(2017) Stellenbosch vineyards, but not the home estate. Each vintage of this wine is dedicated to one of the family's children, in this case, Ashleigh Anne. A blend of 88% Shiraz, 8% Grenache, 4% Mourvèdre aged 20 months in 225L and 500L French oak barrels. Recipe has changed from new American oak in the early days, to now only old French barrels. The Mourvèdre replaces some of the spice and tannin that would have come from the newer oak. Dry and quite earthy and severe in style, with some creaminess of berries and juiciness. Nice bit of peppery grip months finish.
(2017) Cabernet Sauvignon, with 6% Petit Verdot, 4% Merlot aged 18 months in 225L French oak barrels, 34% of which were new. A lot of the Cabernet is on rocky sandstone and gravel with good root systems that end in clay to retain some water. Delightful nose, cherry and violet, real perfume, a touch of cedar and clove into deeper black fruit. The palate has lots of fruit but textured, layered, with so much spice and savoury character, finishing tight and grippy, just the right sense of plushness from ripe fruit and creaminess to give lovely harmony.
(2017) This wine spends eight months in barrel, but only one quarter new and a mix of 228L, 300L, and 500L French oak. Planted in 1988, one of the oldest Chardonnay blocks in the Cape and unirrigated, on red clay and granite. Very old Burgundy clone. Lovely nose, creamy and oatmeally, a touch of buttery Brazil nut, then very elegant fruit. The palate has delicious slippery texture, nice orange and nutty Cox's fruit, good acidity, again a hint of chalky dryness.
(2017) A strict selection of Elgin’s best quality vineyards. From fertile chalky soils. A nice medium style, aromatic with some exotic fruit, a little squeeze of lemon and a lovely crisp palate, lots of juicy, quite exotic lychee and mango, but the dry pear fruit and touches of chalky mineral acidity add another dimension. Also bottled extensively in 50cl.
(2017) Also with 4% Chardonnay and 2% Viognier in the blend, the fruit sourced from Stellenbosch and Swartland. A fairly deep colour, delicious oatmeal touches, buttery notes, but the freshness and zest comes through. Juicy, textured with a hint of oiliness, but a nice savoury character and finish.
(2016) From volcanic soils, there's a touch of honey to apple fruit, and it's a very nutty opening too, the wine fermented and aged in French oak barrels from Seguin Moreau. There's a lot of pear and apple fruit on the palate too, plenty of texture and richness, and it has a long and saline finish. Whether it distinguishes itself enough to be worth twice the price of other wines here is a moot point.
(2015) If you haven't yet discovered the bountiful joys of Frappato, this example from Sicily is an excllent introduction to its cherry-fresh style. There's lipstick and a floral lift on the nose, loads of that cherry-cola fruitiness and then so much super ripe and juicy fruit on the palate. Not serious, but a little star, with bucket and a half of pleasure in every glass.
(2015) From arguably the finest estate of Madiran and Pacherenc, this dry white wine is made from 100% Petit Courbu and has had five years to come together. It has an absolutely gorgeous nose, waxy with star fruit and pear and loads of aroma. With nuttiness, honey and floral hints too it is endlessly complex. The palate is filled with a cool, limpid fruit, yellow plum fleshiness and then that crunching racy acidity and salty finish. Just fabulous stuff at a very reasonable price for the quality.
(2012) This sparkling wine from Verona in the northwest of Italy is 100% Pinot Noir and is all about freshness and crispness with the emphasis on fruity and floral character. It has a delightful Provençal pale colour, and the nose is extremely delicate with rose hip and light raspberry. The palate is keen and racy, with a running water clarity to the acidity that makes this quite classy stuff, I guess made in the local Prosecco style and deliciously so.
(2012) A modern, screw-capped 12% rosé from the Languedoc that's a blend of the expected Cinsault, Grenache, Carignan and Syrah. It is made in an attractive, dry, herb-scented, Provence style rose with keen, lean, raspberry fruit and a subtle palate that's very crisp. Fish and seafood friendly stuff with great zest and freshness in the finish.