Vilafonté is a joint venture between Mike Ratcliffe of Warwick in Stellenbosch and American husband and wife Phil Freese and Zelma Long, Phil an accomplished viticulturist and Zelma equally skilled as a winemaker. The property is in the Simonsberg-Paarl ward and there are two wines under the Vilafonté label, Series C and Series M.
The 2009 vintage was recently released. Scores and tasting notes below:
Series C 2009: 18/20
54% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Merlot, 11% Cabernet Franc, 8% Malbec. Very expressive on the nose with notes of cassis, violets and attractive oak. The palate displays super-concentrated fruit, fresh acidity and fine tannins. Full bodied but perfectly proportioned. Plenty of weight and power but the wine is entirely in balance and retains great drinkability.
Series M 2009: 17/20
46% Malbec, 32% Merlot, 21% Cabernet Sauvignon, 1% Cabernet Franc. Ripe dark fruit and vanilla on the nose. The palate is rich but not unduly weighty. Snappy almost tangy acidity, tannins smooth but not slippery. A voluptuous wine, the high proportion of Malbec lending a slight wildness.
General observation: Prior to the 2009 vintage, the Vilafonté wines have always been serious but rather deliberate and imposing. What is striking about the new releases is that for all their intensity, they still have refreshment value.