Regular readers of wine-pages.com will have read my previous reports on the wines of Seven Springs, a wine estate I have followed since meeting English owners Tim and Vaughan Pearson at a trade show a decade ago. Based in South Africa’s Overberg region, close to the town of Hermanus, the wines have impressed since the beginning, with young winemaker Riana van der Merwe bringing an elegant touch to the whole portfolio of cooler-climate varieties.
There have been some exciting developments for Seven Springs in the last couple of years. Sadly, Tim reports that Riana left the business in October 2018 because she is relocating to Australia for a new life there with her partner. After 10 years building the business together, it was something of a wrench for both parties, but a new winemaker has joined long-time Vineyard Manager Peter Davidson, Englishman Gus Dale, who spent 14 years working in Burgundy (where he also studied) and for the last few years has been setting up Paul Roos Wines in Stellenbosch.
Other good news was the building of Seven Springs own winery in 2017, followed by opening a tasting room ‘cellar-door’ facility in November 2018, welcoming visitors to their estate on the R320 Hemel en Aarde Valley road.
Tim and Vaughan recently sent me a selection of their more recent releases to taste, all of which have retail availability as noted against each wine below. The wines are distributed in the UK by North South Wines.
(2019) A perennial favourite of mine in the Seven Springs range, this feather-light 12.5% alcohol Chardonnay is both delicate and intense, the acidity drives this in a Chablis-like way, stripped down and fresh and yet not without a hint of creaminess, a hint of more tropical mango fruit in there somewhere. A brisk, yet gentle and aromatic Chardonnay.
(2019) The 2015 edition of Seveb Springs lightly-oaked Chardonnay is a really good one I must say, nutty and gently toasty notes atop generous tropical fruit, but there's a hint of a steelier character of cooler orchard fruits too. In the mouth it is expansive and ripe, but far from over-blown, the juiciness of the acidity and a salty lick of minerality off-setting the creamy depth of fruit.
(2019) The latest vintage of Seven Springs Pinot, which until the 2012 vintage was labelled as 'young vines', but now with more years under their belts that epithet is dropped. It pours a lovely pale- to medium garnet colour, and has a soft, briary character on the nose, a little curl of woodsmole and small red berry fruit. In the mouth there's plenty of edge to this, with firm tannins and a keen raspberry acidity, the medium-weight fruit and touch of background oak giving some mid-palate flesh. A fine, food-friendly Pinot from Seven Springs.
(2019) Always one of my favourites in the Seven Springs portfolio, 2014 has given an extra oomph of ripeness and chocolatey berry ripeness to this wine, lots of clove spice and menthol, an almost Porty-ripe character, and a lovely depth of black fruits. In the mouth it is powerful and mouth-filling, very firm and quite steely in terms of the acidity and tannin axis, the barrel ageing adding some smokiness and spice, and the fleshiness of the fruit nicely licked into shape by the structure. Another very good Syrah in a run of good Syrahs.