet Sauvignon but including Cinsaut and some of the Port varieties. Abv 14.93%. Decaying forest floor, orange rind and caramel on the nose. Rich, thick textured and mellow on the palate. Not unlike Tawny Port.
Marmite, earthy, truffle-like notes on the nose. Good vinosity. Dark fruit, fresh to the point of tart acidity and fine tannins.
50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Pinotage, 10% Gamay, 5% Cinsaut, 5% Shiraz. Red fruit, spice and slight vegetal overtone on the nose. Medium bodied, appealing but no great intensity, moderate acidity.
60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Cinsaut. Lovely fynbos perfume and red fruit on the nose. Juicy and fresh on the palate. Great fruit expression for its age. Delicate but very flavourful. Well balanced.
70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Cinsaut. Red and black fruit as well as tobacco on the nose. Medium bodied with bright acidity and fine tannins. Lacks intensity but not without charm.
60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 20% Cinsaut. Dark fruit, herbal edge. Austere and lacking distinction.
Red fruit on the nose and palate. Relatively rich and broad with good fruit concentration and a hint of spice. Bright acidity lends balance. Entirely satisfying.
Red and black fruit on the nose and palate. Acidity appears quite sharp making the wine feel angular and awkward.
Slight reductive note. Dark fruit on the nose and palate. Medium bodied, bright acidity, little tannic grip. Simple but not unpleasing.
Very reductive. Black cherry on the nose and palate. Light bodied, tart acidity and finishes quite short.