(2021) A big blend led by Syrah along with Grenache, Petit Verdot, Merlot and both Cabernets, this spends 18 months in 2nd, 3rd and 4th fill barrels. Dark crimson in colour, the nose has pepper and spices over firm black fruit, touches of tobacco and black olive too. In the mouth this is both savoury with a touch of grilled bacon fat and boldly fruity with a depth of firm black berries. Good juiciness, the tannins spicy and ripe and the acid adding lovely balance.
(2019) A blend of 52% Shiraz with MourvÃ¨dre, Cinsault, Grenache, Primitivo, then 2% Viognier and 1% each of Nero dâ€™Avola and Tempranillo. Aged in both American and French oak. Meaty, smoky, spicy, but a really solid fruit profile beneath, plenty of chariness. Has that little burnt note that I donâ€™t really like personally, but I can see the appeal of the coffee-rich oak and fruit density. Stockist at time of review is for the previous vintage.
(2019) A blend of RhÃ´ne varieties, led by Carignan and Shiraz. Extended skin contact for fermentation, followed by 23 months in French, American and Romanian barrels. Quite Shirazy on the nose, quite plush, with a little peppery and floral lift and a little kirsch note to more solid black fruit. In the mouth the fruit does have a bittersweet plum skin and black fruit depth, but thereâ€™s a cherry pit freshness and that sense of a little more floral note, a stripe of roughening tannin.
(2019) All five Bordeaux grapes, led by 53% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Petit Verdot. 24 months in French oak - with 5% American. Slightly resinous note on the nose, spicy, a touch of lift - peppery - and has a ripeness and juiciness, not just black fruit, but a bit of Summer pudding sweetness and nice plush tannins, finishing on good acids. Stockist and price at time of review is for an earlier vintage.
(2018) Michel Rolland is consultant for this estate, and presumably this blend of Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinotage. The latter is fairly obvious on the nose, somewhere between smoky and a tiny bit rubbery depending on you viewpoint, but the meatiness of the Syrah and black fruit cassis of the Cabernet are there. In the mouth it is a big, bold but savoury style, the stripe of tannins drying the mouth, the alcohol a tad prominent, and in some ways this is an old-fashioned feeling Cape red - once again, a good or bad thing depending on your viewpoint.
(2017) It is still relatively rare to see a single varietal Petit Verdot: one of Bordeaux's minor varieties rarely gets star billing. In Bordeaux small amounts are used to add spice to the blend, but here under the South African sun it gains extra fruit concentration, ripeness and smoothness. The colour is deep and saturated, and the nose shows plenty of spice and pepper, a clove and nutmeg character and glossy black cherry and plum. In the mouth that spiciness continues, and despite its 14.5% alcohol, it is braced by tight, fine tannins and a pert cherry pit acidity, that works against a creaminess and depth to very nice effect.
(2016) A blend of Stellenbosch and Coastal fruit, hrarvested late. Again a wine in a fresh, lifted style with little floral notes and elegance. The palate has a big sour plum and cherry acidity, a raft of that against a little vanilla, but again a fresh and crunchy style.