For those in the know (long before Columella first emerged on the scene) Cordoba Crescendo was South Africa's original post-apartheid cult wine. For one brief period in the mid to late 1990s, it was one of the most revered wines in the Cape. Cellarmaster Chris Keet's maiden 1995 vintage was something of a revelation, and not just for being the first Cabernet Franc dominated Cape Bordeaux-blend. The then owners started a replanting program in 1999, but by the early 2000s had lost interest in the farm and Keet moved on. The last vintage to be released was the 2003. Although wines were produced and bottled through 2004 to 2006, they were sold off – unlabelled - at a ridiculously low price. After 2006, the vineyards continued to be sufficiently well cared for, but the grapes were offered to other wineries
The farm is now called Taaibosch, after the indigenous Fynbos species that grows in profusion on the estate. Located on the steep slopes of the Helderberg, Taaibosch is a beautiful place, with varying 360° orientation and views centred on Cape Town and Table Mountain.
The vineyards sit at an elevation of between 230 and 350 m, just 7 km from False Bay. The combination of altitude and proximity to the ocean allows for a natural cooling system. Cabernet Sauvignon is planted in the lower reaches of the farm, at around 245 m above sea level. The aspect, however, climbs steeply to 385 m, where the Cabernet Franc is located. Merlot nestles on the middle reaches of the estate.
There is a new winery, although the vineyards remain the same that we are re-planted by Chris Keet some 20 years before. There is a new cellarmaster too in Schalk-Willem Joubert. Schalk has spent most of his career at Rupert and Rothschild in Franschhoek. This is where he first became acquainted with Bertrand Oddo, a director at R&R and one time CEO of Château Clarke in Bordeaux. The Oddo family originate from France, but also have interests in vineyards of their own, located around the vinous globe. They acquired the farm which had been on the market for several years, in 2017.
As with the old Cordoba, the plan is to focus on one Cabernet Franc based wine, which has also been christened Crescendo and is a direct descendent from the original release made by Keet. The first two vintages were made in the old cellar, with the 2018 being fermented in stainless steel and cement, before being moved to 225–litre barriques, one third of which were knew. The wine was blended after 14 months, with a further year spent in a combination of large oak and cement before bottling.