(2021) South Africa's own grape, Pinotage (a cross of Pinot Noir and Cinsault) has to be handled carefully to coax the best from it, but when that happens the result can be delicious and fine wines like this from Lemberg's vineyards in Tulbagh, the remote and wild vine country to the north of the main winelands. Picked in the early morning for coolness, grapes were hand sorted and the wine was aged in a combination of 300L and 500L French oak barrels for 18 months. It's a sumptuous style, brimming with plush black fruit, coffee and tobacco spicing, but with a buoyant cherry edge. In the mouth it is creamy and has a certain chocolaty character to the tannins, but the fruit depth and very good balance of acidity and a Pinot-like truffle quality contribute to a compelling picture. Watch the video for more information.
(2020) Naturally fermented with wild yeasts in a gently oxidative style, this blend of 50% Viognier, 29% Hárslevelu, 13% Sauvignon Blanc and 8% Semillon is aged on the lees in 500-litre French oak for just four months. It's a lovely, gossamer-light style, the oak adding little more than a sheet of almond over pristine, nutty orchard fruit, melon skins and lemon rind. Good sweetness and juiciness comes through on the palate, with plenty of fruit, but there's that lighter, clear, balanced and fresh acidity, and the natural ferment dry and nutty/herby character. Along with its medium body, that gives this an airy quality too. Watch the video for more information and food-matching suggestions.
(2020) A blend of Syrah (78%) and Grenache, all of the colour coming from the latter which had a couple of hours skin contact. Lovely pale Provençal colour, there's lots of stony, schisty mineral character on the nose as well as tight, firm small red berries like redcurrants and raspberry. The palate brims with fruit, still focused on those small, tart red berries, but there is ripe fruit sweetness to set against the firm acidity, lemon and grapefruit combining in the dry, satisfying finish.
(2016) What a beautiful organic wine, with no added sulphur, from the always interesting Tulbagh region of South Africa. It has aromatic lift and an essential, ash and mineral brightness, and lovely red berry fruit. Bold and juicy, it has elegance to the tannins and the cherry-fresh acidity. Delightful.
(2013) A blend of 55% Chenin Blanc, 16% Grenache, 16% Chardonnay, 9% Viognier and 4% Roussanne, all natural ferment, each proportion vinified separately in barrels, steel and concrete eggs, about 33% goes through malolactic. From old Swartland fruit mostly and Paardeberg. 175 Rand retail. Lovely touch of honeyed richness to this, that lovely fat apple fruit that is appley but very ripe, those hints of tropical pineapple touches and still that lovely freshness with a little herbal nuance.
(2013) Delightful nose, very pure and fresh, and a little more floral, and that lovely ripe orchard fruit, pear and a touch of melon and Asian pear. Just a nutty background. Delicious on the palate again, the nutty orchard fruit is the driving force, a really like the thread of acidity that is running through this, juicy and tangy. There is still a bit more barrel component to go into the blend apparently, but I love the freshness and fragrance of this. 90
(2013) 80% Syrah, 20% Mourvèdre. All estate fruit, 10 years old. Delightful nose, the ripeness and creamy, rich chocolate touched fat of the wine is very appealing, there's an appealing touch of violet and lifted kirsch, and also an underpinning earthiness. Delicious juiciness and ripe, fresh black berries that are balanced by some dry, slightly ashy tannins and acidity, that add a lovely cut of freshness. 175 Rand locally.
(2013) 100% Syrah. More closed than the Lion's at this stage, lots of cedar, lots of classic, really well defined lightly earthy quality. The palate has a racy twist of liquorice and endive adding dramatic dark bite. Lots of juicy dark cherry fruit, fine acid balance again and the tannins adding enough roughening presence whilst being ripe and really quite fine. A tight baby at this stage that needs a few years, but lovely concentration and balance. 310 Rand locally.
(2013) Some Grenache added in this vintage - a GSM blend. An overlay of oak at this stage, giving a little more vanilla, but lovely purity of red and black berries beneath. Big, plush palate, lots of espresso and plum, but juicy, the fresh points of cherry and liquorice really sharpening the finish. Juicy in the finish, the weight and concentration of the palate is lovely in a generous wine of great.
(2013) A touch of Viognier in this, blended back from the subsequent vintage. A nice touch of the peachy quality of Viognier, but not dominating at all, not floral or peachy. Fine cedary background, the solidity and rasping freshness of the black fruit - lovely tart elements as well as sweetness - is really good. A twist of liquorice and endive again here, also a little charry oak quality adding depth, and this has length, spice and concentration. Arguably a little more Barossa than Rhone, but it does not lack elegance or freshness in the finish.