(2020) This wine is an example of how South African winemakers are rediscovering and celebrating their once neglected old vines. It blends Grenache blanc sourced from the on-trend northerly Piekenierskloof region, with old, bush vine Grenache Blanc from Paarl. Partly barrel fermented with wild yeasts, there's a light gold to the colour and it has a very appealing nose, broadly fruity and rich with stone fruits and lightly yeasty and earthy nuances, a but of waxy lemon rind too. In the mouth it has that generosity of texture and full flavour, but pin-sharp acidity gives a delightfully juicy, moreish finish. Just delicious, and well-priced.
(2020) This is not the first white Rioja made from Tempranillo Blanco that I have tasted and reviewed, but examples remain as rare as hen's teeth: this is not a white wine made from the black Tempranillo grape, but from white mutation discovered only a few decades ago. Unoaked, but aged on the lees, the nose has a hint of creamy nuttiness, but a pristine set of citrus and orchard fruit aromas that are appetising and fresh. On the palate there is surprising weight and breadth of texture and flavour for a 12.5% alcohol wine, perhaps a touch of tannin from the grape adding that structural feel, and loads of shimmering juicy acidity to keep it fresh and food-friendly. Fascinating. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.
(2020) Just the earliest signs of tertiary development, with pleasing vegetal notes, mushroom and truffle, has a classic Burgundian style, lovely berry fruits. Such ripe, sweet red fruits, but fleshy and plummy too, with spicy fruit compote and a touch of chocolate to the finish. Blair thinks potentially this has more complexity than the 2018.
(2020) Lovely polish to this, a slightly darker fruit profile and arguably more mineral than the Bannockburn 2018, with real cherry pit juiciness and freshness, the stripe of tannin firmer than the Bannockburn, the whole wine a touch more sinewy, but plush and sweet to the finish.
(2020) Has a touch more vegatility, truffle and mushroom than the Calvert 2018, the tannins again firm and structural, the fruit keen and savoury with a coffeeish oak presence just adding to the weight and density. Big, needs time, but juicy and delicious.
(2019) 100% Viognier from three blocks with different aspects, giving quite different characters, one shaded and the others facing the sun. 50/50 maturation in new French and second fill oak. Very good Viognier character, lots of ripe peach and nectarine fruit, a clean pear acidity and finishes full but not overwhelming. Price and stockist at time of review is for an earlier vintage.
(2019) Right Bank style blend, with a nice 60% merlot but nice Cab Franc herbal and olive character, set against massive amounts of cassis and minty/chocolate ripeness. There’s load of coffee and plum, but the sweetness never varies, a fairly massive wine, sumptuous in style, creamy tannins and soft acidity making it easy to drink despite the high alcohol.
(2019) Mostly Chenin Blanc, with Clairette, Grenache Blanc, Viognier and a touch of Sémillon, made in Foudre. Delightful smokiness and tobacco spice, the ripeness and freshness of the fruit, big sour lemon palate, lots of bright and salty orange acidity, long, spicy and powerful finish.
(2019) One year in 500-litre barrels and foudre for this wine, made from several vineyards in the Swartland. Fine, bloody and delicately meaty nose, exotic fine spices, a touch of rose and bracken character. The palate ripe and sweet fruited. Such lovely tannin structure, a firm and steely backbone and long, pure fruit, tannin and acid balance.
(2019) From bush vines in Wellington, small unirrigated vineyard on the top of the hill. Small part whole-bunch fermented for aromatic lift, naturally yeasts, and aged in second and third fill French barriques. Lots of smoky and tobacco-laced cherry, a gorgeous pure fruitiness to this, not losing the savoury characters, that cherry freshness, but graphite and cedar, tobacco sophistication rounding out that purity. Lovely.