(2019) From two vineyards of dry land Chenin Blanc bush vines, planted in 1980 and 2002. Fermented and aged in small and large oak barrels, this has sweet earth on the nose and sour lemon and lemon rind fruit. The palate is all about orange and clove, the skin-contact giving grip and a real whip of acidity and tannin finishing very briskly and racily.
(2019) Again from the Hemel-and-Aarde Ridge, made with 50% whole clusters from a vineyard on heavy clay with iron. Wild fermented. Just fabulous nose, the exotic spices of the oak and the Pinot fragrance of flowers and seasoning, totally inter-twined, the palate flowing and fresh with red fruits and a hint of rhubarb tart and bittersweetness, lots of tension and drive, but in the most elegant way.
(2018) Carmen was one of my first go-to Chilean producers, thanks largely to a wine called 'Grand Vidure', a real favourite of mine in the 1990s, and one of the first wave of Carmenere-based wines before the variety became established as Chile's 'signature' grape. Here we have Carignan, one of Chile's current superstar grapes thanks to old-vine plantings, this aged 12 months in French oak. There's an interesting melange of meat-stock cherry and vine fruit on the nose, a dark and savoury character. In the mouth it's very much about the fruit, quite sinewy and chewy, the oak well into the background, with a balanced savoury finish.