(2020) This wine is an example of how South African winemakers are rediscovering and celebrating their once neglected old vines. It blends Grenache blanc sourced from the on-trend northerly Piekenierskloof region, with old, bush vine Grenache Blanc from Paarl. Partly barrel fermented with wild yeasts, there's a light gold to the colour and it has a very appealing nose, broadly fruity and rich with stone fruits and lightly yeasty and earthy nuances, a bit of waxy lemon rind too. In the mouth it has that generosity of texture and full flavour, but pin-sharp acidity gives a delightfully juicy, moreish finish. Just delicious, and well-priced.
(2019) Though the estate was sold by the Ratcliffe family in 2017, this wine still bears the title that referred to co-founder Norma Ratcliffe. It is essentially unoaked, and the alcohol is moderate at 13%, and yet it has a richness and touch of the 'golden Chardonnays' about it, with ripe fruit and stirring of the lees in tank building sweetness and texture. Fruit touches on the tropical, but is more about juicy melon, with a fleshiness and yet good balancing acidity.
(2019) Blending fruit from Cape Point and Darling. All stainless steel with a little bit of skin contact and lees ageing. Has that melon and citrus skin note, plenty of fruit density on the palate, very refreshing minerality. A squirt of lemon juice and saltiness is very refreshing. I cannot see a UK stockist for this at time of writing.
(2019) Natural ferments, some skin contact and barrel fermentation. Quite a subtle, nutty note here, over Cox’s Pippin fruit, a touch of fig. The palate has good sweetness, with a touch of RS, and a crowd pleasing palate with good texture and good fruit, a fresh acid finish. No UK retail listing at time of review.
(2019) All old vines here, Cabernet Sauvignon from Stellenbosch; and two ancient Cinsault vineyards, one that is 116 years old in Wellington, and South Africa's oldest registered red wine vineyard. The wine was made with 50% whole clusters, natural yeast and minimal sulphur, and spent 16 months in 500L French oak, 30% new. Scented and aromatic, with plenty of floral and herby notes, fine and racy, a delightful ashy dryness, orangy acidity and such lively, firm, fresh fruit with just the right amount of steely austerity.
(2019) A big blend of 55% Chenin with proportions of Chardonnay, Grenache Blanc and Viognier from Wellington, with Semillon, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay and Roussanne from Hemel-en-Aarde. Main components matured in French oak. Feels like plenty of nutty, Cox’s pippin English apple fruit, creamy and nutty oak too. After the fireworks of the Optenhorst Chenin it is more muted, or rather, less vivid, but the sweetness of the fruit, married with the nutty creaminess of the oak is appealing. Quite widely available.
(2019) A blend of 52% Shiraz with Mourvèdre, Cinsault, Grenache, Primitivo, then 2% Viognier and 1% each of Nero d’Avola and Tempranillo. Aged in both American and French oak. Meaty, smoky, spicy, but a really solid fruit profile beneath, plenty of chariness. Has that little burnt note that I don’t really like personally, but I can see the appeal of the coffee-rich oak and fruit density. Stockist at time of review is for the previous vintage.
(2019) Fruit is sourced from the cool Elgin, Darling and Cape Agulhas regions and a proportion matured in 500-litre new and used oak for around nine months. The green bean note is apparent, giving a certain oiliness, a background that is quite toasty, then bursts with sweet, ripe fruit on the palate. Full-textured and ripe, with a touch of sherbet, lime freshness, and a certain succulence. Good acid, and a big, I guess rather showy, but excellent expression.
(2019) Part tank, part barrel-fermented in large wooden vats. From 2018, amphorae will replace the large vat component. On the lees with batonnage for nine months, from low yielding bush vines in Darling, Paarl and Wellington. Creamy, a touch figgy, a little bit of Seville orange or marmalade, the sweet fruit on the palate is very juicy, like nectarine and very ripe pear, a touch of oatmeal rounding out the finish. Price and stockist at time of review is for an earlier vintage.