A wine so fancy that it’s kept in its own specially crafted box; so special, in fact, that the box can be opened only by a unique Allen key. You could own one if you bought De Toren’s The Black Lion shiraz. Sure, a bottle of the 2016 vintage costs R2,522 a go. You may think: "The price tag, the box, the key — it’s all a big marketing stunt." But it isn’t. The FM recently spent some time at the De Toren Estate in Stellenbosch, and tasted a drop of the stuff. It’s velvety and rich, and pretty much exactly what you want from a shiraz. When you hear the story of how it’s made, this all makes sense.

In a quest to push the boundaries and create something stellar, the team at De Toren started out by using infrared aerial imaging to find the best and most suitable individual vines in the region, eventually settling on a selection growing in the Swartland and in Stellenbosch’s Helderberg and Polkadraai areas. Only four meticulously hand-manicured bunches were grown per vine. The team w...

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