Composition: 54% Chenin Blanc | 37% Semillon | 9% Sauvignon Blanc Wine of Origin: Western Cape
I saw that 2006 was going to be an exceptional harvest and when the reports were coming in that we should expect a 10% increase, it was an exciting turn around from previous years. We experienced a cold and wet winter filled with gale force winds and hail, which tested the opinions of the critics, but when time for harvest, we had more than enough sunshine, rain and excellent grapes.
When I started making the white blend I wanted to make it in a true South African style, unlike any other available world wide. We’ve been forced for so long to copy wine styles from other countries, so this is something entirely different; a unique blend of terroirs rather than just a blend of varietals. The blend will always stay the same, it will always be Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc and Chenin Blanc. Only the quantities will differ depending on the vintage. Each vintage can consist of 8-15 vineyards per bottle. Why the blending of terroirs? If you take the same Sauvignon Blanc clone and plant it in 5 different locations i.e Malmesbury/Stellenbosch/Elim/Durbanville/Grabouw, 5 years later the grape will taste completely different. That’s the beauty of blending terroirs. My hunt starts in finding where the grapes perform the best. I work with roughly 20 different farmers, buying anything from 1-5 tons of their grapes. Ripening and picking differs year on year. I ferment each vineyard on its own (always naturally) then leave it on the lees as long as possible. Part of the Chenin Blanc and Semillon gets fermented in French Oak Barrels to give it depth through the middle palate. Nothing is added, no additional chemicals (apart from sulphur at bottling) trying to keep them as natural as possible to allow them to age. I try to leave all my wines as long as possible on the lees because I believe that is where the personality of the vineyard shows. After a couple of months, my work starts – the blending. I take away any name of the vineyard or cultivar that can influence me and I start blending to showcase the vintage, what I picked up in the vineyards. That is why the percentages of the cultivars changes from vintage to vintage. I make this wine to show the diversity of cultivars and terroirs in one bottle that only the Western Cape can produce.
Alc 13% | RS 1.6 | TA 5.8 | pH 3.4
Due to minimal interference and no additions (apart from minimal sulphites upon bottling), this wine has the potential to age for a long time. That said, at the time of writing it has had almost 12 years of bottle age, and the wine is currently drinking very near its peak.
Greg Sherwood: ‘A rich expressive nose packed full of exotic fragrance. Evolving beautifully, there are layers of green quince, apple pastille, pineapple and tarte tatin notes. The palate is ripe, concentrated and characterful, brimming with gooseberry confit, spiced pears and complex, textural lanolin notes. The finish is dry and powerful, punchy, disguising it’s 12 years of age masterfully. Drinking well now, this wine still has plenty of legs.’
92/100 Greg Sherwood MW