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Tim Atkin is a UK-based Master of Wine (MW) and wine journalist with an international following.+
It’s entirely appropriate that Columella should achieve a 100-point score in its 20th vintage, having completed two decades of trail-blazing brilliance. Based on Syrah with 55% Mourvèdre, Grenache, Carignan, Cinsault and Tinta Barocca, it’s a seamless Rhône-meets- the-Douro cuvée with violet, thyme and lavender aromas, subtle oak and peppery whole bunch spices, cassis, blackberry and cranberry flavours, thrilling acidity, minerality and haunting palate length. A truly great wine at the peak of its considerable powers. Drink 2023-35
Tim Atkin MV, 100 points
VINIFICATION | Hand sorting of individual berries of the entire production in small “strawberry” cases. Fermentation takes place spontaneously in 3300 litre open concrete fermenters for about three weeks at a temperature of 24 °C and is then followed by a post-fermentation maceration of another three weeks. No additions are made to
the fermenting wine. Pressing takes place in a traditional basket press and the wine is transferred to the barrel (5% new) for malolactic fermentation.
AGEING | The wine spends 12 months on the lees in tight-grain French oak barrels, just 5% of them new, and is then racked into big oval casks (foudres) for an additional year of maturation on the fine lees. After two years the wine is bottled unfined and unfiltered.
NOTES | Our viticultural reviews and implementations of a number of years ago are finally coming into play and are paying off but obviously our signature wines are at the spearhead of the very developments.
The 2019 Columella is the 20th bottling of what can only be described as a discovery.
The incremental growth of Mourvèdre, Carignan, Cinsaut and Tinta Barocca in the final blend has contributed much and more so on the depth and complexity of tannins. The fruit purity has also been lifted.
The wine has taken on many dimensions and interpretations and responses to the terroir we farm for this wine.The 2019 vintage is as harmonious as any wine can hope to be at this stage of its life.The wine exhibits finely trimmed perfumes and violet notes, bright red fruit with spicy characteristics that immediately spill over into some of the most refined tannins we could capture at this point.
The wine is a play of dual sides in that it has retained all the potential fruit one can hope for a wine in 24 months of cask ageing but at the same token much of the primary fruit and textured grippy tannins are all at play at the same time.
Paardeberg (2 vineyards), Kasteelberg (4 vineyards), Malmesbury (1 vineyard), Piquetberg (1 vineyard)
Syrah, Mourvèdre, Grenache, Carignan, Cinsaut & Tinta Barocca
24 Months prior to bottling
Granite, Slate, Gravel & Sandstone formations.
Yield: 28 hl/ha
Alcohol: 13,85 %
Residual Sugar: 1,9 g/L
Total Acidity: 5,8 g/L
Total Sulphur: 75 mg/L