Keet, First Verse 750ml 2017South Africa, Stellenbosch
The 2017 Keet First Verse eclipses the highly-rated and stunning 2015 with its sheer power, balance and elegance. Hailed as a near-perfect vintage by winemaker Chris Keet, the creator behind the now-legendary Cordobas of the mid-90s, the 2017 is the best Stellenbosch vintage he has experienced since 1997. It shows – this is an effortless wine.
Blend: 35% Cabernet Sauvignon, 34% Cabernet Franc, 14% Merlot, 10% Malbec and 7% Petit Verdot
'Chris Keet compares 2017 to 1997 as two "stand out vintages", when "all the stars aligned impeccably". He's certainly made the most of the year, fashioning another outstanding First Verse. Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc based, with the remaining 31% made up of Merlot, Malbec and Petit Verdot, this has a winning combination of power and restraint, with scented oak, smooth tannins and ripe blackberry, red berry and tobacco leaf notes. 2022-29.' – Tim Atkin MW, SA Special Report 2020, 96/100
'Consisting of 35% Cabernet Sauvignon, 34% Cabernet Franc, 14% Merlot, 10% Malbec and 7% Petit Verdot, it has attractive aromatics of red and black fruit, dried herbs and potpourri before a palate that is sweet, rich and broad with a plush texture. It’s certainly flavourful but you’d have to be a brave punter to think that this has the inherent structure to still be drinking well in 25 years’ time or so as those Crescendos still are…' – Christian Eedes, Winemag.co.za, 90/100
'I was immediately impressed with the deep, dark and brooding nose. Layered, plush and inviting. As the wine opens up, notes of earth, wet tobacco and cocoa join the dark fruit. ‘The 2017 First Verse is a deceptive wine,’ says Chris and I understand what he means. This is a wine essentially of power and elegance. An expression of the highest quality fruit from a near-perfect vintage with a plush and satisfying palate, seamlessly drinkable, but underpinned by fine-grained tannins and a special core of pure fruit. The 15% alcohol is remarkably balanced and in-check. Elegance, restraint and an undercarriage of focused, driven tannins make this a complete and well-rounded wine. Cosseted in new French oak, this is clearly Chris Keet’s best wine to date.' – James Pietersen (July 2020)
'The 2017 First Verse is a deceptive wine. Underlying the elegance, restraint and harmony is a core of focus, power and volume with textural precision. The purity of fruit is supported by subtle and seductive French Oak aromas with tannins polished to a fine-grained texture.' – Chris Keet, Winemaker
Tasting notes on the 2015 vintage:
'Chris Keet isn't well known outside South Africa – he's a modest, quietly spoken soul – but he's one of the Cape's finest oenologists, first at Cordoba and now at his own winery. Produced in what he calls a 'humdinger vintage', this is the best release yet. Sourced from eight sites across Stellenbosch, it's a seamless blend of the five Bordeaux varieties: classic, refined, nuanced and refreshing with silky tannins and near-perfect balance. Who's your daddy! Drink 2021-35.' – Tim Atkin MW, SA Report 2019, 97/100
After 15 years at the helm of producing award-winning wines at Cordoba, Christopher Keet began to entertain the thought of producing his own wines. He spent three months travelling in South America with his wife Léanne and children Robyn and Grant in 2008 and it was during this memorable adventure that he finally decided to follow his dream of producing his own wine.
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AG: Antonio Galloni of Vinous.com | AM: Allen Meadows of Burghound.com | CE: Christian Eedes of Winemag.co.za | DEC: Decanter | GS: Greg Sherwood MW | JS: James Suckling | JR: JancisRobinson.com | JD: Jeb Dunnuck | NM: Neal Martin of Vinous.com OM: Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show | PG: Platter's Guide | ST: Stephen Tanzer of Vinous.com | TA: Tim Atkin MW | VIN: Vinous.com | WA: Wine Advocate | WE: Wine Enthusiast | WM: Winemag.co.za Report | WS: Wine Spectator