TN: De Toren Fusion V Vertical

Notes on a vertical tasting of De Toren Fusion V

I belonged to a South African wine club back around the turn of the millennium, and so was aware of what was going on in SA in terms of winemaking. De Toren set out to produce their version of a left bank Bordeaux, and while the wine was always predominantly cabernet sauvignon based (always 50-70%) they included merlot, cabernet franc, malbec and petit verdot in the mix.

Their first vintage was 1999, and the first one that reached our market was 2001. I bought in each year and eventually accumulated nine vintages and decided that since they ranged in age from 11 to 23 years old it was time to take a look at them in a lunch tasting. I provided some boerewors sausage made locally and some dried beef (biltong) as a starter and another member prepared a really excellent bobotie , a ground beef dish with various spices and a custard topping that was lovely with the wines.

2020 Daschbosch (Chenin Blanc) Mossiedrift Steen – light straw colour, lovely nose of roasted nuts and apricot and a very long clean finish. Would be great fun in a blind Loire tasting.

I had decided to serve the wines in pairs and I double decanted them – rinsed the bottles and returned them to the bottle, having screened out any large sediment in both directions, then after some air time, I closed the bottles with soft rubber caps. As I had an odd number of bottles, I opted to include a ringer in the first pair – made from 100% cab sauv, to see what people thought.

2001 Plaisir de Merle Cabernet – light rim, and good colour, a nose that had green herbal motes plus some smoke and dark fruit, and a smooth medium length finish. Quite tasty.

2001 De Toren – dark, rich, ripe, with a slightly funky nose, decent but I thought the fruit was little stewy.

2002 De Toren – also dark, with a notably minty nose, clean mid-palate and lengthy finish with some floral elements – elegant.

2003 De Toren – a heavier greener nose, long dry finish with hints of very slight bitterness – interesting.

2004 De Toren – a ripe, rich Bordeaux nose in this one, with very faint mercaptan notes (but not strong enough to be a flaw), very nice on palate but failed to open up like some of the others.

2005 De Toren – a straight ahead Bordeaux nose on this one, excellent balane, good fruit levels and a long clean finish. Would love to put this in a blind Bordeaux tasting. A little mint crept in with time.

2006 De Toren – dark wine, a bit of a fruit bomb with all sorts of fruit elements – plum, blackberry, currant and on and on. Long sweet finish – the best for many attendees.

2008 De Toren – quite similar to the 2006 – a dark fruit nose with some cedar creeping in, excellent fruit levels on palate and a lengthy finish. This would make a great ringer in a blind Bordeaux tasting.

2012 De Toren – showed fairly young, with a dark fruit profile, more tannin, slight bret nose, and good balance. Should improve with age.

2013 De Toren – good fruit, slightly warm dark fruit nose with some cigar box to it, good structure, but I think it needs time to develop further.

With cheese, we stayed in theme, with a wine that came in a lopsided (either hand blown or intended to look like it was– I suspect the latter ) bottle that contained 500 ml…

2019 Klein Constantia Vin de Constance – this would be a ringer in a Sauternes tasting – nutmeg and fresh pear, except that I have tasted Sauternes en primeur and even at that stage they aren’t as fresh as this was. Is it as good as aged Sauternes? I’d have to say no, yet the resemblance is striking and it shows well many years before a Sauternes would be at it’s drinking peak. Fortunately for me it has very limited availability here so I will be spared the task of doing comparisons over a decade or two Interestingly, this is made from muscat de Frontignan, which would normally be pretty easy to spot in a blind tasting, but we went first to a Bordeaux sort of blend for guess on grapes. This is a recent development – they started making it again in 1990 as an attempted replication of the original Constantia made in the 17th C.


I just had the 2003 the other night and concur with your notes. Terrific wine- glad that I have one left, although not for long!

Great lineup from a fantastic top-tier South Africa producer.

Thanks for the notes and walking through this wonderful vertical.