(2022) From one of the longest-established estates in the Walker Bay area, Pinot Noir with ten months in French oak barrels, 30% of which were new. Fine nose, combining cherry and a wisp of smokiness, a sweet plummy earthiness fills in too. On the palate the fruit is elegant and sweet, carrying the 14% alcohol well, that due to the good level of acidity and brisk tannin structure, and the oak filling in both a smokiness and tree bark sense of earthy dryness. Juicy enough though, and drinks very nicely.
(2022) From one of my favourite producers of the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley in South Africa, this was whole-bunch pressed. Light gold in colour, there is flint here and a smoky barrel note, nutty almond and creaminess combining with stoner fruit aromas. In the mouth there is abundant fruit sweetness and ripeness, loads of lightly buttery and nutty apple and more exotic peachy flavours, the oak adding a sheen of oatmeal and the acidity beautifully poised. Another class act from Newton Johnson.
(2021) Yes, you read that right: this is a 10-year-old wine, from the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley in South Africa. I don't know the story behind this matured example being available now, but it's a blend of Shiraz and Pinotage, aged in new oak for 18 months. The colour gives away its age; still quite deep and dense but with brick on the rim. There is a meaty, mature level of oxidation evident on the nose, some coffee and old polished wood notes. In the mouth the fruit still has sweetness, and a certain richness, though tannins have been worn away to just a firming edge. The acidity is juicy and actually rather well balanced, the wine finishing on mushroomy but rich fruit with plenty of natural ripeness and sweetness.
(2021) A label of the Hamilton-Russell family, only nine barrels of this wine are made. It is grown on ancient shale soils over clay in Hemel-en-Aarde, three kilometres from the ocean, but separated by hills, so maybe not so much ocean influence. This is from 60-year-old trellised vines. 10% of stems are dried in the sun and added to the fermentaion, the wine made in a small basket press. Big, super-heavy statement bottle. Vinous nose of dark cherry and plum, all about dark savoury fruit at first, but a little glimpse of something floral and some espresso barrel component comes through. Powerful, sweet-fruited and concentrated on the palate, very firm in its blue/black fruit and tannins. Well-judged acid also adds a touch of salinity in the finish.
(2021) A blend here of 58% Pinot Noir and 42% Chardonnay, from a relatively young estate whose first vintage of this wine was 2007. It has 8.3g/l of sugar. Pale and peachy in colour, the nose is tight and mineral, with salts and small, underripe red berries as well as something gently herbal. The palate is sheer and elegant, taut with citrus and redcurrant, that stone, salty minerality pushing out the finish. Classy stuff.
(2019) Subtle Whiff of smokiness, not too pungent or green, quite subtle lychee and tropical fruit, just a touch of leafiness. The palate has a lovely fresh green streak, lots of lemon and lime powering this, some fruit ripeness for sure, but plenty of acid punch, a bit of orange to soften the lemony tang.
(2019) Around 20% matured in Burgundian oak (new) for six months. Lovely mealy richness to this aromatically, buttery Brazil nut and a balance between the pear and butterscotch ripeness and oak, and the freshness of the cooler site. Lovely acid balance into a dry, long, finish.
(2019) This sees 10 months in oak, but only 15% of the blend, and all new French barrels. Beetroot, earthiness and smokiness, with dark fruit characters beneath. Not heavy or jammy, but the fruit in a savoury aspect, smoky and cherryish, but clean and very nicely balanced.
(2019) Well, I loved this Hemel-en-Aarde Chardonnay, which along with Pinot Noir, are specialisties of Gottfried Mocke. Planted with consultation from Rosa Kruger it has a lovely oak treatment and very exotic nose of Sandalwood and spice, oatmeal and butter, and the gentle earthiness of the wild yeast. Such a grippy, searing acid structure, the fruit taut and lemony, salty acids powering through. A really profound Chardonnay. Great structure and intensity.
(2019) From the two single vineyards named on the label, just released after four years, two in older barrels and two in bottle. 100% Cabernet Sauvignon and a singular wine from an area where this variety is rarely seen. A fascinating nose, with touches of camphor and green, green fig, that austerity and touch of ashy , dry smokiness, but the black fruit is there. Lovely palate, marrying that austerity with a rich, fully ripe and sweet blackcurrant core, a softening underpinning from the barrel and spices, but such fine tannins and cool, clean acidity.