Like with most great things in life – this wine originated with a really bad experience where the liquor board stopped the sales of the 2011 vintage. A blend of Roussanne, Grenache blanc, Chenin blanc, Verdelho and Grenache Gris.
How it all started back in 2011: At the back of my warehouse, way into the corner, I have what I call The Drinking Stash. This is where you would want to be left unsupervised if there was any specific sold-out BLANKBOTTLE wine you liked. The last 24 bottles of almost every wine I produce go there (except the ones I over-sell by mistake and end up having to buy a bottle back from my agents overseas). So, in that drinking stash you would for instance find wines like the very first bottling of Moment of Silence (2007). Whenever I drink an older white like that I am blown away by the ability of South African whites to age. In 2011, I bottled a white wine – a blend of Roussanne, Chenin blanc, Verdelho and Palomino. In South Africa, all wines have to go to the regulatory board/control agency after bottling, where they go through 3 checks. Firstly they check the paper trail to confirm that what’s in the bottle is what you claim it to be. They then analyse the wine for all sorts of much-too-complicated-to-explain stuff and it finally gets tasted by a board of winemakers who then approves or rejects the wine for export. This specific wine, the 2011 vintage, was initially approved. After a year the approval expired and at that stage I still had at least 500 bottles to sell. I then had to re-submit, which I did, but at that point the wine was rejected by the tasting board. Now, you have the option to appeal, but at the time, I had much more pressing issues on my plate, so I transferred the bin towards my drinking stash to deal with later. As the years went by, I would grab a bottle to drink at home every once in a while, and each time I opened a bottle, I liked it more. November 2016, 5 years after bottling, I showed my UK agents the wine. They loved it and wanted to buy it all. So I took a chance and re-submitted the wine to the board – it was approved! I then urgently needed a label for the wine, I mean, a sale is a sale… My son Luca drew a picture of the dragon of Lord of the Rings, “Smaug the Magnificent”. So I made him an offer: a retainer per bottle I sell in exchange for the use of his sketch. He accepted and I released a 5 year old white blend with super success!