I have reviewed the Seven Springs range a couple of time previously, ever since meeting English owners Tim and Vaughan Pearson back in 2008. That was just as they were about to release their first ever wines from a ‘labour of love’ project in South Africa’s Overberg region, close to the town of Hermanus. Tim’s early career was as an agronomist, but he and Vaughan built a successful contract cleaning business in the UK (which they still run), which allowed them to follow this dream.
They found the perfect spot in 2006, virgin land which was cleared and planted to vine over the following years. Now, a decade on, those first vineyards are reaching maturity, this relatively cool, coastal-influenced area suited to Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc for white wines, Pinot Noir and Syrah for reds. With them since first plantings are Vineyard Manager Peter Davidson, and since 2010, the increasingly recognised talents of winemaker Riana van der Merwe, with experience not only in here native South Africa, but in Oregon, California and the Rhône.
The quality and the intelligent, classy and quite European-styled nature of this whole portfolio continues to impress. Taste for yourself at my London Festival of Wine on October 14th 2017 where Tim and Vaughan will be pouring their wines.
(2017) As always, the Sauvignon Blanc from Seven Springs is about intensity and concentration, about drive and minerality as much as flamboyance. Having said that, there is an edge of cut grass and nettles on the nose, as well as a hint of tropical fruit, along with plenty of citrus and apple skins. On the palate delicious intensity, a streaking mineral and lemon zest freshness, dry, with a shimmering quality of fruit giving shine and brilliance. The best vintage yet for this I think.
(2017) Not the most expensive wine in the Seven Springs line-up, but you know I really enjoyed this. Only 12.5% alcohol, but crammed with flavour and a lovely creamy texture too, it flirts between nectarine sweet juiciness and the zest of fresh squeezed lemon, and slipped down very easily indeed with chicken in a garlicky, lime and ginger-spiced marinade.
(2017) Seven Springs has come a long way in a short time, including scooping a 'silver' in the Decanter World Wine Awards for this wine. Aged in 300-litre barrels for a year, it has toast and vanilla, but the cool harvest has also created a touch of green - fig and greengage - that gives lovely tension and aromatic complexity, the wild yeast ferment adding a savoury aspect. In the mouth it has bold, fresh acidity to offset the ripe stone fruits, teetering on tropical, but drier and more restrained as it finishes with fine clarity.
(2017) There's a delightful subtlety to the way the oak has been handled here, adding sheen and gentle creaminess to the ripe, supple fruit, a hint of Pinot truffle and briar. In the mouth nicely fresh and agile, a spine of acidity, a touch of oak charriness, and the savoury fruit and spice finishing quite long.
(2017) Always one of my favourites in the Seven Springs range, this powerful 14% Syrah has youthful exuberance to spare, with a bold, ripe black fruit aroma, underpinned by notes of chocolate and tobacco, but there's a hint of violet lift in there too. Smooth and creamy on the palate, the weight of that fleshy berry and plum fruit is there, tight, fine tannins and juicy acids completing a deliciously easy-drinking yet quite structured young wine that will cellar for a few years.