(2019) From the second oldest Chenin vineyard in South Africa. Natural ferment in Louis Latour Burgundy barrels and matured six months, most in Noblot concrete eggs. Beautiful nose; quite mesmerising, with spices, Sandalwood and exotic fruit, nutty and creamy but with quince and orange and lots of complexity. The palate has a marzipan and marmalade richness, creamy, almonds, but a lovely freshness too, the inherent mango-like sweetness, cut by crisp apple acidity.
(2019) Bush vine Grenache, planted on decomposed granite, this sees 21 days of skin contact, natural ferment and aged is in old Russian oak barrels, for six months. A light amber/orange colour, beautiful dried fruit and autumn leaves, umami characters, plenty of fat lemony fruit too. On the palate, loads of complex flavours, confit lemon and straw, a touch of marmalade and so savoury, but finishes with great clarity. A lovely wine, a few steps down the ‘natural’ path, and beautifully done.
(2019) From bush vines in Wellington, small unirrigated vineyard on the top of the hill. Small part whole-bunch fermented for aromatic lift, naturally yeasts, and aged in second and third fill French barriques. Lots of smoky and tobacco-laced cherry, a gorgeous pure fruitiness to this, not losing the savoury characters, that cherry freshness, but graphite and cedar, tobacco sophistication rounding out that purity. Lovely.
(2019) Chenin and Viognier is the blend. Lovely, racy, mineral and fruit-skin and chalky aromas, and a touch of tobacco and light spice. In the mouth it has spicy, very fresh lemon and crunchy apple fruit, it is also long with a tangy grapefruit and salt finish that is hugely appealing.
(2018) Very deep, crimson/black stuff, this comes from a single vineyard on the slopes of the Hawekwa Mountains in Wellington. It is meaty, dense and quite closed on first pouring, but opens up to blackcurrant and spices, a touch of graphite and cedar, but stays meaty and dark. In the mouth the ripe sweetness of the fruit powers through, a fleshy richness, with the tannins and spiciness from the barrels filling in beneath, the 14.5% alcohol this time being soaked up rather better by the fruit and structure, to finish on spice and sweet fruit.
(2018) A deeply coloured wine with an attractive blackcurrant pastille ripeness and peppery lift on the nose, certainly fruit-driven. On the palate there's a light meat-stock character to the supple black fruit, quite soft tannins and a juiciness to the acidity, thought the 14.5% alcohol does show through a little in the finish.
(2008) I'm a big fan of quite a few Chenins from South Africa, especially from maestros like Ken Forrester, Mulderbosch and Rudera estates. This one is made for Laithwaites by the Bovlei winery in Wellington, and has a dazzling nose that touches on boiled sweets and tropical fruit salad, before focusing in on crunchy green apple. On the palate it is crunchy and vibrant, with more of that green apple sharpness and crispness, but quite a rich textural weight and a certain roundness. Make no mistake though, this wine is all about unoaked, expressive fruit. Lovely.